Friday, June 13, 2008

Bracken County Creed

Bracken County, Kentucky is a small rural county that to most outsiders would be considered a hole in the wall. There are no street lights, no flashing yellow cautions and certainly no McDonalds.

There are, however, a courthouse, 33 churches, two hardware stores, eight restaurants, one library and four banks. There is also one really huge item that is impossible to ignore, although the town's folk do ignore it. This town has a huge boulder resting square on its shoulder.

That rock is due to a paradox, the likes of which I have never seen before. The people have an identity crisis, yet they know exactly who and what they are and they will not change.

Delving into my husband's genealogy, I found ancestors of current county residents going back to 1792. Coopers, Clarks, Mains, Jeffersons, Poes, Jetts and so many more have been here in this county since Kentucky was first settled and became a state. My husband's lineage is among the Clarks, Poes and Jetts, yet in many ways he is an outsider because his mother can only trace the lineage of one side of her family to the history that is Bracken. Bracken Countians know themselves by their ties to the land. They have cultivated it and their DNA has made it whatever it is today. It is not just a place where people live. This is a place that lives for them because of them.

I love this place because of the heritage. I hate it for the same reason. I will never be a Bracken Countian even if I live here for 30 more years. Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting there aren't nice people here, because there are some lovely people who would do anything for anybody in need.... anything except call him from Bracken County.

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