The Broken Heart of a First Year 4-H er

He was a little guy, just topping the 60 lb scale.  He had huge dreams, dreams even bigger than he was!  Dreams of making big bucks at the 4-H auction with his Reserve Grand Champion Turkey.  Dreams of having the buyer say, “You can keep your turkey, Congratulations!”   He had already met his goal with his Honors Ribbon Duck, those buyers weren’t interested in eating any duck. 

So with a positive note in his heart, he walked out into the auction ring with his great big pink Rosette ribbon in hand.  I followed him, carrying that prize winning turkey that was too much for his little frame to handle.  Grabbing the turkey from behind, and using my gloved hands, I picked the hen up by the wings and carried her into the auction ring.  With a shy and sheepish (turkish?) grin he watched and waited as the auction took off.  I smiled with pride and reminded him to smile too.  The hen got heavy and I sat her on the ground, crouching to make sure she stayed, while the auction continued.  I decided to pick her up again, hoping his dream would be fulfilled.  In a few brief moments, the auction was over.  The dazed look of “what do I do now” and “where do I go” of a first year 4-Her came across his face.  I pointed him in the right direction. 

His turkey was bought by multiple buyers, one being one of the auctioneers.  The auctioneer met him at the exit to the auction ring, got down on the little kid with big dreams level and asked, “Do you want to keep your turkey?”  The first year 4-Her didn’t know what to say!  He stood motionless in the vast noise of the auction house and utter shock of the words he had just heard.  The auctioneer wants the turkey!!!  With a lack of response, the auctioneer looked to me for answers.  The right thing to do, even though I hated to do it and cringed at the words knowing it was not what the kid wanted me to say, “It’s the buyers choice whether to keep the turkey or not.”  The auctioneer replied, “I would like to keep the turkey for my parents if none of the other buyers want her.”

Ouch!  The sting filled the little boy’s heart as he maturely completed the next task of getting buyers signatures and thanking them with candy bars.  No signs of emotion crossed his face as he did what a man would do- the job at hand. 

As soon as his work was completeted and he had a moment to absorb what just happened, hot tears filled his eyes.  His shoulders folded and fell so low they seemed to almost touch each other as his heart sank.  His legs seemed to barely be able to carry his tiny frame.  The grief was way too much for him to bare.  His body drug himself away from the auction house and he disappeared into the great depression of having to let go.   Back to the camper he drug himself to console his heart with a bowl of Easy Mac. . . . . . .

There is no happy ending to this story yet, although it may not be near as awful as the first year 4-Her has anticipated. 

While he was at the camper, I spoke with the auctioneer about when he wanted to pick up his turkey.  He told me that he wanted her for his parents farm.  He said they have a little bit of every kind of animal, except a turkey.  He attempted to call them but got no response.  I told him we would keep her for a week or so before processing her (for those who don’t understand that word or are too broken up with the story- processing means to take the live bird to processing plant and have her made into meat for the freezer). 

The first year 4-Her is happy to have his “Princess” back in his turkey flock but very guarded when anyone speaks to him about her.  Her fate is yet to be determined but it appears she may have a better fate if she goes with the auctioneer and that bothers the first year 4-Her even more. . . . .

On a side note- for those of you who are wondering how the rest of the kids did at 4-H, here’s the rundown.

2nd year 4-Her:

  1. ATV club- Blue ribbon and remembered to be safe over speed in every manuever. (mama is so proud!)
  2. Lawn Mower driving contest- Blue ribbon and remembered the phrase, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.
  3. Arts and Crafts- Blue ribbon and a comment from the judge that she liked his originality (used Legos but did not follow any kit to make his aircraft)
  4. Air Rifle- Blue Ribbon with increased accuracy over last year
  5. Rabbit- Blue Ribbon and his rabbits matched the Standard of Perfection despite being bred in anamish farm and not a rabbit breader farm.

First Year 4-Her

  1. Arts and Crafts- Blue ribbon with lessons from the judge in how to fix mistakes and make them look like part of the presentation (excellent)
  2. Photography- Red ribbon with comment from the judge to use more variety.
  3. Archery (he target practiced with everyone but did not participate in the shoot off, so he did a poster)  Blue ribbon with comments that it was obvious he learned much but he needed to be neater.  To which he asked his mom, “why do you have to be neat?” LOL
  4. Duck- Blue Ribbon with Honors
  5. Turkey- Reserve Grand Champion- with comment from the judge that the hen needed one more week of growth and then she would be Grand Prize Material.  Funny thing is, she was exactly one week younger than she should have been!!  Amazing!

Future 4-Her (they get rainbow colored participation ribbons for everything and mostly praise from the judges no matter what)

  1. Models- Display of the solor system
  2. Gardening- He raised a tear drop plant for about six months and displayed her with her babies.
  3. Farm Animals- Poster titled “Where does your stuff come from?” with pictures of various farm animals with lists of what we get from them.  Including things like “roosters are natural alarm clocks”.  LOL
  4. Rabbit- He and one other boy showed regular 4-Her’s rabbits.  They practiced carrying the rabbit to the show table and talked to the judge.  Well, he was too shy to talk to the judge. . . .but the 2 boys did get their picture on the front page of the newspaper for their efforts!!!
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