I’m about ready for the Kentucky Book Fair.

My commission as a Kentucky Colonel arrived last week, forwarded by Senator Julian M. Carroll and officially signed by Governor Steven L. Beshear.

Senator Carroll, who nominated me, is himself a former governor whom history will note as one of the best. He had received a copy of Theo’s Story from my niece, Reni Krey, who knows her way around the halls of the Capitol, and was kind enough to mention the novel in his forwarding letter, but I imagine that Reni more than Theo is responsible for the nomination.

Kentucky Colonel commissions are presented for special achievements and for contributions to the community, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Its ranks include presidents and heads of state, writers and entertainers, athletes, businessmen, doers of good works, and everyday citizens. It is the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth and I am truly proud – doubly so as a native son – to be among those so recognized.

The commissions began as an honor to Kentuckians who fought with Governor Isaac Shelby’s Kentucky Regiment in the War of 1812 – a war in which Kentuckians played a pivotal role, particularly at the Battle of New Orleans, and suffered so terribly in the River Raisin Massacre. Later Governors commissioned colonels to act as their protective guards and to be present at official functions.

Now the order raises funds for charitable purposes and the big event is the Colonels’ barbecue on Derby Morning. Juleps and burgoo at the break of dawn. What more could be asked for?

The Derby runs at Churchill Downs every year on the first Saturday in May, as the whole world knows. The Kentucky Book Fair (www.kybookfair.org) is set for Saturday November 7th this year at the Convention Center in Frankfort, the Commonwealth’s Capitol City and my hometown. No juleps and burgoo, I’m imagine, but some of the best books now on offer.

The fair is Kentucky’s premiere literary event and one of the largest book fairs in the nation. I hope to see you there. (I imagine a julep can be found somewhere.)

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