Heart, Head, Hands and....what's the 4th H?

One year. That was it. While 4H horse & pony ran through our family veins, I participated one year with rabbits (4th place) and chickens (1st place). And that was enough. But the county 4H fair became the thing of childhood legends as each summer we trekked to the fairgrounds hauling horses to and from and setting up camp in the horse barn. And whether it actually occurred or not, I cannot say, but it did seem like it always stormed on the night we were there late into the evening. It was at the 4H fair in 1980 that mom was summoned to the fair office to take a call that grandpa Hochstetler was in the hospital. He died the next day. I always think of this while at the fair.

Growing out of the 4H experience, I still returned, even in high school, with friends to see old friends. And it is of course, a tradition today to take our children to the 4H fair to give them some form of farm experience and an appreciation of our agrarian roots. And it looks like we’ll have a couple of junior 4H’ers this summer.

I think I blame the 4H leaf collection exhibits for another obsession that developed in childhood. I developed a pretty keen sense of the natural environment around me, and an appreciation for it and that lead to a leaf collection I started when I was about 10 years old. Soon it busted the seams of a scrapbook as my collection grew to include leaves from trees that I collected on vacations south and west. I had close to a hundred specimens and even a box full of nuts, seeds, and fruits from the trees I collected leaves from. The bizarre thing, yes-as if this isn’t strange enough, is that my mom kept these tucked away in our attic and recently pushed them my way. It’s true though that I impress my friends with my rather useless knowledge of trees and can identify them by about any means in any season. My favorite trees are beech and sycamore and I’ve long since felt that the sycamore should replace the poplar as Indiana’s state tree.


Anonymous said…
You find the most unusual and interesting topics to write about. I enjoyed reading about your Great-Grandparents and Grandparents. You were lucky to know all of them. I only knew one Grandma, and I'm so glad that I knew her.
hoosier reborn said…
Thanks...imagined if I threw in the controversial topics too. ha!
Anonymous said…
Health is the 4th 'H', according to TP.
Throw in controversial topics sometime. I'd love to read the comments. :)

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