Madison is the birthplace of my mother. It's a quaint old town that maintains a picturesque quality of an earlier America. Mom has made a couple more recent trips back, and she says nothing much has changed.
You come directly into Madison by crossing a bridge over the Ohio River from Milton, Kentucky. (My family has roots in this town as well.) The November beauty of that last stretch of US-421 before reaching the bridge simply cannot be overstated. I haven't seen the raging oranges, reds, and yellows of the trees for nearly 35 years, and yet it somehow has left an indelible mark in my memory ever since childhood.
There could be much more to say about Madison - the hilltop view of the town, Hanover College (founded during John Quincy Adams' presidency), the cobble-stone roads downtown - but you might be wondering the reason for our visits to this part of the country. Well, as I mentioned, this is where my mother was born. Her mother and father moved down to Houston eventually. But my great grandmother Frances Anna Byrd remained in Indiana with her husband Vernon Tanksley, with the exception of a brief move to Texas before I was born. This was the mother of Annis Laverne Tanksley (my mother's mother). And I called her "Grandma Tanksley".