The Power of 4-H

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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 Dog and Suds Drive-In

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Today we live with fast food and drive-thru windows.

I recently took my nephew Doug, to a restaurant located not far from the Fort Wayne exit. The Dog and Suds Drive-In serves traditional all American food, such as hamburger, french fries, tenderloins, shakes, etc.

Our food was delivered by our car hop, Judy, who mentioned that the restaurant typically sells three perhaps four tons of hamburgers in one year alone. The Suds customers can guzzle as much as 1,700 gallons of root beer per year, all served in a frosty mug.

Once again, places you can go offering icy mugs of root beer, double-decker hamburgers and coleslaw served in clear plastic cups delivered to your car. The Dog and Suds eatery makes everyone over the age of 30 feel 16 again.

The neon bedecked sign advertising the drive-in has presided over cities for more than a decade. Within driving distance we have a new yet old restaurant whose owners spend long hours in the day slaving over the grills in 90 degree heat. The menu boasts more selections than many other drive-thru establishments.

The only difference I could see from years past is customers do not signal their need for service by turning on their headlights. Also the car hops do not wear roller skates, but after an evening of running trays to dozens of cars, I bet they wish they had.

In summer, vintage cars and four wheel drive trucks will line up beside motorcycles, sports cars, and vans. Each vehicle has patrons with a craving for food brought on a door hanging tray.

My only problem was when the car hop told my nephew, “Here is your mug,” he took it literally. “Sorry. . get that glass mug out of your backpack.   You cannot take it home.”

 

 

 

 

School Daze ! !

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School has started.  There are some parents out there who are still doing a little dance.  Not my sister.  Her son started first grade Monday and neither mother nor aunt is handling it very well.

I am sure that in time he will recover from the embarrassment and shock  caused by his mother holding on to the back bumper of the school bus screaming, “Don’t take my baby!”

On his first day, I took off from the newspaper long enough to see him off to school.    When I arrived he was in line at the bus stop.   Along with his mother, I had hopes of taking him to school.  Neither of us got to take him, which didn’t bother him at all but nearly killed us.

Since neither of us actually got to take him, we hurried down to the school just to watch.  We wanted to see him.  We parked across from the school, watched him get off the bus, and go into the building.

Both his mother and I were able to walk into his first grade room.  I was not prepared for what I saw.  In kindergarten last year, he sat at a big table with the other students.  He looks so tiny now behind the big desk of his own.

I saw my sisters knees get weak and the room must have gotten fuzzy when she saw him sit down at his own desk.  He looked so much older and more mature than the little guy she laid out clothes for that morning.

He immediately started talking to old friends he hadn’t seen all summer.  My sister stood there a little dazed.  Her son did not even know she was in the room.  Odds are she wanted to go over and hug him.  I myself wanted to go comb his hair once again. 

But instead, she walked over to him and whispered something like “Mommy has to go.”  His response must have come as a blow, “Yeah, sure.  Bye.”

She pulled herself together and  walked in front of me out the door.   I gave her a hug in the hallway.  I thought she could use a little encouragement.

I stopped by their house on my way home from work.  I wanted to be there when he got off the bus in the afternoon.  We stayed on the porch when he got off the bus. I will admit that I had my camera. I didn’t care if it embarrassed him or not.  When he is married with children of his own, he might appreciate the picture.  I jumped off the porch and snapped a quick photo.

He spotted me, ran up the walk and gave me a hug.  Life is good in Indiana.   

 

“Come As You Are!”

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My niece was planning her birthday party and wanted it just a tad different from others she had attended.  I mentioned she should have a “Come As You Are” party.  The confused look on her face said it all  —  it showed my age.

 “Come As You Are”   parties were fun.   It would happen in the morning  or     afternoon when you least  expected it.      A quick telephone call and   the  person asked you to the party  –  right then —   just as you were.                  It was  too late  to change clothes. 

We would listen to records, dance, and eat munchies – somehow we always ended up calling boys on the telephone.

One afternoon I was wearing a white shirt that had long since been discarded by my older sister, white levis that were deeply cuffed, complete with tomato stains on the left knee.  But any embarrassment at the party left when my friend Dianna showed up with her hair wrapped in a towel and wearing a pair of her brothers’ basketball shorts.

It was always fun to see what Jill would be wearing.  She was always fussy about looking her best at school.  She always looked perfect.   Some how she never came to a single party with odd-looking clothes.   One party she did arrive with her hair in hair rollers.  I wish I had taken a picture.                 

              I was still reminiscing about the parties I had attended when  I looked   at my niece.    She asked with a  rocking  mocking  supercilious  air,           “Why would I want a “Come As You Are’ party?”

I still wish I had taken a few photographs.