Serendipty or Coincidence
10 Year Anniversary

by Henry Swain

Ten years ago Bob Meister, then president of the Brown County Chamber of Commerce, asked me to become a board member. He reminded me that from the chamber’s beginnings in the early 1950s I was one of three charter members still living in the community. He convinced me that my historical perspective might be of some value to the chamber as a board member.

At my first board meeting I was introduced to Cindy Steele, another newly elected board member. She outlined her new community magazine called Our Brown County. At the end of her presentation she asked the board members to direct to her anyone in the community who might be interested in writing for her magazine.

I approached Cindy after the meeting informing her that I had done some writing that might fit her magazine. I later gave her some samples of my stories. She found them suitable, and thus began a ten-year association beneficial to both of us.

I tend to be a lazy writer in my retirement. Cindy’s monthly deadline has acted as pitchfork prodding me to produce over a hundred stories for her. Four years ago I realized many of my stories might have historical value, for some of them were my recollections of people and places 50 years ago when we moved to Brown County.

Without Cindy’s prodding deadline I would never have written them, nor would I have accumulated enough material for my book Leaves for the Raking, half of which first appeared in Our Brown County.

Was our coming on the board at the same time just coincidence or serendipity? I favor serendipity. When we review our lives we discover that many of the important changes that occurred we did not consciously initiate. Rather the change came from the gathering together at the right place at the right time of seemingly scattered conditions. Cindy’s magazine has offered opportunity for many Brown County writers. We do not realize as we go about our daily lives that we are creating history. We also underestimate or often do not acknowledge how much our lives are affected by the history of those who came before us.

Cindy had mentors who helped her establish Our Brown County. Its success has been mostly from her own energy and dedication to her dream. She sets goals for herself with doubts that she can achieve them, but then does. Calm on the outside, one would never suspect how much she anguishes over each issue. She adjusts to the rhythm of monthly deadlines—to nerves prior to deadline, then calm satisfaction of accomplishment afterward.

Last year she initiated a new magazine INto Art, a regional magazine dedicated to the arts and crafts in south central Indiana. It was well received and she hopes to publish it three times a year coinciding to our heaviest tourist months.

A talented writer herself, she regrets the magazines consume too much of her time to write. She is also an artist and many of the covers of her magazine are her own work.

Quiet and unassuming as she is, I do not believe she fully understands the contribution she and her magazines have given our community.

Besides the creativity shown in the accomplishment of her dreams in her Our Brown County and INto Art, she has fostered the creativity of others who contribute to her magazine. Writers need a forum for their words. Cindy as editor and publisher provides that opportunity.

Ten years of Our Brown County has left an important mark in our community. Another ten years could leave a larger mark. People have been conditioned to look forward to Our Brown County at the first of the month.

Write, call, or e-mail Cindy at <>. Tell her how much you have appreciated Our Brown County and INto Art.

Come to the open house at the Brown County Inn on Sunday, April 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Readers, advertisers, and contributors of the publication are invited to enjoy fellowship, food, and entertainment.

Music includes informal performances by John Franz, PC Clark, Kara Barnard, The Lost Shoe String Band, Slats Klug, Robbie Bowden, and Dave Gore.

You’ll have an opportunity to meet and greet many of the folks that produce the words, photographs, and artwork for Our Brown County.

Bring a food or monetary donation for MOTHER’S CUPBOARD. Mother’s Cupboard can be reached at 812-988-8038.