So, how I be filling my time? Working very few days with a school district trying to use inquiry science kits, yoga classes, odds and end type jobs around the house, cooking dinners and doing some of the grocery shopping, running the Outreach Committee at church and some other volunteer ops that includes collecting food and clothing. Last to be added is being on the board of the local 4H club! Had my first meeting last night and the room was jammed! Here are my reactions:
There is a crank element among the group, not unlike my boy scout experience but nicer since so many females are involved. They are well meaning and kind but tend to talk too much about moving $50 from one budget line to another.
And I bet you never read through a budget with a line item for "manure removal". I had to bite my tongue so as not to burst out laughing but everyone else nodded in approval that $400 seemed like a reasonable amount to rid the fair of the accumulated manure. Who was I to disagree?
There are many groups that reported: poultry group (chickens and ducks and geese), small furies (mostly rabbits and guinea pigs), bovine (speaks for itself and oh, the Farm show tonight will be showing the video from the bovine group. Watch when you get home from the meeting...), equine (another group that speaks for itself), goats (not for milk or meat, just the pygmy type), and they're hoping to get a kit-kat klub going again if they can get an adult leader. I asked about that club and was told it was about raising cats and I apologized, not knowing the technical terms. Got pained smiles and a giggle.
So it had all the stereotypes of what one might imagine, or what I imagined, at the meeting. Those with worn flannel shirts and gnarled and beat up hands (my Woolrich flannel had recently returned from the dry cleaner...) with worn, scuffed John Deere type baseball caps; odd whiffs of some animal odors; broasting about awards won at this year's farm show (chickens!) in the different age groups and grand champions and even one award for best scrap booking.
There were many 4H member teen-agers who wanted to see how this committee meeting worked (really? Volunteering to attend a committee meeting, very impressive There were at least 10 of them. Jeez...) and they looked as I imagined: mostly girls with too tight PINK sweat pants and those layered tops with a hoodie covering their girth. They spoke about how they felt left out at the farm show since there wasn't an adequate and safe place to display their bunnies. Too near the large horses who tend to be loud at night and stress the bunnies (damn those belligerent equine types!). Bunnies need their quality sleep! Plus they would need to leave their bunnies there for a few days and that just wasn't a good idea. Lesson learned!
There was also talk of summer camp opportunities such as a leadership camp where the kids get to stay at Penn State's campus, sleep in the dorms and eat campus food. Ooh and ahh at will with that idea. No talk of staying off campus at a football coach's house... And then, the announcements of where three 4H graduates will attend college. Delaware Valley for animal husbandry, Penn State for pre vet, Penn State for farming and business with a minor in, get ready, poultry. You can minor in poultry at PSU. His sister muttered under her breath, "yeah, he's the next Frank Purdue..." I came to love 4H humor in under 2 hours.
Oh, and 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the 4H in Montgomery County and there will be competition with the girl scouts turning 100 as well. And, get ready again, Weis markets is also turning 100 so the hope is the area wouldn't be too distracted by the other groups' celebrations. Girl Scouts I get. But Weis Markets? Really? Who am I to disagree? Listen and learn is my 4H motto.
All in all, a good night spent. My favorite was as we were ending the meeting, a woman on my right
( a newly voted in member like me) turned and asked what did I do? When hearing I was a retired teacher, she then asked, so why are you part of this? I shrugged and mentioned something about liking scrap booking. I was trying to be humorous but alas, it fell on deaf ears. I must be an "acquired taste".
I will fit in well with this group. Maybe. Probably not, but I'll try.
So I sent the email to my wife and daughters and sister and here are the replies (anonymous):
Anonymous 1. That is funny, I giggled through the entire email. Bunnies girls and scrapbooking. I love that you said you liked scrapbooking. Lying can be funny.
Anonymous 2. Scrapbooking - you are hiding behind scrapbooking?
This type of meeting would have scared me off!
What are you going to do with them?
Maybe take care of the accumulated manure???
Anonymous 3. Oh this is brilliant! I've read this 3 times now, just to read about the Bunny girls. I knew that Bunnies were soft and cute, but SO sensitive? I had no idea.
You should keep your account of the meetings as a blog or journal. Good, fun reading!
All kidding aside, I love what the 4H does and stands for. I wish that I had been involved in it when I was younger, much preferred over girls scouts (although I never did that either...).
Good for you for volunteering and starting off with a committee meeting!
And here is my reply to them:
X thinks I should keep a blog of my experiences. I am poking fun but the 4Hers seem good and honest and to hear a discussion about $50 is really interesting. I forgot to add that one of the adult leaders referred to something that didn't work out as: "...it got debach-eld" I thought, what an interesting phrase and kept running it through my head and tried to spell it out on paper. De-bach-L-ed? debacheld? Debach-eld? That is what kept me from sighing aloud during the $50 line item change discussion.
And honestly, I have no idea why I'm there. Not a farmer, new to the "chicken industry" with my 3 scraggly birds, I gave away our only guinea pig and flushed our tropical fish down the toilet. Only experience I have with rabbits is Ester Bunny and she is stuffed! Horses scare me, goats are stupid (Pygmy or not); but I do enjoy eating beef and pork products...
I have no cred, I haven't earned my chops, I just hope and pray I'm not exposed for what I am: a fraud! A 4H wanna-be. Just don't want it to be a de-bach-eld period in my life. And I lied about scrap-booking. I am such a loser!
Tebow for me....
Peace (for the bunnies and all the other small furies),
Husband, father, brother