The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

November 8, 2012

Al Smith, Kentucky Cured

RICHMOND — “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me....

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.”

— John Newton

Along with being one of the most influential journalists in the history of Kentucky, Al Smith is a fascinating role model of redemption and overcoming addiction.

January 2013 will mark the 50th year since Al took his last drink and began his road to greatness. The former head of the Appalachian Regional Commission for President Carter, Smith’s second book, “Kentucky Cured: Fifty Years in Kentucky Journalism,” is a collection of reflections and stories about the mesmerizing people he met during his decades in the bluegrass state.

A must-read for students of Kentucky history, journalism and politics, “Kentucky Cured” is really the book that I thought Smith would have written as his autobiography. It is loaded with insight about Kentucky and Kentuckians. 

In 2011, Al became a first-time author at age 84 with his stunning autobiography “Wordsmith.” As I noted in a review of that book, “Smith’s writes with gut-wrenching honesty about how he overcame self-destruction. It might be one of the best books that anyone anywhere has written about overcoming the grips of alcohol addiction.”

Much of that book is centered on his years in New Orleans, and I noted in my review that it was written “with the raw edge of a man who looked the devil in the eye and stared him down, but knows he is always just one drink away from falling back into the abyss.”

“Kentucky Cured” reflects the upbeat, spellbinding and positive side of Smith’s personality, laced with colorful characters, both well-known and unknown. It traces his journalism career from his “rebirth” in western Kentucky to the most current of current events. The book gives a glimpse at people like political powerhouses Emerson “Doc” Beauchamp of Logan County, who few Kentuckians of this era know about, but played a major role in shaping the state’s history. 

But the book is not really about other Kentuckians, it’s about Al. A man who seems to know everyone. A man who overcame adversity and passionately devoted his life to helping people that society often throws away. A man who, like Forrest Gump, always seems to show up just as history is happening.

“Kentucky Cured” reflects all of those traits that Al possesses. It is also an entertaining and easy read. The 220 pages fly along from story to story.

Anyone who watched Kentucky Educational Television’s Comment on Kentucky program during the 30-plus years that Al hosted the show definitely should want to own a copy of the book. It fills in the gaps on many of the issues, people and ideas that made Comment a must-watch for movers and shakers in the state.

Al was granted the gift of “amazing grace” to overcome his addiction, but what he has done in the 50 years since he became “Kentucky Cured” makes for a fascinating read, for Kentuckians and non-Kentuckians as well.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is a best-selling author and expert on what to do when you win the lottery. He was a frequent guest on Comment on Kentucky when Al Smith hosted the show. His latest book, Life Lessons Learned from the Lottery, will be available on Kindle on November 17.

 

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Education a priority? Don’t believe it

    They did it – more or less.

    They got a budget, they got a road plan and they got out of town on time.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don McNay.jpg Did you miss small business health-care tax credit?

    A Kentucky professional who owns his own business found that he missed getting the health-care tax credit.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results