home (h m)
1. A place where one lives; a residence.
2. The physical structure within which one lives, such as a house or apartment.
3. A dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it; a household.
a. An environment offering security and happiness.
b. A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin.
5. The place, such as a country or town, where one was born or has lived for a long period.
6. The native habitat, as of a plant or animal.
7. The place where something is discovered, founded, developed, or promoted; a source.
8. A headquarters; a home base.
a. Baseball Home plate.
b. Games Home base.
10. An institution where people are cared for: a home for the elderly.
11. Computer Science
a. The starting position of the cursor on a text-based computer display, usually in the upper left corner of the screen.
b. A starting position within a computer application, such as the beginning of a line, file, or screen or the top of a chart or list.
For the purposes of this post I mean # 4.
This weekend I went home, I spent 3 days at the Middlesex County 4-H Fair. My home…
Why is this place in Westford where people use outhouse type buildings (I don’t) and the food is cooked mass production and there aren’t any choices (and sausages play a big part in the food here), and the rain can make or break a soul my home you wonder? Easy, it was here that I met Jim (and subsequently where we got engaged), gained confidence (this had to do with horses not with Jim), learned that 1st doesn’t mean best and last doesn’t mean worst, that compassion is more than a word, and at the end of the day it is true what they say “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose it is how you play the game”.
For me there is something almost religious about walking onto the fairgrounds PRE-8 AM and seeing well over 100 people and their horses milling around. Closing my eyes and breathing deep I smell horse sweat, leather, manure, nerves, hay, coffee, dust, and lighter more gently the smell of cows and pigs and chickens in the background. I smell so much more than all of that, I smell peace, I smell love, I smell the bits of me that are long gone, for 3 days every good thing is there with me. There truly is no place like home.
Every year there are a few standout points for me – sometimes they are highs and sometimes they are lows.
This year’s moments:
10 dozen eggs for egg and spoon… 120 eggs to fall on the ground, is this a waste? Yes! Is it fun to watch and fun to be a part of? OMG YES! And really how cute were the little ones (under 9) hoping their little eggs would just stay on the spoon so that they could figure out how to “steer” this big horse?
Those who know me well know that I am pretty much not a mush – I am not a teary person I am a “It is what it is” type of person. BUT every single year the Cloverbud classes make me well up and every year I insist on announcing this class and every year I say the same thing “Could we all please rise and give a standing ovation to these children, they truly are the future – not only of 4-H but of the world” That is a moment every year that will make this list!
Listening to Stefanie sing the Star Spangled Banner, she is young, she is talented, she is kind and every bit of that comes through in her voice – she was truly breath-taking.
Abby coming and working the ring with me, it was great to have a few minutes of Abbers time while enjoying the horse show and really I loved introducing my quiet and gentle black belt niece to the other judges and having them look right past her blue hair and duct-taped sneakers and right into her eyes and soul. Joe informed me that with even a few kids like her the world wasn’t as bad off as we suspect. He, much like I, expects great things from this girl. When he asked her “If there was a magic button and you could get one wish no matter what it is what would you ask for?” she thought about it, she thought about it all day and then at the end of her day there she told him that she wouldn’t use the button, she had thought about asking for Granmaw back but thought it wasn’t fair to Granmaw since she was with her family and she should get to be with them. And she thought about asking for peace but thought better of it because if we don’t work for it will we appreciate it? He asked her about money and she said “Money is only money I can earn it and working for it makes what you get with it all the sweeter so no she doesn’t want that either” He was impressed by my little niece – I always am.
Spending a couple hours after the show with Carolyn the judge for ring two was really nice too. We got to talk about things other than rules and regulations and kids doing this or that.
Sadly, I also saw one of the scariest accidents on horse-back that I have ever seen and I am happy to report that both the horse (a young valuable quarter horse) and the rider a young man (and more valuable than any horse – all human lives are) were both okay. They both walked out of the ring much to my shock. Both were sent to be checked out by their respective doctors but it looked good to me.
Chicken BBQ – nuff said and it had to go right here!
And then before I knew it it’s Sunday afternoon and it is all over, there is such mixed emotions with that. It’s like YAY we survived and we did more than that – we fostered camaraderie, kindness and “sticktuitiveness” within the hearts of the kids. And at the same time it is SHIT another year before we get to do it again.
As I left Sunday afternoon, I stopped closed my eyes and took a deep breath – it’s a long wait before I will go home again.
My head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service, and
My health to better living,
For my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
If ever you get the chance on the last consecutive Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in August to go to Westford for a while it’s a cheap day and well there is no place like home – enjoy it!