Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Person's Opinion

As a high school and college vocalist, I got nervous before contest performances. A smidgen of nerves is probably a good thing. But these were the nerves that made my stomach ache, my voice tremble and my breath support crumble. All those hours at voice lessons and in practice rooms were in peril because of my struggle with nerves.

My parents told me over and over again: "The judge is just one person's opinion on one day."

And I never forgot it, though it didn't seem to ease this first-born, Type A perfectionist's trepidation about being judged.

The sunrise photo at the top of this post was the Stafford County Fair's Reserve Grand Champion this year. It was probably not my favorite of all the entries I made for the 2014 fair. So if there were people who looked at the photo and wondered what in the world the judge was thinking, I would tell them: "Judging is just one person's opinion on one day."

Of course, it's nice to be recognized and have a lovely lavender ribbon decorating your photo as the crowds walk by. (Let's get real: There really aren't crowds at the Stafford County Fair, but you know what I mean.)

Before the fair, I sit in front of my computer and look through the thousands of photos I take each year. I hem and I haw, and I wonder why I'm doing it if it makes me uptight and anxious.

But, if nobody entered anything at the fair, there would be no reason for anybody to go to the fair. And if nobody went to the fair, there wouldn't be a chance to visit with people from across the county whom you see only once in a coon's age. There wouldn't be a reason to get a $1 hamburger at the 4-H food stand on Farm Bureau night or steal a bite of your husband's coconut creme pie, fresh from the Wheatland Cafe.

And it wouldn't give me a chance to smile again at a picture of my favorite toddler. (As I labeled this one:  It's never too soon to begin the brainwashing!)
It's an opportunity to again realize the beauty in my very own backyard.
It's a chance to again be thankful for the wheat that got cut before another harvest storm rolled through.

So, yes, I entered a bunch of photos. (The ones I shared here all got blue ribbons, but I also got a handful of red and white ribbons. Only two of my enlargements didn't place this year.) The premium money doesn't cover the cost of the enlargements, the mounting board and the special plastic sleeves required for display. 
This was entered in the computer manipulated class.
But that's not the point.

People have been experiencing fairs since the days of the Roman empire (At least that's what Wikipedia - the authority of all things - told me). I suppose there's a little rush in being chosen "best" at something, satisfying that little kernel of competitiveness in the human spirit.

But I truly think it's about helping to make sure fairs last another 2,000 years. (Maybe women in Jerusalem met in the city square while gathering water and decided who had the best flat bread. Yes, I know I have a vivid imagination.)

Fairs bring volunteers together to work on something that's bigger than what any one person could accomplish on their own. It's about being part of a community.

I'll give that a purple ribbon any day ...
... or a camouflage ribbon like the 4-H premium auction buyers got this year!


  1. Oh Kim you hit the nail on the head as my Grandma used to say. If no one entered the fair it would be terrible it is a great asset to everyone who comes to see what is going on in others worlds and experience the talents and ideas of others. Your photos are awesome. Funny you get blue ribbons for first we get red ribbons:) funny.
    Great job but you are right it is not about the money or the ribbon it is about supporting our fairs and teaching our children to support and believe in themselves. Good post. Hug B

  2. Thanks, Buttons! Yes, in the U.S., the purple ribbons are the best, then blue, red and white. Isn't it funny that the order is switched in Canada? I'm always learning something new from you! I hope the weather is cooperating better and you're able to get some things crossed off your list. Take care!

  3. Well done! I love your photos. We all need to support and exhibit in our local shows and fairs or there will be nothing to go and see. BTW blue ribbons in Australia for 1st as well, red 2nd, green 3rd.

    1. Thanks so much. And I love this international lesson in ribbon placings. Thanks for chiming in, too!

  4. Kim,
    Congrats on the Reserve picture! A little feather in your hat and that never hurt the humble.

    I like your thoughts on entering at the County Fair. Ahem ... maybe I need to put forth the effort to print and mount a few pictures too.

    1. Yes, you should! Has yours happened yet? If not, I'll expect a report. :-) Again, enjoy your blog break!