Around Town: Henson made sure Dad was at her wedding


Theatrics followed Eben Henson, founder of Pioneer Playhouse, almost to his grave.

His children, Holly, Heather, Eben Jr. and Robby were working on funeral plans after his death in April. The children were going through his collection of memorabilia that spanned eight decades, collecting items to display at the funeral

"I was rocked to the core by the knowledge that I didn't even know a fraction of who my father was," Holly said.

In the midst of all the planning, the emotion, and her work on the eulogy, Holly was suddenly struck by the fact "that if I was ever going to have my father at my wedding, this was it."


Holly and Tom Hansen have been together for 11 years; family members had suggested marriage to the two over the years. After seeing if the Rev. Norman Hagley, who was holding the funeral service, would also perform a marriage, the confident bride-to-be woke up Tom and popped the question.

"He said 'yes' before he even opened his eyes. He later claims I took unfair advantage because he hadn't even had a cup of coffee."

Their goal was to keep the wedding secret until Hagley announced it after the family had their last moments at the casket and before the funeral was to begin.

The morning of the funeral, Tom and Holly ducked out to get the marriage license. "Every head turned in the county clerk's office when I told them we were getting married in an hour, at my dad's funeral."

Since Holly and Tom wanted the family to be surprised, there were a few strange exchanges at the church. The minister's wife saw Holly's sister, Heather, at the church and asked, "When's the wedding?"

Heather started wondering if Mrs. Hagley was daft.

Except for Eben Jr. who somehow got word of the wedding, her siblings and mother, Charlotte, were completely in the dark until Hagley broke the news to the family.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the church as we said our vows, standing beside Dad for the last time. I wore something old, something new and everyone present was blue."

Holly is glad she had the brainstorm. "Somehow it just felt right to get married with my whole family there, surrounded by so much love. We were together as a family, connected by grief and by love. We hugged and cried and celebrated life."

As a family friend commented, "The Colonel's funeral had three things I'd never seen before: a wedding, a casket that people could autograph and a standing ovation."

"My father would have loved that," Holly said. "He had always prided himself on being a cultural pioneer. Even going out, he blazed a trail."

After the newlyweds returned to Minneapolis, there was a spur-of-the-moment Italian wedding lunch given by friend Louie Anderson. Anderson is interested in producing a pilot of a game show Holly, who also is a comedian, created.

Anderson is a former host of "Family Feud," which Holly thought was another perfect touch. She and her father were noted for their "family feuds," she said. The feuds primarily were a case of artistic temperaments clashing head-to-head over views about Pioneer Playhouse productions.

"It almost makes me wonder if Dad was somehow laughing and crying 'On with the show!'"

Louisville women's club comes to Danville

"Everybody loves Danville."

That's the reason 120 members of the Women's Club of Louisville spent Wednesday in Danville.

Myrian Bodner of Louisville and Danville said the trip came about because of several connections to Danville. She and her husband, Paul, own the Todd-Cheek house in the Beaten Biscuit Row section of North Third Street.

Some members of the Women's Club knew Danville because family members had attended Centre College. Some had been to the Great American Brass Band Festival "and loved Danville."

From all those connections sprang the idea for a day-trip. Some of those on the tour had specific requests, such as the bus stopping at Burke's Bakery for doughnuts.

After a stop at Centre College and the president's home, Craik House, the group headed to North Third Street where the Bodner's home, the Rodes house and the Jones Bed and Breakfast were toured.

Pitching in to help with the local planning was Mary Stith Hamlin.

Paint Lick's Profitt featured on KET show

Pauline Profitt of Paint Lick is one of the crafts people featured on "World of Our Own: Kentucky Folkways."

The eight-part KET program first was shown in 1998. and the first program in the series will be shown at 10:30 p.m. June 3 on KET1 and at 5:30 p.m. June 4 on KET2.

Profitt creates rugs from old blue jeans.

The series looks at traditional music, art and games, folk art and crafts and customs associated with fishing, cooking, distilling, tobacco farming, funerals and river life.

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To share your pet peeves or random acts of kindness, write me at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville 40423; e-mail to; or call 236-4667 or (800)428-0409.

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