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Meet Me in the Home Ec Tent

August 18, 2012

America is going to be fine. I know this because I have just gone to a county fair. Tell anyone to visit the craft exhibition hall at the Berrien County Youth Fair if they have any doubt. I can give directions. Tell them to make sure and see the layer cakes and yeast breads laid out neatly by ages 8-12 and perhaps their parents in the home ec hall, or the marigolds in floral, milling around  in vases on the white painted shelves like teenagers at a grange-hall  dance, and wilting as it is the fourth day of the fair; make sure if they can spare the time that they stroll down and visit the fairy-size rosebushes tucked into tiny fern embankments in “miniature silk flowers, ages 9-15.” They must not miss the carrier pigeons, the speckled bantam roosters and the signs above the poultry cages written in careful script: “Thank you River Valley Custodian for buying my rabbit.”  Or the book bag sewn out of John Deere fabric by the youngest sewing contestant, an eight year old boy with an eight syllable name, or the sandblasted mirror that broke in the car on the way to the fair but was entered anyway with the note “This broke on the way to the fair but I am still proud of it so I will enter it anyway.”  Imagine the tears.  I am pretty sure anyone who looks at this mirror will agree our country is going to make it and make it well not because of our prowess in innovation but because we still make stuff with our hands, and make it well. We are never going to stop doing this because it is part of what makes us happy.  And for every cake someone baked, for every goat that got a ribbon, for every dress someone cut out and sewed, for every cactus that was placed in a dish with sand and rocks, someone had to put it in a car, drive it over, steady it, take it out and set it on a shelf, or in a crate, or behind a fence, and before that happened someone had to decide they were going to enter it in the fair, and before that happened someone had to offer to help the child do something, and that was the start of a very small dream and after that someone had to see it through, and all of that takes heart, and gives it back in spades. I never thought I would write a paean to 4-H life but people, here I am. Next year at the tail-end of summer you might find make your way over the fair to find me judging layer cakes because I believe I would be good at it and I hope you are right there with me, hanging little prize tags on the floral arrangements, or at least admiring the roses.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 20, 2012 3:44 pm

    What a great reminder of the “small stuff” in life, which is really the big stuff, when you get right down to it. Love this!

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