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A Climax family goes on an unforgettable road trip

Published 11:29pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Joseph Kelly and his parents Paul and Juliet, and Aunt Luz Musgrove of Climax are a very close family. They truly represent the saying, “A family that prays together stays together,” or so they thought until spring break of this year when they all agreed prayer was definitely needed.
Being the loving son he is, Joseph, a teacher at Bainbridge High School and resident of Climax, decided he would take his parent and his Aunt Luz on a week-long automobile trip; and being the good neighbor that he is, Joseph also invited neighbor Robert Phillips on the trip too.
Paul is a big fan of the country music star Loretta Lynn, even to the point he and wife Juliet named their little dog Loretta. So Joseph said with GPS set on his SUV and car loaded, the trip began with the first destination, “Butcher Holler,” a dream of Paul’s, one day he would visit Loretta Lynn’s birthplace.
Joseph said their goal the first day was to stay in Haynesville, Kentucky. The birthplace of Loretta Lynn is exactly what it represents — a holler way back in the mountains with a small, country store not equipped for many visitors. Paul explained Climax was huge compared to Butcher Holler.
“There are no interstates through Butcher Holler on the contrary,” Joseph said, “The road began to get smaller and smaller, and the mountains began to close in on me, and I began to get claustrophobic. Up one mountain and down again, then here we go again.”
Joseph said he set his GPS for the shortest distance, and it carried them over the mountains with turning and twisting roads. They took one wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way with nowhere to turn around.
“I just knew we were going over the side of that mountain as I twisted and turned,” Joseph said. “We were nervous wrecks.”
They thought they were lost and even called home to niece and Aunt Taresa Maxwell, for directions on a paper map, but, the GPS took them right to the hotel where they had reservations.
Joseph explained, that one must understand his dad. “Of course you can’t take Roger Paul on a trip and he does not meet someone and make friends,” Joseph said. “Paul proceeded to become the Ambassador for Climax to everyone he met. He got to know the hotel clerk and became her friend; she was from the South, but still loved Paul’s accent or Southern drawl.”
To get away from the hotel clerk and go to dinner, Joseph said he had to literally pull his Dad into the car, and roll the window up because the clerk followed them out to their automobile. According to Joseph this happened quite often on the tip as Paul loves to talk, and meet new acquaints. Due to the extended visit at Butcher Holler, having lunch at the country store, and the roads, (making a wrong turn on a mountain trail) and giving Climax’s Ambassador the chance to stretch his legs and shall we say voice, the group was late going to dinner.
Waking up in Paintsville, Kentucky to 20 degree weather after leaving Climax in the 60s was somewhat of a shock, Paul said. But, they enjoyed the visit to Butcher Holler. The sign on a rock was all they found.
“Climax does have a sign that let’s one know they are entering the home of Swine Time, but not at Butcher Holler — it is on one rock, that’s it,” Joseph said.
They did get to visit Loretta’s home place, and according to Paul, where three other families lived, the Webbs, Butchers, and (wouldn’t you know it) the Kellys.
Entering into Columbus, Ohio they had supper in a German restaurant. They also left friend and neighbor Robert Phillips in Michigan. The Kelly’s enjoyed the hospitality of Robert’s family before leaving him for a visit as they continued on their adventures.
When they saw Niagara Falls, it was frozen on the American side, so they decided to go for a better view on the Canadian side.
The hotel staff recommended a Chinese restaurant for dinner that night, and Paul quipped they went all the way to Canada to eat Chinese food. They then learned the restaurant was operated by Filipinos. This made it nice for Juliet and Luz, who are of Filipino decent.
While in Canada, the group decided to come back into the U.S. by way of New York, just to say they had been to New York. Well, the border crossing official questioned them and they told her they had entered Canada through Michigan and wanted to come to New York just for fun. The officer asked them their country of origin and they all said, U.S. except Juliet. She looked at them and asked, “What do I say? Philippine?” The others said, “No mom, United States!”
With all the traffic and traveling so long, experiencing a little road rage from some folks, Joseph said he shouted, “Just take me back home to Climax, Georgia, where rush hour is one car on the road.”
He said it was evident all was becoming tired of each other’s company — even the Climax Ambassador was beginning to wind down. They stopped in Michigan and picked up Robert.
“We were headed back to the land of sweet tea,” Joseph said.
They visited the birth place of Loretta Lynn and returning they visited the mansion where she now lives.
“I wanted to see from rags to riches, as she is my favorite country singer,” Paul said.
After a tour of Loretta Lynn’s mansion, they went to the Grand Ole Opry (the Ryman auditorium) and had a chance to stand and sing on the stage.
By then the weary travelers were getting tired of each other’s company. Joseph said everyone was sick of each other and Paul said they all agreed they wouldn’t speak to each other until they got home. No one spoke all the way through the state of Alabama. There was no radio, no CDs, just absolute silence.
Entering the state of Georgia, Joseph said he was so glad to see the state line and especially the Climax city limits signs and, “Home of Swine Time” sign. Joseph said he told everyone that he loved them, but he didn’t want to see any one of them until the middle of the next week.
The family that prays together, stays together, was completely sick of each other, he said.
Of course after only a few days they were back together again.

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