Day in Mercer County

October 20, 2003


Fog blankets the crevices of a vista on U.S. 68. It is so thick that it drowns tree trunks and grazing cows. A hot pink sun begins to cut through the sky. So begins an ordinary Tuesday.

On Oct. 7 there were no catastrophic events, no world championships, no parades or fanfare. In most people's minds the day may well have been forgotten. Daily routine and ordinary customs make up the bulk of life, of what most would call a good life, in Mercer County.

Sunrise - At Village Inn, a Burgin restaurant, customers fill tables before the sun rises. Over cups of coffee and plates of biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, people quietly flip through the newspaper.


9 a.m. - Doris Clark starts to make beds at James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital in Harrodsburg where she works in housekeeping. There are 50 beds at the hospital and each needs a fresh set of sheets.

Mid-morning - Cakes replace doughnuts on the kitchen counter of Harrodsburg Bakery. Owner Rose Sorrell ices two yellow bunt cakes, one with caramel icing and the other with chocolate. The desserts likely topped off some Harrodsburg family's dinner that night. Sorrell probably spent the entire day inside the shop. She admits that sometimes a trip to Wal-Mart seems like a vacation.

Noon - Mercer County Sheriff Deputy J.E. Barkman's hand-drawn cartoons, featuring Bailiff A.J. True, amuse the department's office staff at the courthouse.

Lunchtime - A pocketknife entices a group of regulars at Terry's Corner to pluck down a quarter-a-chance on a punch board. Jim Brown, a goat farmer, says that he doesn't mind spending $2 on the game.

"If I win, then I get a $2-knife, if I lose then I'm just out $2," he says.

1 p.m. - Pat Patterson, a member of St. Andrew's Catholic Church, prays with Katie McCrystal, a resident of Harrodsburg Healthcare Manor, and gives her communion.

Afternoon - Preschoolers board their bus, each with a pumpkin in hand, after a day at Fairview Farm. After they leave, the Patterson's children, Hunter, 13, and Holden, 12, helped their dad, James, feed and water the animals in the petting zoo.

Late afternoon - Chris Propes and Connie Carlton sit in the shade outside the barn at the Shakertown farm exhibit. They answer questions from visitors and use the pauses to keep up the living museum by crafting agriculture tools the way the Shakers would have years ago.

Evening - Parents line a rock fence at Fort Harrod State Park to watch their kids play peewee football. They wipe tears, cheer and videotape as their preschoolers learned the finer points of the sport, like which direction to run.

In the background, the sun sets on another day. |None***

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