Last weekend, the Washington County Fair kicked off.
The fair looked different this year. Only junior exhibitors could participate. No horticulture or baked good entries were allowed due to the restrictions put in place to protect volunteers from the spread of COVID-19. Entries would be judged and picked up but there would be no public exhibition at the fairgrounds. No funnel cakes. No Ferris wheel rides. No quilt show.
Our sons are in their first year of 4-H club membership. They have been raising chickens they had planned to enter at the county fair. Due to the number of limited exhibitors allowed at the show, it was decided to cut all colored poultry breeds from the show. Guess whose kids did not get to show their Plymouth Rock pullets? You got it, ours. They were disappointed. Thankfully, they have some other hens that have been laying eggs. They have enjoyed driving up and down our road delivering dozens of brown farm eggs to our neighbors. Silver lining and a minor profit.
School started this week as well. This year we have four children at four different schools in Fayetteville, Ark. We are excited school is open. Our children are thrilled to be back learning in a classroom with professional educators. I do not know how long it will last. I do not know if we’ll endure another shut down. There are a lot of measures being put in place to protect students and teachers. There are many things that do not make sense now, but I firmly believe in being flexible and striving to move forward as best we can.
The first day of school looked different this year. We started with an early breakfast and the token back-to-school photographs before loading everyone up to drop them off. I went through a long check list of important things they had to remember – lunch boxes, water bottles, hand sanitizer, chrome books and finally, a mask. Everyone made it through their day knowing these new procedures at their schools were not going to last forever. Just a temporary inconvenience.
We attended our first home freshman high school football game already this first week. The athletes, coaches and parents are happy to be playing and participating. It was strange to watch our daughter cheer and dance in a mask. It is what it is. And it is not forever – I hope.
Our family has missed so many activities and events in the last six months. We were sad to not participate in our county fair this year. Our prayer is that next year’s fair will be even better now that we can appreciate how much we are missing out on. I hope these chickens grow into healthy adult hens for next year’s show. As life moves forward in this not-so-normal fall, I hope to get to enjoy some of the things about the season that will remain unchanged. The leaves will still change, the weather will cool off and for now, we are enjoying hometown football, neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’