4-H Memories

Did you know April is Poetry month?

The activities at our last blogging group were all about this.  We did an exercise with the poem, How I Knew Harold by Deborah Harding.  I never expected to use the activity in a post (I’m not a poet), but it fit with the nostalgic memories that for whatever reason had come flooding in as I drove by our local fairgrounds on my way to the meeting.  As in the poem, my memories are not in any chronological order, but rather simply how they came to mind.

We are a 4-H family.  Both my husband and I were in 4-H as will our boys when they are older.

My horse did not like fair.  I had to go everyday at 6am to exercise him before morning feedings.  Cool, foggy, early mornings still bring back the memories of working with him in those quiet moments before the chaos of the day began.

I met my best middle/high school best friend at sixth grade orientation.  We were practicing opening our lockers.  We both wore 4-H bracelets for the fair that week and it turned out she was also in a horse club.  Without 4-H we may never have started talking.

The evening I handed my fair queen crown onto the new queen we sat together on the golf cart watching the demolition derby with a sweet little boy sitting between us.  He was at the derby with his family, but fascinated by us all dressed up with our crowns.  To him we were real royalty.

I prepared with my instructors horse with plans of showing him at fair, but agreed to end the lease to buy my favorite horse the stable was selling.  My instructor boarded my horse when I bought him and still let me take her horse to fair in exchange for working at her barn for the summer.

As Fair Queen I had the opportunity to run for our State Fair Queen.  I spent a weekend with other amazing young women all deserving of the honor.  I made it into the top 15.

My friends and I worked at our instructor’s barn for the summer.  It was my way to pay for the horse I was leasing from my instructor for fair. We made memories riding our horses and walking them in the pond in between cleaning stalls.

When we moved to our farm the summer before 7th grade our neighbor came down to welcome us to the neighborhood.  She then informed me there was a Jr. Leader meeting this night and a Jr. Fairboard meeting this night and that I was going.  So many memories were created thanks to this woman who would someday become my mother in law.

My friend’s little sister sat on my lap in front of my horse’s stall at fair for almost an hour.  She raised sheep for fair and it was the night the truck came to take the auction animals to slaughter.  She could hear the truck and cried for her sheep.  She would still bring sheep the next year and still cry when the truck came for them.

One of the perks of Fair Queen and King was a ride in the hot air balloons that launched each day during fair.  I am terrified of heights, but it was a once in a lifetime experience.  I’ll probably never want to do that again, but I’ll also never forget it.

I was in charge of our Jr. Fairboard float for a local festival.  After mailing out information about it to the club, I learned we lived in my friend’s grandparents’ old house.  Him and his brother continued to be some of my closest friends through college.  I’m thankful fair provides the chance to still seem them occasionally.

One year for fair our club had the outside horse stalls on the side of the barn.  It was a great place to play.  I remember pulling each other around the yard area on a little cart/wagon.

I was Fair Queen my freshman year of college.  It was the last year I was eligible to run.  While I wanted to win, I never thought I really would.  One of my good friends won King that year.  It was great sharing the experiences of the week with him.

I’ve watched our nieces and nephews show animals, sell them at auction, run for Fair Queen. I love watching them make their own memories with friends.

All of us would be in the warm up arena practicing with all our moms sitting next to the arena.  When we would need something we would go over to the fence and call “mom.”  All the moms would look to see which mom we meant.  Sometimes it didn’t have to be our mom that would come help us, but whichever mom was there.

Watching my boys play in the arena dirt and under the bleachers during the livestock auction.  They are so dirty by the end of the night, but there’s nothing quite like arena dirt.

The Jr. Leaders club runs our fair milkshake booth and I have so many memories of working in there.  I remember one year I had lost my voice during the week.  It made it very difficult to work the booth, but also made my attempts very entertaining.

The first time my parents let me drive myself to a Jr. Leader meeting after getting my license I decided to take a different way home.  After deciding I’d gone the wrong way I turned around.  I had actually only been a mile or two from my street.

I love attending the livestock auction at fair with my husband and boys.  My husband lets our boys bid just like his dad used to let him and his brothers when they were little.

I look forward to the numerous memories that await us as our boys grow up and participate in 4-H making their own memories. I wouldn’t be the same person if it weren’t for all my years in 4-H.
If you’re interested in learning more about 4-H check out their website or contact your local extension office.

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