It’s Only Fair…

Skowhegan 4HOne of my summer diversions is taking in some fairs here and there. My digestion usually suffers a bit. (Why is it that agricultural fairs with displays of award-winning produce only serve stuff that’s supposed to be bad for you?) My boots take a beating and often come home with bits of agricultural residue which Harley Dog finds extremely interesting. Occasionally my back gets a little stiff from sitting on bleachers watching ox and horse pulls. But the rest of me enjoys it and finds the celebratory nature of fairs exciting. I’m hoping I’m not done yet for the year, but I do have to share a couple of things that I’d like to celebrate.

First, if you’ve not ever visited the 4H exhibits at the Skowhegan Fair, you’re missing a treat. You’ll be greeted by a couple of young people who are extremely pleasant and have a vocabulary that consists of more than the monosyllabic language most often used by adolescents. You’ll find the various exhibits reflect club pride, teamwork, and very often a high level of creativity. I found one individual example this year that gets “Mr. Boomsma’s unofficial blue ribbon.” A simple paper plate bearing a message to the judges. “My Dad found my sample cupcakes and ate them all. He said they were very good.” I gather the judges couldn’t accept Dad’s testimonial because there was no ribbon attached, but I accept this young lady’s ability to come up with a rather unique fair exhibit.

Another highlight of fair visits for this year took place at the Piscataquis Valley Fair when a brother and sister I happen to know from school spotted and dragged me to the 4H area to show me their projects. (Admittedly I didn’t resist too hard.) The older brother revealed his hobby of metal detecting and asked me to check out some of his finds. He also pointed to several pictures and told me a story.

Using his metal detector he found a high school class ring–dated ten years ago. Using his detective skills he researched and located the ring’s original owner. In one of the pictures she is clearly crying while he is looking up at her. At this stage of the story another fairgoer who’d been eavesdropping on the story asked my friend–almost accusingly, “You mean you didn’t get a cash reward?!”

Fortunately, I didn’t have time to seriously consider punching the guy. Without pause, my young friend responded eagerly, “Oh no, mister–seeing that woman’s smile was my reward!”

The only thing I can add to this story is two words. “There’s hope.” (If I had a blue ribbon I’d offer it to him, but he’d probably refuse it and say again, “Seeing that woman’s smile is my reward.”

Yeah. There’s hope.

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