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— It is once again time for my kind offer to take my close relative out for the afternoon and evening. I try at least once a year to help her out by allowing a couple of meals away from her kitchen because that is the kind and gentlemanly person I am. And it is time to attend the county fair.

I told my close relative a couple of days in advance that I wanted to be in attendance for the steer show and we would go early in the day for the festivities. She should be ready by 11 a.m. to load and travel. I got up early, did not spend time watching any of the news and barely had a second cup of coffee so I could get the chores done.

The county fair is akin to the Olympics for our area. Just about everyone wants to attend and a large percentage of us go early and more than once. So many of the farmers between here and there are parents or grandparents of the junior livestock contestants or the kids with entries in the 4-H buildings that most folks know all or some of the youngsters. It is a family affair and, more than that, it is a county affair. We all encourage participation, some with financial aid, some with advice and some with time and effort.

Well, you'd think we were going to Yellowstone for a month considering all the stuff I was entailed to load into the truck. We had a small satchel, in case either one of us needed a change of clothes, two blankets, a basket containing water canisters, sandwiches, slices of pie, hard candy and a thermos of hot coffee. Her jacket and mine, a pair of rubber boots for both of us in case of mud and umbrellas aplenty, per chance thatsomeone we probably don't even know needs one, were also loaded.

Made ready for the journey, we started out of the driveway and were stopped by one of the male offspring, the younger one. He is one that is so severely serious about doing everything perfectly and on time. He is hers, mine is the older and he usually just hopes it all works out! Anyhow, things were out of sorts! Cattle were out, fences were down and I was the only one home to help. Well, dang it, if I hadn't had to load for the month of vacation, I'd been gone too!

We backed down the lane, my close relative muttering about what she could fix for lunch to go with our sandwiches and I knew then, the trip was off. I would be worn to a frazzle, it would be late, the steer show would be over and I would have missed it again.

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, the pleasure I got from watching the yearlings on the green grass after we got them all back in was a pretty good payment for the work and compensation for the missed trip. The real deal was the opportunity to do something with my offspring. He is important in my life, as they all are, but how often do we stop and appreciate the time we get to spend with them? You know, this won't last forever. Such a God-given blessing.

I plan on going in the morning and she, the close relative, had better be ready! I know it will be a great day for visiting and looking!

Opinion, Pages 4 on 09/23/2009

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