Laughing Through Life: August 22, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

Roughly two weeks ago, I left for a one-week vacation in Louisville, Kentucky.

Well, in truth, it was not what you would call a real vacation…I led a group of 11, including seven teenagers, to a national youth convention and Fine Arts Festival hosted by the Assemblies of God.

Overall, nearly 13,000 teen traveled from all corners of this great nation to downtown Louisville.

We left late Sunday night/early Monday morning. We traveled by a charter bus. It took 12 hours. I still have nightmares from that bus trip…

Anyway, we arrived in the bluegrass state around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. I must say that I really enjoyed my stay in Louisville. It is a pretty cool city.

Our hotel was one block away from the convention center and a few blocks from the KFC Yum! Center, which is where our nightly youth services took place.

The KFC Yum! Center is better known as the basketball arena for the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team.

When the Syracuse Orange visit the Cardinals this upcoming college basketball season, I can honestly say, “Yep. I’ve been there.”

Outside of the nightly services and Fine Arts Festival, the highlights of the trip were, in no particular order, the restaurants (ie. food), the Louisville Zoo, a section of the city called Fourth Street Live!, and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

Before I go on one of these youth group trips — and I have been on several including Denver, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C.  — I have to be like the biblical character of Joshua and scout out the land. In my case, I’m not scouting the people. I’m scouting eating spots.

Here is a summary of the fine establishments that I visited: Doc Crow’s, Bluegrass Brewing Company, Hard Rock Cafe, Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, and a couple of mom-and-pop deli shops.

Doc Crow’s, which was billed as a southern smokehouse and oyster bar, was excellent! We actually ate there twice, which is usually a Henderson no-no. You never eat at the same restaurant twice while on vacation.

We made an exception, however, because of Doc Crow’s “Heap-n Chips,” which are kettle chips topped with pulled pork, cheese, salsa, jalapenos, barbecue sauce, and other hidden gems. They should have named the arena Doc Crow’s Yum! Center!

Also, my wife is planning to recreate the “Heap-n Chips” at home. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

As a group, we also went to the Louisville Zoo, which is a pretty cool zoo complete with a 4-D movie theater. In addition, they had an moving dinosaur exhibit that was originally supposed to end several weeks ago but was extended until the end of August.

The 4-D movie theater was pretty neat. We had our choice of Dora & Diego’s 4-D Adventure or Planet Earth: Ice Worlds. Of course, being with a group of teens, the chose Dora the Expolorer.

You already know about 3-D; well, 4-D is pretty much the same thing, but with a few surprises. For example, at one point, Dora and her rainforest friends were on a boat and waves were splashing into the boat. In 4-D, you can see the waves into the boat and you can actually feel them as water is squirted on you.

At one point, one of Dora’s friends was eating a banana and you could actually smell a banana. Later on during the movie, I could have sworn that Dora was, um, passing gas — that is until I realized that I was sitting next to a mother who was holding a baby. Doh!

Later on that night, my wife and I headed to Fourth Street Live — an area of downtown Louisville filled with restaurants, bars, and the such. Apparently, it’s the place to be in Louisville on a Friday night.

We were meeting my wife’s sister’s husband’s cousin and her husband from Cincinnati, who made the 90-mile drive to visit with us. We met up just after an outdoor concert was ending.

We stood around talking when we realized that one of the band members was right next to us. For the next 15 minutes, we watched as young females flocked to him and had their picture taken with him.

At one point, a 13-year-old teen who could not contain his excitement ran up to him and began fawning over him. It was like he was a member of the Beatles or something. I thought he was going to pass out from excitement.

I don’t think I ever saw someone fawning over someone else in my life. That was some seriously extreme fawning. Extreme fawning — they should make a reality show about that.

As we watched this happening, we were joking that we had no idea who this person was or what band he was in.

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