Thursday, July 10, 2014

Musings on 4H and Four-Leaf Clovers

The other day I found a four-leaf clover.  It's been awhile, and at one point when I was about nine-years old I found five of them in one year.  I don't know if I felt particularly lucky that year, but it was something I liked to brag about at the time.

There's an old song my dad used to sing:  "I'm looking over the four-leaf clover that I overlooked before..."  (Don't know the rest of it.)  And then in 4H camp we sang a spoof to that song of which I remember every word:

I'm looking over my dead dog Rover that I overran with the mower.
One leg is missing, the other is gone,
The third leg is scattered all over the lawn.
There's no need explaining the one remaining, it's hanging on the kitchen door. (2, 3, 4)
I'm looking over my dead dog Rover that I overran with the mower.  (More?)  I'm looking over...

(You get the idea.)  Rover was not a very lucky dog.

And then there's 4H which I joined in 7th or 8th grade.  The four H's stand for Head, Heart, Hands, Health.  (For some reason, I always want to add Home to that.)  Here's the 4H pledge:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
My health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country and my world.  


4H club was fun.  Since I didn't grow up on a farm, I wasn't raising chickens, a piglet, a cow, or a prized squash.  As a city kid, my projects were in Creative Arts and Photography.  One of my photo projects was a storyboard with pictures about the Sears Tower.  It won a red ribbon (2nd place) at the county fair.  I also had another storyboard with sunset pictures of that great bluffs region along the  Mississippi River near Trempealeau, Wisconsin.  and the captions were taken from "Taps."
Day is Done
Gone the Sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.   
"Taps" won a blue ribbon in the Ramsey County Fair and then got a purple best-of-show ribbon which meant it went to the State Fair. 

I'm not sure what happened to those photography storyboards.  I think I dismantled the Sears Tower and they're in a shoebox somewhere.  As far as I know, the Taps project was still permanently glued to my bedroom wall when my parents' house was sold.  A interesting task for the new owners to undertake.

As I looked around the house today, I actually found two of my Creative Arts projects.  (A little dusty, but still in good condition after all these years.)  This Creative Arts categories never went to the State Fair, but I always got blue ribbons at the county level.   

One year I made a parfait candle based on the DQ treat and an idea from a Jell-O commercial about tilting the dessert in your fridge to get that nice angle.  I used up all my brown and white crayons to color the paraffin wax.  The red cherry on top has been gone a long time.

Another year I made a root beer candle.  (It was always a treat going to dinner at the A&W, eating in the car and getting the glass to take home.)  I made a whole tray of wax ice cubes, and got more brown and white crayons.

It was funny - my sister is very creative, but when I put together the first part, the brown section of the candle, filling the glass halfway, sticking in the ice cubes, she didn't get it.  After waiting a few days to let the brown solidify, I mixed up the foam, whipping the white wax in the melting pot and adding a bit of brown.

As soon as I poured the foam on top of the brown part, my sister got all excited and offered some suggestions:  
"Put some more ice cubes in!"

"Hey, stick a straw in it!"  

Over time, it looks like the unlucky straw had the same fate as one of Rover's legs.    

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