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Smile, Kentucky

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The fog was barely lifting when we got to Smile, Kentucky, in northwest Rowan County. The tiny town sits in a north-south valley aligning Big Brushy Creek. In the old days, it used to be a back way to the Ohio River. These days, before the people show up, wildlife still have the run of the place. So, too, the stands of daylilies, daisies, chamomile and clover. Nothing and no one is a stranger here. It’s the kind of town where visitors are asked if they need help instead of being asked to leave. Where dogs drive, llamas are bodyguards, news travels fast and where when someone skydives out of a plane with smoke coming off their boots and a flag attached to their rears to salute the tiny town on July Fourth, the locals call to reassure each other that that the boys “fell out of the plane on purpose.” Words by Amy Wilson/Photographs by Charles Bertram

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8 Responses to “Smile, Kentucky”
  1. frances abell says:

    wonderful pictures as always, Charles and beautiful commentary. it does make you “smile”

  2. AMY says:


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  5. Debbie Murray says:

    I live in Smile and love the natural beauty of being able to live on land that does make you smile! It is truly a beautiful place. Thank you for the wonderful photos capturing a very special place on earth. Lowell is my father-in-law.

  6. angie says:

    Awesome photos Mr. Bertram, just awesome!!

  7. Lorie Ferguson says:

    Thanks for the kind words and story about our little community. It is a pretty little valley full of nature, history and wonderful people.

  8. linda rader says:

    Thanks for doing these series of pictures.. I have looked at the past ones many times. I was happy to see Smile, Ky. You could say it made me smile:)

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