Late dog mayor’s secretary and “momma” talks Rabbit Hash
RABBIT HASH, Ky. (AP) — The first time Bobbi Layne Kayser came to Rabbit Hash was the day she moved there.
“I got a drink, went and sat on the porch and felt like I had met my destiny,” she said. “There is something about the geological spot the town sits on that defies explanation.”
According to Kayser, once you’re at “the center of the universe,” your blood pressure goes down, you’re more inclined to chat with the stranger sitting next to you and there’s always a dog nearby to soothe your soul.
Located along the Ohio River in western Boone County, Rabbit Hash is home to the landmark Rabbit Hash General Store.
“It’s a feeling of simpler times and ways, when the word ‘community’ meant helping your neighbors and coming together for support and play,” she said.
“This feeling is palpable in Rabbit Hash. People come to town to see what all the hoopla is about. They come back, and sometimes stay for good because what that feels like, is coming home.”
And at home in Rabbit Hash, Kayser has become an essential part of the hoopla.
Tom Lubbe, owner of Verona Vineyards, a small boutique winery in Verona with a satellite store in Rabbit Hash, has known Kayser for about 10 years.
Lubbe said that Kayser is “so well liked by everyone in town.”
“She brings us together and gets us (the shop owners) all working toward one goal to preserve the history and get people to come to enjoy our town,” he said.
“Game changer,” he said is a title Layne Kayser bestows well, according to Lubbe.
“She’s very passionate,” he said. “She’s genuine and she cares about life here in Rabbit Hash and she makes it a much better place.”
She leads the Rabbit Hash Historical Society Board of Directors. She helps promote events, accommodates media and volunteers to help with whatever is needed. In addition, she organizes maintenance, keeping the utilities on and the buildings.
Her greatest and most proud contribution, Kayser said, was serving as secretary and being “momma” to her dog Lucy Lou. The red and white border collie served as mayor of Rabbit Hash from 2008 to 2016. She died this September at age 12.
Lucy Lou was the first female mayor of Rabbit Hash. Lucy Lou ran on the popular campaign slogan: “The Bitch You Can Count On,” raising $8,087 of the total $21,921 raised that election.
The idea for the animal mayor race was initiated to raise funds for historical preservation.
Since her political career took off Lucy Lou became quite the celebrity, locally and nationally. She and Kayser attended many charity events and Lucy Lou served as spokespet for a women’s crisis center.
Her term as mayor ended earlier than planned in 2016, Kayser said, when Lucy Lou voluntarily left office in order to help her hometown raise funds to rebuild the Rabbit Hash General Store. The 1831 historic building was destroyed by fire in February 2016. With the help of Lucy Lou and others, the Rabbit Hash Historical Society was able to rebuild and reopen the landmark within a year.
During her tenure, Lucy Lou also gave many radio and magazine interviews. She appeared on news segments to promote local events as well as a Japanese pet show and shared a “Talking Points” walk with Bill Geist of CBS Sunday Morning.
Kayser said she and Lucy Lou served their community “because things need to be done.”
“A lot of things in town get done by a lot of other locals for the same reason, Kayser said. “It’s just how we work together here.”
Kayser, however, doesn’t really consider herself a game changer, but more of a preservationist.
“Change is actually frowned upon in historical Rabbit Hash,” she said. “I’m lucky to be among like-minded people ready to pitch in and help at a moment’s notice. So being involved means friendships, social outlet and a good feeling of having contributed to the history of Boone County.”
Her vision for Rabbit Hash: “For it to become self-sustaining enough to last as it is now for future generations to enjoy as much as the present one does.”
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com