This will be my family's first official year not being involved in the county fair. No more white 4-H uniforms to “spray and wash,” and “spray and wash,” again. No more green crumpled hat balls found in the pockets after being permanently dried into that position.
No more goats to hoax into the back of our minivan filled with bedding and alfalfa, just moments after bathing them on the front lawn as their loud, “Maaaa’s” are heard throughout the neighborhood. No more drivers laughing at us as we pass by with goats staring at them out the windows. No more holding our noses all the way to the fairgrounds because of a gassy goat.
No more second trips to pick up rabbits and guinea pigs timidly waiting on the driveway by the barn. No more scolding boys for forgetting their show leads or water buckets or a dozen other things left behind in the past. Nope, no more fair for us.
It really was quite a bother; lots of work. Every year I vowed I would never do it again as I packed lunches into ice chests and loaded up the folding chairs. Getting home late every night and up early every morning wore on us, until around day three when the melt down would occur and someone would start crying. OK, it was me. My boys never cried, just me. By the last day I was exhausted!
Tomorrow the fair will start on time as usual. It will go on without us and probably not even notice that we aren’t there. You would think with all the work and crying I’ll be missing that I would be glad to be done with it. You would think. But what you don’t know is that today, as I moved our last very old bunny out of the barn, I was flooded with memories of little boys holding their show rabbits. They were so cute dressed in their white uniforms; big smiles across their faces. And I remembered them in the ring with their cleaned up goats, proudly accepting their ribbons from the judge and turning to see if I was watching.
I will not miss the work or the goats in the van, but what I will miss is the time spent with four little boys who are now too old for such things as showing rabbits, washing goats, and wearing white uniforms. I am thankful for the time God gave me with them at the fair and those wonderful memories, as I find myself once again in tears at fair time.