Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sometimes You Just Know

Most parents, if asked, would be able to pull a 'feel good moment' or 'someone was surprisingly kind experience' out of their memory banks when it applies to their children; whether they are special needs children or typical children.
I had one of those memories this past week, while looking through boxes of photographs for inclusion in the book I wrote about Kalisha, Not Different Enough.
I would like to tell you about my memory and I have to tell you, it brings tears to my eyes, even now, twenty years later.
Kalisha and her siblings were always involved with 4-H and showing animals. The other 4 children showed beef, hogs, dogs, sheep and of course, goats. By the time Kalisha was showing goats, her siblings had all graduated from 4-H. Family members could help with grooming, feeding, milking, and preparation for showing, but when it came time to enter the show ring with her animal, it was her job and hers alone. The rules forbade anyone in the ring who was not a 4-H member.
I have to explain a little about the procedures of showing goats so you will 'see' this tale I am attempting to tell.
Each breed of goat is shown separately and within that breed, there are classes of different ages. For example; Kalisha showed a breed called Saanens. First she took her youngest doe (female) in to compete against the other exhibitor's young does. The judge did his evaluations and then lined the animals up with the first place doe at the front of the line. Kalisha's doe won first place in that age group. The next class were a little older does. Same routine, but in this class, Kalisha's doe did not place first. Then the next oldest class and finally, the dry yearlings entered the ring. Kalisha's animal won first place in that class.
Now comes the problem. All of the first place winners have to re-enter the ring for the judge to choose the Grand Champion Saanen dry doe. Kalisha obviously could not take 2 goats in the ring at the same time. Another 4-H member could take one of them for her. Since there is a lot of 'showing' to do when you are attempting to convince the judge your animal is the best, you want to ask a good showman to help you. Kalisha was going to ask a young man named Chad. He was a very popular teenager, lived a few miles from us and knew Kalisha well. Before she could ask, he volunteered. He was more than happy to show one of her does.
As they walked these animals around the ring, the judge had to decide which one of the 4 was worthy of the Grand Champion title and trophy.  He finally chose the yearling, which was the one Chad was showing for Kalisha. He put her at the front of the line and was ready to announce his decision.
Usually what happens when someone other than the owner of the winning animal is showing, they accept the trophy and then hand it to the actual owner. Chad asked the judge to wait for a minute, then he walked the animal he was holding back to Kalisha and took her animal while having her take the winner back to the front of the line. That way the trophy would be handed directly to Kalisha and the people on the bleachers would know Kalisha's goat was the Grand Champion.

It may seem like a small thing to you (if you have even been able to follow my description of a show) but I was moved beyond words. I thanked Chad after the show and thanked his parents for raising such a 'good kid.' Actually, he was a young man, not a kid and that day proved it.

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