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There is a saying: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It was based on an ode that Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote when he turned over a newly built mouse nest as he plowed his fields. Seeing the mouse scamper away with no hope of rebuilding that nest because the season was so late, Burns reflected on how many times, although carefully thought out, plans don’t always turn out the way we envisioned them.
This saying was reflected upon when the historical society received news last week that our “Owen County, Kentucky Family History Book” would not be here in time for Christmas. All of our members worked very hard over the past year, compiling and typing histories, taking pictures, and gathering at the museum to read over the proofs sent to us by the publisher. We were diligent to send back the proofs in a timely manner, but there were many corrections to be made. We have now been informed that the printer is running behind and will not be able to comply with the December deadline.
The publisher is now giving us a new date of sometime around the middle of January. Hopefully, this is accurate information. In the meantime, we are to receive certificates, which we can give to our loved ones at Christmas. These will state that the book is forthcoming. We apologize for the delay, but it was out of our control; and as it is many times in life, we must not be too disappointed when our “best laid plans” go awry. From all indications the book promises to be a spectacular record of Owen county families and their part in the development of our beloved Owen.
Another plan that went awry was our historical society Christmas party. President Jeannie Baker, was ill and would not be able to attend. I ask you, would a Christmas party be complete without the president, whose dedication made possible the opening of the museum, and whose efficient, self-sacrificing work resulted in an Owen county family history book that will be remembered for generations? The answer is, it wouldn’t, so the historical society members decided to postpone the party until tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 17, same time, same place, same agenda.
From the earliest settlers in Owen county to the people who live here today, disappointments, disasters, and deaths have caused some of the best laid plans to go awry. Kentucky pioneers didn’t have plans for their homes to catch fire, destroying all their possessions, but sometimes it happened. They didn’t plan on being captured or killed by Indians, or think of losing a child to an accident or disease, but it happened. In 1874 when the Natlee Covered Bridge was built, it was beautifully and splendidly constructed. I’m sure no one thought that one day it would burn down, but it did. In 1914 , the Palace Livery Stables and the shoe shop of S.T. Jones were destroyed by fire and the Meeks’ tailor shop was badly damaged. The owners didn’t plan for this to happen, but the best laid plans sometimes suffer a glitch. Those who lived along the scenic Kentucky river probably didn’t envision that in 1937 the raging river would cause havoc to residents in Gratz and Monterey, sweeping away homes, livestock, and possessions, but it happened. However, we, like our forefathers, are a resilient people. We rebuild our land, our homes, our businesses, and our families; and in doing so, we gain strength. God is still on His throne, and though at times our best laid plans do go awry, we rise up, determined to meet the challenges of a new day.