The Power of 4-H

The power of 4-H. For those who fall in the category of thinking 4-H is just about agriculture and raising animals, you do not know the whole story. In Indiana, only about thirty percent of the total enrollment comes from farms, the rest from urban areas.
4-H is a chance for youth to handle responsibility, learn new things and work hard to achieve goals. The primary benefits of 4-H are leadership, citizenship and the opportunity for youth to learn things of interest at their own ability level.
Last year’s most popular projects were: Crafts, Foods, Photography, and Clothing. There are over fifty projects ranging from Aerospace to Creative Writing. All projects include hands-on activities and the manuals are being continuously updated.
My nephew opted to take The Horseless Horse Project. This allows him to learn all aspects of the animal, without the tremendous cost that comes with owning and caring for a horse. He attended the Horse Club meetings, did posters and filled out his workbooks. It was an especially great project for him as he couldn’t at this time own a horse. He wants to be a horse racing jockey.
A few years ago—more years than I would like to admit—I was in 4-H and have a few blue ribbons in the closet to prove it. I remember the Action Demonstration Project. It allowed members to compete in a certain category without having to be judged against other entries. I stood and gave my demonstration on the steps required to make a pie, but never actually put the finished pie product in competition. I was judged for the demonstration and not for the pie. Maybe that was a good thing. I doubt if I would have won any ribbons on my pie.
The 4-H program provides a learning environment for the youth of the community. They can test their skills with various projects and animals. Like this year’s motto proclaims, you must experience “The Power of 4-H” for yourself to truly understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…………. The “M” word …………

 

These past winter months, I noticed unusual bits and pieces in my daily life. My knees and sometimes my elbows ache. Some mornings my shoulder blade feels like it is on fire.
I told my husband one morning and he said simply, “Oh, it’s probably arthritis.”
“What?” I said. “My much older sister suffers from arthritis…not me.”
“So what’s your point?” He said with a smile.
I have noticed since last winter that my body has shifted. I have discovered a couple more changes. My hips are getting wider and higher.
I’m being obsessed with my hands. I examine my arms for liver spots. I’m afraid my hands will suddenly look like my great aunt Mona’s. Her hands looked like chopped corn flakes attached to flabby arms.
In the office yesterday, I noticed my toes were doing this strange curl up and spasm. I had to stop, remove my shoe and massage my toes and ankle.
I had a case of spring fever so I went shopping. Standing in front of the dressing room mirror I discovered a couple more changes. I think I’m looking more and more like a peanut covered M & M.
I left, stopping by the local fast food restaurant. Perhaps the afternoon out would do the trick to lift my spirits.
Then it happened suddenly, with no warning whatever! I was minding my own business in the food lane, waiting at the counter for my fries when it happened. The “M” word.
“Here’s your change, Ma’am!” chirped some freckle-face kid who didn’t look old enough to count change, let alone have a job.

 

 

 

 

Do-Si-Do and Do-Si-Don’t

 


For more years than she cares to admit, my neighbor Jan, has slipped into a lacy blouse, ruffled skirt, and frilly petticoat to Do-si-do her partner, then promenade.
She rarely misses square dances. Dancing is a big part of her life. She loads up the car and travels throughout the USA with her square dance partner . . . her hubby.
Square dancing is a type of American folk dancing performed by groups of four or more couples. The couples may dance in a square formation or in a circle. They follow the directions of a caller, who calls out different movements and patterns.
Popular calls include the ‘weave the ring’ or ‘swing your partner’ and ‘for a star’. Main stream square dancing includes more than 100 different calls. All this is done to music provided by fiddles, banjos or guitars.
If you are intimidated by the outfits square dancers wear, you can relax. Some people come in their street clothes, but part of the fun for Jan is dressing up. Women often wear ruffled underwear under wide petticoats and full skirts. The men put on western shirts, sometimes with scarves or bolo ties. Yes, she has multiple pairs of cowboy boots.
A night out dancing usually doesn’t cost anymore than five dollars a person to get into the dance. Square dancers come in all ages from 9 to 90.
“You don’t have to be a dancer to square dance,” she tells me as she tried to convince me to join. Me? I can occasionally confuse my left hand with my right foot
“It’s just good clean fun,” Jan says. “If you can listen and walk fast you can square dance.”
Listen and walk fast? This leaves the blonde lady with dark roots unable to promenade let alone Do-Si-Do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jump Start to Bridge

My Aunt Mayrose is proud to say she is a “Life Master”.   Yes a Life Mater of the card game Bridge. Aunt Mayrose has been playing the age-old card game since she learned it while my Uncle Earl was in World War II. Wanting to learn the game I recently tagged along to one of her bridge games.

She belongs to more than one club. Members range in age 19 to 99. While youngsters learn the game each year, bridge is dominated mostly by older adults.

True, Aunt Mayrose spent the better part of one afternoon introducing me to the game. Perhaps some people are just not meant to play bridge.

Before we begin she explains, “In order to make the most of your hands, you will probably have to play them through more than once. “ I raise my arms in the air, “Sorry, I only brought one set of hands.” She was not amused.

A standard deck of cards is used: Ace (high) through 2 (low). There are four players, each pair forming a partnership. Partners sit opposite each other. A game is won by scoring 100 points, earned by taking tricks during the hand. Sounded simple so far.

Aunt Mayrose leaned over and said, “The auction begins once players have had a chance to study their cards.” I was more than a tad confused. Were we playing cards or having an auction?

Terms like – clear suit, long suit, follow suit, major suit, minor suit, plain suit, side suit, short suit, and void suit – were used all afternoon. I wondered why they were so worried about suits when most of these ladies were wearing sun dresses.

My Aunt Mayrose spoke right up and said, “First lead the King of Spades from the Dummy and follow suit.” What a remark. Obvious to me: I was the dummy of the group not the lady to my left.

“Take the early tricks in the short hand and the later tricks in the long hand,” Aunt Mayrose says. Who’s the dummy now? I look down at both of my hands: they are the same.

I should have known that the afternoon was a wash out from the start. First they call each other by positions. South, West, North and East. I am quite certain that I was sitting northwest all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order: Chaos

My  sister-in-law is a wonderful person. She is exquisite but her house is a mess. I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to the rumor that they won’t even sell her a subscription to Good Housekeeping Magazine.

True, clutter makes the home looked lived in. It is not necessary to be so clean that you can eat off the floor. But it would be nice to eat off your plate and see the table. I can’t recall ever once seeing the top of her kitchen table.

I don’t even want to talk about the family room. We always have to clear a space on the couch just to sit down. I’d be afraid to ask her to use the telephone. Her husband said the phone has been missing for weeks. Her son swears if he ever needed change, all he had to do was look under the couch cushions.

I once heard her blame the dust on a faulty flue. Yes, there is a fireplace in the living room. But really a faulty flue ? You have a Portable Walnut Fireplace Heater with a “fake” fireplace.

She always has a sink full of dishes. My husband suspects it is a good way to cover up a dirty sink. By the way, I’m not saying it’s time to defrost the refrigerator — but you can see frost on the outside.

Instead of washing the light fixtures, her husband swears she just uses stronger bulbs. In the fifteen years of marriage they have gone from 25 watts to a three hundred watt.

She has a Rubbermaid tote in the garage for Goodwill. I think it gives the impression that something might actually be going to a worthy cause. She once mentioned she was doing a magazine article and can’t change anything until she takes the “before” picture. And when will she be finishing this article?

She laughs that they live in a home not a house. She will start picking up items after her boys grow up and leave home. She might be better off leaving home with them.

Next month — maybe I’ll talk about my aunt. I’m not saying she is a lousy cook. But it is rumored that in her house they have Alka Seltzer on tap.