Catching up and sharing from the files of my ramblings. This particular set is from September 3, 2015
I’ve mentioned before how amazing our community is about rallying around its youth. This is never so apparent as it is during the Avon Fat Steer Show. Young exhibitors work all summer long to ready their animals for show – washing; rinsing; leading; guiding; studying their feed and growth rate, making adjustments when necessary; raising their stock for eventual show and sale.
It is so refreshing to see our community take an interest in the young people who work so hard. Watching these kids in the show ring is nothing short of amazing. Truth be told, any one of those animals could very easily walk right out of the ring, kid in tow, leaving behind anyone who tried to stop them along the way. But for the most part, they do not. The endless hours spent in preparation are evident in the way that animal and owner work together. On the occasion that an animal acts up, or gets away from an exhibitor, they are never on their own. Everyone around the ring stands on the ready to assist.
Outside the show ring, friends and neighbors gather to catch up, not on markets and weather, but on life. This is where I see the epitome of community. Countless smiles and rumbles of laughter greeted me each and every time I visited the fairgrounds with our kids. Most often, I was flanked by both of our youngest, now aged 6 and 7.
Thanks to this amazing community, these kids don’t know a stranger at the fair. Even when all the sights and sounds and long hours at the fair have taken their toll on Ben, and there is simply too much stimulation for him to handle, not once did I get a disapproving glance. Those moments we took solace in our quiet spot, a chair with our cattle – those were the moments we retreated, the moments Ben needed to curl up and regroup in the safety of mom’s arms and lap.
While my son wrapped himself in a ball tighter than seems humanly possible and buried his face into arm as I gently squeezed the anxiety away, friends and neighbors greeted me with sympathetic eyes and a knowing smile – not an “I know what you’re going through” but an “I can see this is a time Ben needs you so I won’t speak, but just know that I’m here” kind of smile. I can’t explain the words which aren’t spoken other than to tell you these are the moments that refuel me. These are the times I am reminded that while Ben is our son, he is very much your boy and we are so completely in this together. And I cannot thank you enough.