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LISTEN: Summer Checks Out At Chickasaw Park

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They were playing the game "Around the World" — and these six men had no interest in leaving Chickasaw Park anytime soon.

The park is a refuge for them. On Tuesday, the men dribbled the basketball, tossing up shots as the sun sunk below the treeline along the western edge of Louisville.

During the sweltering days of the few months, the men flocked to the park to sit beneath the trees. They played dominoes and chess and toss cornhole bags. On cooler days, they played hoops. The park has been their destination to escape the stresses of life and to be with friends.

Listen

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Summer officially drew to a close on Tuesday — but this group's routine will remain the same until the crisp, cool fall fades into a chilly Louisville winter. Work, park, family, friends.

"We haven't had a real hot summer," said D.J. Herndon,  41, who grew up in a neighborhood near the park and still lives just a few blocks away.

"You haven't suffered more than 10 days. But last summer, that summer was a beast."

Soon, the winter cold may force the men to abandon the park for a few months. They'll instead congregate in a garage or living room.

"We'll still break bread together," Herndon said.

And when the snow and ice melt away, the men will return to Chickasaw Park. They'll bring the dominoes, the cold drinks and try to work their way around the world on the basketball court.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.