When The FAIR Comes To Town, You KNOW Fall Has Arrived!

Here in Louisiana it cools off a lot slower than other places.  However, we know that when the Parish Fair comes to town, cooler temperatures are not far off!

Last week the Fair was in town and I cannot say that I have missed going to it many times (if any...) over the course of my life; this year was no different.  Wednesday, as I passed by the fairgrounds, I decided that although it was only Robby and me this year, we were going to make  a trip out there.

For some, it is the rides, other it is the animals...for Robby, the lure of a candy apple is all it takes!  Once there, however, we did have to visit the barnyard.  Now, we ALWAYS brought the kids to the Fair, but one year stands out in my mind more vivid that any other; the year Justin was in 4-H Club.  At the school where my children attended, the 4th grade was set aside as "4-H Project Grade".  Each student was to choose a "project" and it would be part of their science grade.  Oh, we were given a list of projects to choose from, but for SOME UNKNOWN REASON, Robby decided that Justin should raise a PIG!  Yep!...So, as we walked through that barnyard this past week, I immediately went over to where the pigs were and snapped a picture with my cell phone to text to Justin.  Along with the picture, I sent this message:  "Make you miss Mr. Oink?!"  The story about "Mr. Oink" is one that stands out in my mind SO MUCH, that I just had to go back and re-print an article that I previously posted about Justin and Mr. Oink...I hope that you enjoy!


As a child, growing up, I didn't have many animals...well, only 2 dogs, think. One got run over by our car very early on and the other was a gift to me from a family friend. Irving, my little chihuahua. Don't ask about the name, because I have absolutely no idea why a 6 year old child would name their dog Irving. However, Irving lived for a very long time (about 12 years) with our family. I always wanted other animals, but Mother was not too fond of animals, therefore, I considered myself lucky to get to have one dog. Of course, when Robby and I started having kids, I was not opposed to having animals...various types...and at times many. We started out with dogs and then graduated on to other animals over the years. We acquired our first kitten when Ryan was in pre-school. I went with his class to a farm, where he carried this little kitten around with him all day long. At the end of the trip, the lady asked if he would like to have the kitten; I said, "yes'. She mentioned that this was the first field trip she had done where a child actually took an animal home with them, but I could see no problem with it...until we got home and I remembered Muffin. Muffin was our outside dog at the time. A Cur, with a beautiful glass (blue) eye. Being a hunting dog, surprisingly, Muffin was always very gentle. However, Muffin played a little too roughly with the kitten and she ended up spending most of her time on the roof. We even ended up putting her food bowl on the roof. But still, we always loved having our pets around. Our inside dog was a poodle, Ange' and also at one time, we had a guinea pig, hamsters and a hermit crab. But some of my favorites (and more interesting ones) were the ones kept outdoors. At one point, we had a dozen chickens, a totally unridable horse, a rabbit...and my personal favorite, Mr. Oink...our 4H pig. When Justin entered 4th grade, the students were told that 4H was a huge part of their science grade. In other words, it was not "optional", but required that each student choose a project for the year. After browsing through the pamphlet, for some unknown reason, Robby decided that Justin should raise a pig to show in the parish fair. Hmmm...OK. So, everything had to be done according to 4H standards. They built a pen for Mr. Oink (yes, this was his name) and then Robby taught Justin how to feed him and train him with an apple on the end of a stick. As Mr. Oink grew, I think Justin was actually a little afraid of him. He even broke out of his pen one day and we had to call Robby home from work to repair it. He brought the guy who worked for him at the time and they went out to repair the pen, while I sat inside my mother's kitchen waiting. After a while, I saw Robby come walking by, followed by his worker...followed by Mr. Oink! Yep, they didn't really fix that pen very well, or that was one smart pig. Anyway, it was a funny picture; one I wish I had captured on film. Justin continued to take care of Mr. Oink until he became quite fat and was ready for the fair. A special box was made to transport him there and on the day that Justin was to show him, Robby came home with a little surprise. Now mind you, we were not cowboys or anything, but Robby said that there would be some there and Justin needed to "dress the part". He had gone to the western store and bought him a cowboy shirt and hat to wear with his jeans! Now, what kid wouldn't love that? This made a very cute picture, I must say. We were all ready now and headed out for the fair to show Mr. Oink that night. I took the other kids and found us a place on the bleachers, awaiting the grand finale to this year long project. Some of the other children began letting their pigs out of their pens, walking them down the chute and into the main arena. At just about that time, I heard a commotion...Mr. Oink was having none of this showing event. He did NOT want to come out of his pen and walk down the chute! Apparently, Robby forced him out and very unhappy with this scenario, Mr. Oink rebelled. He took off running as fast as he could down the chute, knocking people almost off of their feet. You could hear the screaming before you even saw him enter the main arena...where little Justin was waiting in his cute little cowboy outfit. While the other children were walking their pigs around, tapping them with a rod and showing them to the judges, Mr. Oink hit the scene...and I mean hit it. He began running in circles around the pen (and Justin) with dust flying in his wake and frothing at the mouth. We were aghast! With our eyes bulged and mouths opened, we could not believe what we were seeing. Our fat, old docile, Mr. Oink had a mind of his own and he was having none of this 4H showing event. Eventually, he did calm down a bit, but needless to say did NOT win a ribbon. Mr. Oink is merely one of my favorite "animal adventure stories"...stay tuned for more later.

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