The blue ribbon lays in the bottom of a box of papers and items from the past. The box hold lots of treasure. The blue ribbon has been there since I was a child. It’s still blue and very flat.
I was in 4-H from the time I could first become a 4-H’er until I started dating. I was in it because Brenda was in it and her mother was a 4-H leader. Sounded like a good deal to me. Not only did I get to hang with my best friend, I got to hang with my other mom as well. 4-H projects started out with simple projects. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually got rid of my apron made by my 4-H hands. I gave it up after realizing that I never did wear aprons. I was never very good with the needle and battled with the sewing machine on each project. But part of being a 4-H’er is making something to take to the great Darke County Fair.
We were farm kids but never took livestock to the fairgrounds. The neat kids got to stay at the fair with their animals. I never understood why we didn’t get to stay with our sewing. Made sense to me. Still we hung out at the fair as much as possible. Usually I hitched a ride with Margaret and the girls. We stopped to admire our work then hit the rides. We ate junk food all day. Candy apples that should have pulled our teeth out of our curly little heads. Cotton candy that stuck to everything like Velcro. We ate and we ate and we…..well, you know how it is.
The fair was a state of mind. We cherished the memories from year to year and waited for the next year to roll around with as much anticipation as that we experienced for Christmas. Mom and Dad never said ‘no’ to our going to the fair. I don’t remember them going often. Yet they always managed a little extra money for us to spend on fair days.
Never does a year go by that I don’t have a bit of regret that I live so far away at fair time. I don’t care so much about the rides. Would still like to eat those goodies that never were good for me. Mostly, I would like to see old friends and neighbors again. I would like to walk through the barns and ooo and ah at the cows, sheep, horses and even the pigs. Maybe I would make it back to the 4-H barn and see what the new age of 4-H’ers are making now.
It’s fair time. Yes, I am a bit homesick. Not only that……I can’t for the life of me remember why I won a blue ribbon. Guess I’ll keep it anyway.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.