Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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[friday]

July 30, 2013

I was a 10-year 4-H member

Kokomo — County fairs may be known for fried food, people watching – hello, people of the county fair and goodbye, people of Wal-Mart – and rides that move from side to side. But, for me, county fairs take a different type of feeling. Walking into a county fair is a feeling of nostalgia; a favorite season of memories.

The first time I heard about 4-H someone came to talk at my school. She brought a goat with her, so as an animal-lover, my attention was hooked – unlike it was with math. I still remember that little pygmy goat that started it all.

Immediately after, I went home to my mom and said, “I want to do 4-H.”

And so it started, my very first project was as a “4-H mini.” I sewed a cat face from a pattern with buttons I could pick – HOT PINK SEQUINS BUTTONS?! Yes, please!  I did a craft collection of Trolls and a really fancy portrait of Mickey Mouse made of… beans. That’s right; kidney beans, black beans, white beans, every bean you could think of was positioned to illustrate that Mouseketeer. It should’ve been entitled: “Oh, Mickey you’re so fine fiber.” I’m sure I settled on something a 7-year-old would settle on: I love Mickey. Dull, I know. But, it was a picture of beans. What do you expect?

But, it was the early days of silly projects that started a learning experience I still appreciate. I learned to weld, I learned to do woodworking projects, I learned how to fail tremendously at the consumer clothing project every single year – “Participation ribbon goes to Lindsay Eckert.” I was cursed by the consumer clothing gods, I tell you. Ironically, this always appeared to be the simplest project. At first glance: Shop, find an outfit for a great buy, model it for judges and woo hoo! A blue ribbon. My consumer clothing tale never played out that way.

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