My Kentucky Kitchen Table project took place in my own home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. My parents insisted on cooking the entire meal for our guests. My parents were super excited to have people over for dinner because we don’t often do. I invited a couple of my friends, our neighbors, and the majority of our other guests were friends and colleagues of my mom. First, we have my friends Conner, Abby, and Shelby. I’ve known each of them for many years, and we’ve went to many of the same schools. Now, Shelby lives in Nashville and attends Belmont, Abby attends SKYCTC, and Conner goes to WKU with me. Next, we have my neighbors Vickie and Brian. My mom’s friend and coworker Stephanie joined us, and she brought her son Corey. I had never met them before, but she is really good friends with my mom. Corey ate with my little brothers and sister, but they aren’t pictured in the photo. My parents not only cooked, but ate with us and contributed a lot to the conversation.
To start things off, we went around and told each other where we worked and what we did, and each of us answered the question about how each of our jobs relate to our roles as citizens. It just so happened that my mom, Stephanie, and Vickie all work at the hospital, but they all work in different departments and do different things. They all talked about how they feel that their jobs relate to their roles as citizens because they help other citizens in times of need such as when they are sick or are having a baby. Abby talked about how she keeps score for many kids’ sports teams in our community, which makes it possible for them to get out and play with each other. Conner works at a vets office. She absolutely loves it. She hopes to one day be a vet, and she is currently working as a kennel worker gaining knowledge and experience. My dad teaches architecture and drafting at the tech school in Russellville. Brian works at the Kobe aluminum plant, and Shelby thought that was quite interesting because her dad works at Logan aluminum. When we asked Brian what he did at Kobe, he said “I run a daycare… no actually, I manage a group of 6 or 7 people, but it often feels like I’m running a daycare.”
The conversation soon shifted to us discussing the reasons why we enjoy living where we do. Having came from small towns such as Tompkinsville and Scottsville, Vickie, Brian, my mom, and my dad all agreed that the reason they moved to Bowling Green was because there are many more job opportunities here and “there is everything you would ever need here,” said Vickie. Vickie also said she loves Bowling Green because it is a big enough city, but still small enough to have that hometown feel without a lot of traffic. Shelby made a lot of good points when she talked about how there isn’t a lot of crime in Bowling Green compared to other cities such as Nashville where she lives now. She said she also liked living in Bowling Green because the sales tax is lower in Kentucky. During this discussion, Abby finally realized why her McDonald’s Sweet tea was $1.06 in Kentucky but $1.10 or $1.09 in other states like Tennessee. Her mind was blown. It was hilarious. We all came to the conclusion that the cost of living is a lot lower in Bowling Green and most parts of Kentucky compared to other places in the United States. My dad talked about how blessed he feels that he is living in the United States. He talked about how grateful he is that he can have as many kids as he wants, and choose his occupation, and just other simple freedoms that we often take for granted and others in the world don’t have.
My family has always sat at the dinner table each and every time we ate dinner at home. It is something that I have actually always enjoyed, even as a kid. For this reason, I was interested in finding out if other families in Bowling Green did this as well. Abby told us that her family usually eats in the living room but they are usually still all together and watching a sports game. Both Vickie and my mom talked about how when they were younger they sat at the dinner table. When they got married, they usually ate wherever, but once they had kids, they made it a New Year’s Resolution one year to eat dinner each night as a family at the table, and it just kind of stuck, and it has been that way ever since. Brian said that as a child, his family ate dinner in different locations in the house, but now that his family sits at the table each night, he really enjoys it a lot more. He talked about how it was really the only time to actually be able to catch his kids and talk to them since all their schedules were so different.
As everyone started to finish their dinner, we decided to discuss the final question of what does citizenship mean to you. Conner and Abby’s responses were simple yet important. They said that they believed it to just being a part of the community, caring for others, and doing your part. Shelby talked about how she felt it was “being responsible for yourself as well as others in the community.” “It’s a whole system and we all have to contribute to make it work.” Finally, my dad made some good points when he related to himself. He talked about how citizenship is being a part of something bigger than what you could accomplish on your own. “I can’t build a road from here to Russellville to get to work and teach students, but I pay taxes so others will build the road for me. Now, I can get to work in order to make money to provide for my family while the construction workers were also making money to provide for theirs.”
Conversations like these are actually not uncommon in my family. Sometimes we talk about some pretty serious things, especially when it comes to the news and what’s going on all over the world. However, it was interesting to get some new people’s opinions on some very important topics.