“You should enter some of your peppers in the fair.”
The county fair.
When I was in fifth grade I performed a baton routine at the Grady County Fair in Chickasha,Oklahoma. That same night I won a ten-speed bike that I really wasn’t able to ride comfortably for about five more years. It didn’t matter that my mom bought all of the tickets that she was supposed to sell. I had won. It was a fabulous night.
The memory of that fabulous night was all it took to peak my interest and begin a perpetual thinking cycle this past week. Here’s what happened…
Our local extension agent and his wife were attending a party at my house, and we were touring my garden. He innocently suggested that I participate in the local county fair. My mind started spinning like a Ferris wheel.
I think I told everyone at the party that I “had been asked” to enter my peppers in the fair. I even commented to my principal that I would probably not be able to attend the local required in-service meetings because I was going to have to get my vegetables ready to be judged. Of course, she knew I was kidding about that.
Or was I?
I became obsessed with the fair. I started my quest for information on the Internet but got my best advice from a friend who lived nearby. He mentioned that there were several other award-winning ribbon opportunities that I could explore. I quickly ran to the local gas station to buy the four-page paper that held my ticket to the grandstand. I then ventured out to collect my prized produce.
I knew from the paper that I needed six peppers. The extension agent told me that the six peppers should be similar in size. That’s all I had to go on. I really needed a rubric. I needed to know exactly what was expected of my peppers to earn them a blue ribbon.
I walked the rows of peppers like I was in a hall of mirrors. I would stop at a beautiful red one, inspect it, and move on to a fat green one. Could they be different colors? I don’t know. I didn’t have a rubric. Six peppers. Similar size. That’s all the information I had. I finally reasoned that they needed to be exactly alike.
Finally, entry day arrived. I completed the necessary paperwork and handed over all of my hard work to people I didn’t even know. My final stop was the vegetable area. As I stopped to give my peppers to the member of the fair board something caught my eye. I glanced at the shelves of entries. Right in the middle of the okra and corn submissions was a stack of peppers….. five green with a single red one placed intentionally on top of the stack.
I hope those are the only two entries.
I’m thinking second place won’t be that bad.