Day 471: Pippa Passes

Pippa Passes, Kentucky, got its name in an interesting way. Alice Lloyd was a Boston journalist who was disabled by a stroke and spinal meningitis and was advised by her doctor to move to a warmer climate. She went with her mother to live in a windowless cabin in Kentucky. Since she and her mother were educated, a man offered to build them a cabin with windows and let them live on his land if they would educate his children and those of his neighbors. They accepted his offer and started a free school. Alice spent evenings writing letters asking for donations to pay for textbooks and school supplies.

One of the organizations she approached for funding for the school was the Browning Society. Along with their donation, they suggested that the post office be called “Pippa Passes” from the title of Robert Browning’s poem/drama published in 1841.

Alice Lloyd founded other mountain schools and later Alice Lloyd College, a four-year liberal arts institution in Pippa Passes. Laetitia and her group toured the college and afterward went on to Hazard, Kentucky, a small city of about 5,000 named for U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The television show The Dukes of Hazzard was based on this Kentucky community, but the spelling of Hazard was changed to “Hazzard” and the locale was reset to Georgia. The last stop of the day was a farm on which two young women raised miniature donkeys that they offered for sale as pets for children.

After arranging to meet later for dinner, Laetitia dropped her guests at their hotel and went to a local bar for happy hour. She ordered a bourbon and water and struck up a conversation with the bartender. He knew about the miniature donkey farm, and thought both the women who owned the farm and the little donkeys were cute. He said he liked to drive by that farm to look at the livestock.

While he was serving other customers, Laetitia had another thought. When she had met her group this morning and announced that the first stop on the day’s tour was Pippa Passes, everyone assumed that the tour had something to do with the Royal Wedding. She assured the group that the day’s tour had nothing to do with Pippa Middleton’s passage down the aisle in Westminster Abbey carrying the train of sister Kate’s bridal gown, offering the world a view of her form-fitting-gown-ensheathed backside and creating a brouhaha. With those thoughts, Laetitia smiled and wrote the limerick of the day.

A young man from the town Pippa Passes
Found attractive young ladies’ cute asses
And would ogle their charms
On pastures and farms
As they dined on Kentucky’s sweet grasses.