Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: All’s FAIR in Love and War

“You should enter some of your peppers in the fair.”

Julie with her bike at the Chickasha county 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.

spoons in pickle mixture

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.



3 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: All’s FAIR in Love and War”

  1. Julie,
    I loved it!! We “reddirt” girls have to get in the dirt and are always looking for new adventures!! I am bookmarking this spot so I can check on your adventures more often.


  2. I didn’t know this story, Julie. Your feelings are captured eloquently in this piece, , ,thanks for making me proudER to be an Okie!

  3. Your blog held my attention and made me want to read it. You conveyed your thoughts beautifully and made me curious as to the end of the story.
    Way to go girl.

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