My motto as a long-term Girl Scout is to “Be Prepared.” However, sometimes stuff happens.

I belong to a group that preserves the N.W. Faison House in La Grange, Texas. One of our recent schemes has been to increase visitation to the house by developing children’s programs.

Part of my madness was to promote a program to allow students to learn about primary and secondary sources by using examples from the house’s history. In case you graduated from high school in the dark ages as I did, here are the definitions:

Primary sources are original records  of  the political, economic, artistic, scientific, social, and intellectual thoughts and achievements of specific historical periods that are produced by the people who participated in and witnessed the past.

Secondary sources are documents, texts, images, and objects about an event created by someone who typically referenced the primary sources for their information. Textbooks are excellent examples of secondary sources.

 I’d worked on the program a little, but it was not finished by any means. And, we’d pitched it to the school almost a year ago.

 So, imagine my shock when we received a request with nine days’ notice to present the activity to all eighth graders taking American history!

 Of course, not wanting to embarrass ourselves, we worked feverishly preparing the lesson. The night before I got sufficient sleep as I planned to arrive at 7:15 a.m. to ensure the presentation ran on their equipment and that the two of us had our act together.

 Prior to showtime, the following calamities befell me:

  • I walked out of the house and into a gigantic spider web that covered my face and hair and got on my hands as I fought it off.
  • Settling in the car with my period-appropriate costume on was a bit of a shock, as the bustle threw my lower spine forward. Note to self: Never drive again with a bustle.
  • I arrived around 7:05 a.m. and waited patiently for my partner. Then, a little after 7:15, she called, telling me I was at the wrong school. The junior high and high school are on the same property, and I had gone to the high school entrance rather than the junior high one.

 Now, by this time, I was still reasonably calm but wondering how the rest of the day would go. And then, it happened.

 Before the first presentation, I used the restroom. As I leaned over to flush the toilet, my reading glasses that had been hung on the neckline of my dress careened wildly into the oilet.  Unhinged, I watched as the super-strong flush sent them down the drain!

How was I going to read parts of the documents we presented to the students? As luck would have it, I was able to depend on readers from my partner and held it together.

 Have your best-laid plans ever gone awry?

 Note: I’m always getting myself into predicaments, so this story is just par for the course.