I spent a couple of hours at the Larned community building with Mom yesterday, wearing red "volunteer" ribbons, to make sure no one walked off with the champion onions or the best jar of wheat or one of those hand-stitched quilts that got a yellow ribbon for participating.
Let's just say I wasn't worried.
Among those who came to browse the projects on display was Mrs. Haun. She remembers being a young 4-Her...back when Herbert Hoover was president.
"I showed a hog at the fair," she offered sweetly. "I sold it to pay for my wedding dress."
She was 17. It was 1929.
Her children would form the backbone of the Gem Dandys 4-H Club, in the northcentral part of the county. The Gem Dandys club is one of perhaps four left in the county. "We came up with the name," she said of her family.
Fitting, since Mrs. Haun is a gem, and it was dandy to talk to her.
Then there was the anonymous guy who was wearing a ball cap boasting of Iron City, Mich. It's cold there in the winter, he said. So cold that you could go sledding and if your sinuses were running it would freeze as you slid down the hill.
"By the time you got to the bottom, you'd look like a walrus," he offered.
Um, thanks for that visual image, sir.
Good luck with that, Stephen.
Stephen Schartz, who was one year behind my twin brother and me in school over at Pawnee Heights, came through the building with his wife, Kaye. He stopped to say "hi" and tease me about my red "volunteer" ribbon. And then he opined to Mom and me that this was the best time to buy chicks, so you wouldn't need a heat lamp to keep 'em warm in the first few weeks of their life. Oh, and it would be comfortable temperatures in the fall...when it comes time to kill 'em, clean 'em and put 'em in the freezer. He's even figured out a way to strip the feathers quickly and hands-free.
Then there was the Josefiak girl who is getting ready for her wedding. She just graduated from vet school at K-State and will be marrying another vet, a schoolmate who has already moved to northcentral Nebraska to help expand an existing vet practice.
And finally, there was a former classmate of my oldest brother, Don, who was the essence of patience as his wife studied quilts and crochet and cookies. He asked my Mom if I was one of her grandsons.