Friday, October 5, 2018

Matt Bevin and The Burger Bar

Well, hi there. Have you missed me? I haven’t blogged in a very good long while. It’s really a combination of things. I’ve had a lot going on in the past months. But honestly, a lot of it is just plain laziness. However, I had something happen to me yesterday that I felt was so interesting and just plain cool that I had to blog about it. I’ll say to start that this is NOT a political discussion even though it involved our Kentucky governor.

While watching the news the other night, I saw Matt Bevin was going to do a community forum in the county where I live – Ballard County. The location was listed as 297 Event Center at 297 Kentucky Avenue in Kevil KY. I wasn’t sure where this was. I ran the address through Google Maps and I still wasn’t entirely sure where it was even though I had a general location. I could tell it was close to the old Red Plow restaurant used to be. It was also close to a place I love to get a burger from – The Burger Bar (more on that later).

Since this location was only five minutes from where I live, I just felt like I had to go. Donna would have loved to go, but she had prior commitments. So I made plans to go. After enjoying a lunch at Panera Bread with my friends Sam Hawkins and Ardell Nance, I headed for the location. I was able to find it with little trouble, it’s located in a building right next to the Burger Bar. As per my custom, I got there thirty minutes before the event was to start. I talked with Todd Cooper who used be the sheriff (and a really good one at that) for Ballard County and is now our Judge-Executive. What I most remember about him though was him being the head coach and me helping him with Josh’s 6th grade basketball team. I saw quite a few of Ballard County’s elected officials. I nodded at Casey Allen who was Josh’s Middle School principal (and a really good one) who is now the superintendent.

There were a lot of chairs arranged in front of a podium so I grabbed a seat near the front and settled in to wait. As with a lot of these affairs, it started late but the Governor finally made it. He asked for questions to start and when none were asked, he discussed various issues facing our state and his reasoning for positions on them. He then took questions from the crowd. This lasted for more than an hour. When it ended, I pushed my way up to talk to him and at least shake his hand and thank him for coming. He asked my name and when I told him, he asked “is that UA or EW”? It took me a second to realize what he meant. Turns out he has a brother with the same name as mine who spells it how it was meant to be spelled – STUART.

When we I had told Donna the day before that I would be there, she said “why don’t you grab supper from the Burger Bar since you’ll be right there?”. I didn’t have a problem with that. I’ve gotten food from there several times. They have a cheeseburger special on Thursday where you get a cheeseburger and fries for 5.00. They are hand patted burgers and they are excellent. Donna usually gets a chuckwagon and onion rings. They are good batter dipped onion rings. I made my order and settled down outside to wait (it’s a walk up type place with a few picnic tables scattered around). I watched people leaving the event center.

As I watched, I saw Matt Bevin come out to the car they came in. He opened its passenger door and removed his suit coat and put it inside. Then to my amazement, I saw him walking across the grass straight toward the Burger Bar! It turned out he wanted to talk to the two young men who own it and do a story on them about small business. I spoke to him again and told him we went there often and the food was great. He said he had another engagement that night with food to be served, but he would definitely get a milk shake. He pulled money out of his pocket to pay and even asked the people with him if anybody else wanted one.

I just had to make my move then. I asked him if he would mind taking a selfie with me. He readily agreed. Anybody who knows me knows I am terrible at this, so he offered to take my phone and do the honors. The picture above is what we got. I again thanked him for coming to our county. I told him my wife thought very highly of him and he laughed and said he certainly wasn’t worth all that praise. I finally left with my food. When I forwarded the selfie to Donna, she couldn’t believe it and wished so much she’d have been there.

I know he’s a polarizing figure in our state for some of the tough positions he’s taken. I respect him for the fact that he is a good family man. He has NINE kids. Four of them are children he and his wife adopted. He was a very down to earth kind of guy (unlike some politicians I’ve encountered) and he was just genuinely nice. I know he gave me a wonderful memory that I’ll certainly never forget.