Head, Heart, Hands, & Health

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

If you were a 4H kid, I bet with a little prompting you can still recite the pledge:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking; my heart to greater loyalty;

my hands to larger service; and my health to better living -

for my club, my community, my country, & my world.

As may now be obvious, Scott grew up with 4H in his blood. His dad & uncles were all in 4H and, of course, they wouldn't be true Joe Jackson boys if they didn't show their prized Duroc hogs. If you haven't already, read our February 14th blog regarding the history of the Jackson Durocs. Thusly, Scott wouldn't be a true Jackson boy if he didn't show hogs as well. Scott's nine year 4H career was all about showing the family pigs as well as cattle & being a Junior Leader.

I, too, have a bit of 4H blood as well. My Uncle Keith took chickens & had gardening projects while Uncle Jay showed hogs. Sadly though, none of us can remember stories of my dad being in 4H. Maybe grandma & grandpa were over it by the time dad was ready to enroll. Being the small town girl that I was, I only spent 2 years showing rabbits and being in queen contests. I was late realizing that city kids could participate in 4H.

As both our families presented in the same county fair, I wonder if the Joe Jackson & Paul Rush clans knew each other. Did they dream that someday their grandson & granddaughter might meet, marry, & have a child of their own attending the same County Fair? How many lunches were packed & trips made by our Grandmas for their 4H boys during fair week?

As a young'n living in the same county & attending the same school, I secretly sought out that cute Scott Jackson boy in the hog barn during fair week. He may not have known it then, but I had been doing that since the 7th grade & it was the highlight of my summers. Yes, even while dating other kids in high school. Insert guilty, embarrassed, & shhhh emojis here (haha). We then spent the next 31 years avoiding the fair as a married couple.

When Kaycee was born, there was no question that she would someday be in 4H. Scott spent her first 7 years dreaming of what her 4H career would look like. While we didn't yet have hogs ourselves, Kaycee began to busy herself copying & following her cousin Danielle who showed goats. Finally, when Kaycee was 8, she was able to enroll in 4H. It was her first (& last) year of showing goats. As a fair mom living on the southern most end of the county driving 30 minutes north to the fairgrounds twice a day for a week to feed & water the goats was not my cup of tea. Gone are the days of staying overnight in the barns with your animals during fair week.

A couple years ago, Scott took Kaycee to watch her first 4H hog show. She thought it looked "sooooo easy" compared to the cantankerous goats. Scott's eyes just lit up... ohhh yea! I told Scott he better buy pigs quick before she changed her mind. Fast forward to Kaycee the Tweenager. Lo & behold! now that we have hogs, she refuses to show pigs because they "are gross". Shocker! Fortunately for Kaycee, Covid hit & there wasn't an in person fair to show our pigs last year. Our gilt hasn't had piglets yet so we don't have pigs to force upon her this year. There's always next year.

Scott has also become co-leader alongside my cousin Tommy Hook & Kory Wilson in our 4H club. The 3 of them were members in our same club the "Jackson Friendly Farmers" forever ago. When preparing the livestock barns at the fairgrounds last week, Tommy said "it's just a building right, wrong. ...[fair} week will be full of pens and hogs, but there's so much more. It holds countless memories, lifelong friends, hugs & high fives. Tears of joy & sadness. This building has watched so many 4-Hers grow & bloom. It's just a building, but it means so much more..." Now in her 4th year, Kaycee has shown 2 goats & community center projects of electric (4 yrs), veterinary science (3 yrs), wildlife (3 yrs), & photography (1 yr). In all, she has received blue ribbons on every entry with 3 being picked as reserve champions and 2 State Fair entries.

Due to Covid, on June 19, 2020, our Cass County 4H families woke to the sad news that we would not have an in-person fair/judging. All projects were to be photographed & animals video'd to be judged virtually. It was tough for the kids to understand that the months of hard work preparing their show animals for the fair was relegated to video. The kids who had spent their 10 years in 4H & graduating weren't able to parade their livestock in the show ring & walk their last walks in the livestock barns. Local schools & businesses couldn't set up in the merchant buildings to display & sell their wares. The carnival vendors lost out as well. While most were not happy with the decision to have a virtual fair, it was a good lesson for the kids. Having lived through a Covid virtual fair, they have now experienced a different kind of disappointment & loss that they can carry well into adulthood. Generations of farmers & ranchers have had their fair share of heartache losing time & money on crops & animals only to be washed away in a flood, swept up in a tornado, or frozen & lost in a blizzard. Our kids just learned the heartache much younger than hoped. There was a bright light at the end of a sad 2020 fair season. Lynn & her team of loyal staff members, interns, & volunteers from the extension office put together a beautiful Youtube presentation of all the kids' entries to share with their families, friends, the community, & the world.

'Til next time folks!

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