“The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…
Often Go Awry.”

When I was a fair-haired youth at Mt. Lebanon High School decades ago, I had to memorize a hundred lines of poetry or prose each semester. Initially, I didn’t see any value in that academic burden. Nonetheless, I still remember a one-liner of Bobby Burns’ To a Mouse. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” That verse finally hit home to me after six decades.

Ti Ti, my oldest granddaughter in Myanmar, was going to college in America and live in my home. This is her office with Ginger awaiting her arrival, which should have been early July.

I had additional plans. Once Ti Ti and her mother arrived and got unpacked, we would sit on the deck late in the evening and enjoy Neil Diamond presenting a special concert in which he would sing, Coming to America.

Also, I wanted Ron Magers to interview Ti Ti about her life in Myanmar and what she anticipates living in America will be like. Two decades ago, I interviewed him. I reread that interview, but Ron said one thing wasn’t included. After thanking Ron, he said we needed to get together sometime in the future to continue our interview. Talk about how that statement reverberated in my mind today. If anyone can connect me with Neil Diamond and Ron Magers, I would forever be in their debt.

All that Ti Ti needed was to be interviewed by the consular officer at the US Embassy in Yangon. However, it was closed due to COVID-19. Therefore, Ti Ti and her mother went to our embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. They weren’t giving out student visas or travel visas to anyone for some reason. However, when they returned to Myanmar, the embassy in Yangon had just opened. Many students were waiting for interviews to get a student visa in July. Therefore, Ti Ti had to sign up for an interview later this fall. A consular officer will interview her about coming to America for her college education. She has been accepted at the college to attend classes where I teach during the spring semester of 2023.

As Bobby Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Ti Ti had been accepted, has her TOEFL scores, and all the other documents required for the interview and attending college in America. Ti Ti’s coming to America is delayed a semester.

Into my psyche, another poem I had memorized while in high school. It was Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. This is the only stanza that I could still recite.

Rage rage closing light
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Burns and Thomas morphed together in my mind as I started grasping at straws. After a couple of hours of feeling the gloom and doom of a delay, I devised a new plan. In three weeks, I will be teaching a world religion, online class. I emailed Cecelia, who works at Moraine’s International Student Affairs department, and told her about my new plan. Cecelia talked with the registrar, and Ti Ti is now in the class.

Before every semester, I look over the names of my students. When I can’t pronounce their first or last names, I’m happy due to the diversity of my class. This semester will have a name that I can pronounce my granddaughter’s name, Nang Hse Yati. Nonetheless, it will add diversity to the class.

This will be Ti Ti in a couple of weeks.


This is a reading of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

This is a video of Neil Diamond singing Coming to America.