Soccer Mom Venting

We’re a soccer family. As in travel soccer. Meaning Oreo cookies, juice boxes, and five minute commutes to games is a thing of the past. No participation medals here. Those ribbons that hang on the wall get earned in this house.

My thirteen year old son started playing soccer when he was five. We did the whole recreational play thing, getting up on Saturday mornings and standing on the sidelines, cheering. Snack sign ups existed back then. (Recreational soccer is feel good.) But then at the ripe old age of seven, a coach suggested Key do a developmental program. Being our first born, we took this as a sign that Key was talented; possibly on a path to scholarships; definitely worth the investment to find out. Since darling actually did want more soccer and the mental benefits to him of running that much were easily visible, we did it. Then the next year, at the prompting of his developmental trainer, we attended the club level evaluations. The coaches promised it wasn’t a big step, given we already participated in the development program. And so our whole club experience began.

At first, we were shell shocked. The jump from Oreo soccer to club soccer is a big one. Yes, it’s just three practices and two games weekly. But those practices are run by professionals, lasting around 90 minutes each, often at locations farther from home. And the two games? Those can be considered local at up to two hours from home, often with start times at 8am and 3pm. Warming up beforehand? Of course! Please be on the fields in matching gear a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour prior to start time. Immediately, the idea of an early cup of joe before a fun little match is over. Whole families are up and dragging toddler siblings around Timbuktu at 5am on a Saturday (and/or Sunday) in order to get to darling’s club game in time. Sound insane? It is.

When we first entered this new realm, it was actually worth it. In many important ways, six years later, it is still worth all this chaos. But along the way, it seems like either I am getting tired, I am gaining perspective on youth sports, the clubs are demanding more each year, or maybe it is all of the above.

The worth in all this is the phenomenal mentors and life lessons and enduring friendships both boys have received. These men (and women on the girls’ side) that coach at the club level, some fathers and some aspiring professional players, offer our boys dedication, energy, character building, training, kindness, and role models. They provide us a positive community of people to coach our boys in much, much more than soccer skills. The coaches my boys have had these past seven years are unsurpassed in their dedication. Plus the training is almost always top notch across the board. I gotta say, in this regard of recreation versus club, you get what you pay  for.  (Not to mention the geography and cultural life learning that comes from looking up the many coaches’ home countries. Seriously. We can check off several US states, plus Canada, Thailand, Uganda, Cote de Ivoire, England, Ireland, Brazil, and Argentina.) The people. The relationships. The superior training in a sport both boys love. The extended friendships for both boys and for us as parents. This is where the worth lies.

The rub comes from the commitment factor. After driving to hundreds of practices and games and giving up family events and vacations with the grands, it gets hard to keep going. Yet when the question of common sense and whether this is all needed in order to build those worthy relationships is raised, the first thing doubted is the commitment. Commitment of the child to the game. Commitment of the parent to their little player’s potential greatness. It has begun to raise in my heart the questions back – When did a nine year old committing all his free time to the game become desirable? Healthy? Reasonable? And when did a nine year old with multiple interests and a need for free play time become undesirable? Less lauded? Requiring excuse or further explanation? And then to take this whole thought process further, let’s trade out the nine year old for the thirteen year old. Why is it unacceptable to only want to play one season per year? Why is year round, meaning both spring and fall, not good enough? Why are players discouraged from taking the winter off? What is the benefit of obsession in sports? When all of our research repeats the dangers of overuse injuries and burn out and anxiety disorders from performance stress, what drives us to ignore common sense? Is it glory? Is it the scholarship? And is that really the reason 98% of them are going to college? For the game?  Can we not develop reasonably trained players, friendships and a sense of commitment to team, without absolute obsession? When my two boys were scheduled for practices thirty minutes apart at overlapping times on the same days and I responded with a concern about our ability to be in two places at the same time, the response from our club? Challenges as described would need to be overcome by more commitment from the parents. When we couldn’t get to an extra conditioning practice or an out of season tournament? Players on this team would need to condition and train during their own free time to be able to continue playing at such a level. Neither of my boys are or strive to be on a premier level team, so is this reasonable? Maybe. But maybe not.

The $4000+ each year it takes to fund two boys in club soccer, the countless hours, the endless driving, the sacrifice of family both in time and in care, the extra volunteer hours – this all is no longer enough. Adding up last year’s fall and spring hours, my then twelve year old (and therefore us as parents as well) spent 320 hours on soccer. I haven’t calculated the then eight year old’s year, but his time commitment was even more hours than his older brother. This means we easily used 700 hours doing soccer last year for a then 3rd grader and 7th grader. And we did less than most families on their teams. Every year, we are asked for more time, more commitment to extended training, more serious focus from our children, and more money from our wallets. All in the name of proving our commitment.

Have we as parents collectively lost our minds? This isn’t enough?

It isn’t enough.

Because it is too much.

And yet, my boys are in the minority (as in the only ones on their teams most likely), because we drew the line this year. No more off season soccer. No winter indoor league. No expensive summer training program. A half day camp for fun because they beg come July? (Miraculously, they still love the darn game.) Mmm, Maybe. But, even that will take some serious thinking. Caving under the pressure that sweet baby will fall behind in skill? Nope. Take it elsewhere. This Chick is claiming back her holidays and her Friday night TV and her Saturday mornings with her cup of joe and her dates with her husband.

Soccer is worthwhile. Sports in general do mimic adult life challenges. The coaches of past and present deserve our utmost gratitude. There is great value in that yearly $4000 investment. (Before y’all balk at that $$, music lessons and all those parents with girls in dance are spending more than me. And to the hockey crazed parents up north, my sports bill is peanuts.)

But rest and care and family and free play and quiet time (AND CHURCH) are also:



deserving of gratitude

deserving of time

deserving of commitment

And this soccer mom – venting –  needed to get that off her chest.




The Church with Bluegrass

When we moved to York, we searched for a church on the internet. Certain needs dictated the types of churches we’d consider attending, with one main issue being the time of service. We found Allison Creek.

Now, Allison Creek sits up high on this hill that’s been there for centuries. Roads have formed and neighbors have popped up in homes and communities around the hill, and for the past 165 years, Allison Creek Church has watched and welcomed from a top its perch. It’s a pretty church and a common marker for those describing the area. You know, the big white clapboard church on that hill that y’all can see from…..

We had obviously seen Allison Creek from the road driving by, so when the search parameters matched the church, we tried it. What we found was a wonderful church home.

After we’d attended for a few weeks, someone invited us to the bluegrass concert that Allison Creek hosts twice monthly. It’s open to the whole community, it’s free, and there are hamburgers and hotdogs and baked goods for sale. Well, we went. And then we went again. And then the boys couldn’t wait to go back again, and again. My youngest asked for a banjo. My oldest asked for a dobro. Then a guitar. Then a violin. The bluegrass there is always quality and the community welcomes my whole family into their folds. Never in a million years would I think that by finding a church on the internet, we’d gain the support of a whole community of people AND bluegrass musicians. (Of course, church is largely about community, but I was mainly aiming for a 10am service and some coffee afterwards.)

It’s been three years of bluegrass concerts and two years of banjo lessons and one year now of violin lessons and I am blown away at God’s creativity. My boys soak up the music and the attention from the old guys and the opportunities to jam with some of the best musicians around. And these people gladly and patiently offer attention and tips to the next generation of bluegrass players. And all the time, God knew we would land here.

I think back to years ago, when my banjo player was at most two years old. My sister plays banjo and she pulled him up on her lap and sat him there with just the two of them and her instrument and I still remember how he stopped fidgeting. He gently reached down and plucked those strings, mesmerized. She grabbed her phone and snapped a picture of his chubby little fingers. It was one of those small quiet moments that ends up staying with you. A pause in a day that can cause pause years later.

I think to the year I’ve spent teaching my older son violin and how much joy it’s brought us both. It’s a unique kind of happy to play music with your child. He’s a natural, catching on quickly and teaching himself new notes before we even practice them.

Yep, God knew we’d go where the music played. God knew because He put the bluegrass here and he planted the music in my boys. And I am so very, very grateful.

The Zoning Board

I took the kids to another public meeting last night.  This time we went to hear the zoning board.  Lucky for all involved, first we went to the library, so the boys had something to do.

Just to give a little bit of back-story, I was recently asked to join the board for Friends of Historic Brattonsville after volunteering for two years and getting to know several of the long time board members.  Now, Brattonsville is owned by the county as part of their museum system, but Hightower Hall, which sits on a part of the Historic Brattonsville site, is owned by the Friends of Historic Brattonsville.  Since I joined the board, that makes me a Friend, and a representative for the group that owns Hightower Hall.  Hightower Hall is a huge plantation style 150+ year old home on beautiful grounds, and is used for weddings, events, and yearly Civil War reenactments.  The entire operation for all of the combined property brings in quite a bit of revenue and, in 2014 alone, hosted over 26,000 visitors.

Well, right down the road is a landfill/ mining business of sorts.

The current dig and dump site is about five acres and has caused significant trouble for the neighbors.  Back in the day (you know – the 18th/ 19th century and such) Brattonsville Road started out as a trade route, then became a main thoroughfare, and is now a paved country road that was never made to handle dump trucks carrying gravel or logging trucks carrying full loads of timber.  But with the mining operation, that is exactly the kind of traffic travelling up and down the road, which runs right through the middle of the historic site.  The trucks have caused huge pavement issues, and the digging has caused soil degradation and water runoff onto the Friends property already.  This is all not to even mention those 26,000 visitors that cross the road twice on their tour of the grounds.  Needless to say, there is significant foot traffic on a regular basis.  Did I also mention that every publicly schooled third grader in York County is part of the pedestrian visitors crossing that road that the gravel trucks travel?

I am thinking plain sense tells people that these are not ideal neighbors.

Friends of Historic Brattonsville isn’t feeling neighborly love, that’s for sure.

And yet, Mr. Dig and Dump wants to expand his operation.  Double it?  Nope.  Quadruple it?  Nada.  He wants to expand it to around thirty acres.  Six times its current size.  And.  He wants to dig down seventy feet.  And.  He wants to only provide the minimum easements required by the county.

This gets us back to the zoning board.

Apparently only immediate neighbors have to be told about zoning issues and said neighbors are given a week’s notice.  The neighbors including Friends of Historic Brattonsville.  Plus, it is spring break, we just finished a major event, and guess who is the only board member available for Thursday night?  The homeschooling mom.  The one member that has been to one whole board meeting.  The one that has never in her life been to a zoning meeting.  The one that embarrassed herself in a TV interview nine years ago and has not been on camera since.  Me.  (I feel like this would be a good time to mention Jesus using the weak and such.  Just saying.  But I did volunteer to go, so I could also mention the whole have faith and be available part as well.)

So…here we are, sitting in the meeting, and there is of course a TV camera to follow up on the newspaper article covering the dispute, and I am quickly trying to figure out what to say when it is my time to speak, and all I can think of is what I tell my kids when we go to the grocery store.

If your fun infringes on others’ shopping pleasure, you aren’t having fun.  You’re being obnoxious and rude.

The meeting starts, business happens, and then the first item of new business comes up.  It is another company that wants to expand their mine on their land, which is in the middle of nowhere on well paved roads with their only known neighbor being an actual member of the zoning board.  They want to dig twenty feet deeper than they currently have permission to dig.  They want to provide double the minimum easement around their entire three hundred acre farm, and only thirty acres will actually be the mine.  The rest is to remain farmland.  They want to keep the mine as a dig only site.  They want it written in that they will not be a landfill.  No dumping.  Their mining is going to be used in part for state and county road projects.  (Our roads are terrible, so improving them would be appreciative.)

Item one gets approved.

We’re item two.

Representative for Mr. Dig and Dump stands up.

And he asks for his request to be deferred indefinitely.  Item one was beautiful.  And in it’s beauty, his ugly stood out.  Not to mention the entire section of dissenters and landowners and museum employees ready to speak on behalf of Hightower Hall might have been a signal that he didn’t have community support.

In the end, we all stood up and left.  Never did understand what item three was about because the boys and I went for pizza.  We didn’t win last night, but we didn’t lose.  The boys are getting a wonderful education in current local politics, and I am experiencing small town government at work.  It really is quite fascinating when you know some of the players involved.  And the next time, I will feel much more prepared.  (But I may still say what I wanted to say – If your business interferes with our business, you aren’t conducting business.  It’s called being a bully, and even two boys in a grocery store know to be better than that.)

Why the Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative?

There are some revelations I have had in homeschooling my children.  Concepts, that as a public school parent following public school philosophies, I was unaware existed.  And today is the day I would like to share them with the world.  (They directly relate to the title.)

  1. I am more than capable of teaching my own children.  Because I am the expert on my child, and I am a capable and resourceful adult, I do not need to be the expert on specific subjects.
  2. Other families are not homeschooling for the same reason I am.
  3.  Homeschoolers are what I affectionately call “Fringe People” because they are on the fringes of society for WAY more reasons than homeschooling. (Relates back to #2)
  4. There are subjects I love facilitating.  Writing and math and art and history are some that come to mind.  And I hated history in high school.  
  5. There are subjects I’d rather pay someone else to teach.  For me this includes science and banjo.  I have no clue how to teach banjo.  
  6. The evolution and creation debate is a real thing.  
  7. I am in the minority as a homeschooler living here in the deep south by taking the Bible symbolically.
  8. Right before I started homeschooling someone asked me if I was on the “hippie” or “Christian” side of homeschooling. I didn’t understand the question.  Now I do.
  9. I have rediscovered who I am by giving up my daily ME time and instead keeping my kids with ME.  This is not to say that I don’t still need ME time….
  10. The relationships within our family unit have grown stronger, and I know my kids in a way I never knew I was even missing.
  11. 4-H is for all types of kids.  Not just the farm kids.
  12. Technology is creative.
  13. Screen time is important.
  14. My kids are motivated.  To learn.  Without my interference.  Saturday afternoons while I nap provide weekly proof.

Which brings me to: Why the Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative?

Our family has embraced homeschooling and looks forward to continuing.  Yet as my children get older, there are certain subjects I do not feel confident in teaching to a degree that would truly challenge my boys’ potential.  Knowing that AP Chemistry wouldn’t be my strong suit from the onset of this adventure, I have been researching options that homeschoolers use to teach higher level courses.

What I have found is lots of co-ops.  Co-ops are groups that meet weekly or more to study and socialize.  Most written work is still done at home, but students can work in groups and/ or receive the benefits of having various parents that ARE experts in some particular subject.

Unfortunately, the co-ops I have found do not fully align with my personal beliefs or are too far from where we live or are specifically secular or only meet one child’s needs.  Now, we have friends that participate in these co-ops and are thriving.  The ones I have considered are well run and offer some intriguing options.  These could be viable choices.


In my heart there is not a creation debate.  My God’s creativity never ceases to amaze me, and it also does not cause conflict with evolutionary theory for me.  So when we talk about high school science courses, this becomes a conflict with some of my best co-op choices.

We really don’t want to drive an hour and a half.  My favorite co-op would require travelling to our state capital weekly.  This is just too much.  I also cannot handle two different co-ops in order to cover both children.  I need one, cohesive environment.

We are not secular people.  Religion and spirituality and faith and an idea of a being larger than ourselves fascinates more than just Christians.  Some of my most enriching experiences in life come from stepping out of my familiar and into another person’s reality.  Eating dinner with our Hindu friends and my father’s description of an African wedding ceremony and a Seder meal led by a Rabbi and the funeral spoken completely in Spanish for a sweet friend (complete with a Mariachi band) are cherished memories.  I want more than “secular” for my children.  If they mention faith or discuss spirituality in co-op, I consider that a rich blessing.

Because of these challenges, one day I started discussing with friends what I would love to see for my children in my “dream co-op”.  This included collaborative learning techniques and collaboration in the planning of courses among teachers and students, friendships, SCIENCE! classes, flexible structure, academic rigor, help in incorporating technology, stability, and accountability.  That day was the start of Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative.

Learn Bravely encompasses what I want for my children.  (See my list of revelations.)

It’s mission statement is as follows:

Learn Bravely seeks to encourage interests and develop friendships through a collaborative and structured learning environment for our children. We offer interactive classes using inquiry-based, student-focused techniques. Our online component allows students to continue exploring and collaborating between class sessions. We ultimately want our children to have the courage to pursue learning passionately and to think critically along the way.

By starting Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative, we embrace a new path for educating our children. Hopefully we can also help bridge gaps others may have also experienced through homeschooling their children.   For me personally, the title Learn Bravely embraces what it feels like to start such a venture, and we are very excited to see Learn Bravely grow through both the students and the families it serves.

Lent and Shopping

I gave up Walmart.  Not that hard, seemingly.  Four days in, and I realized why I like Walmart.  It takes some of the work out of making decisions and it means less in and out of a car when running errands.

My first challenge came on the second day of Lent when I needed to buy underwear and socks.  I ended up at a local favorite, The Big Deal.  This is the equivalent of a small Big Lots.  If Big Lots was local.  And low and behold, there they carry underwear.  Sadly, the socks were for me and they didn’t have what I need, so as of yet, I haven’t bought socks.  Those would be at Walmart.  Where I am not going.

Next challenge came on four days in.  We ended up driving over to the next town to do our shopping.  Both boys needed “dress” shoes.  Let’s use this word loosely, since what I mean by “dress” is “not caked in mud” and “not athletic wear”.  Kelly and I headed east about twenty miles and started at the local shoe store, Lebo’s.  We found Kelly some fantastic cowboy boots with leather toes and camo shafts.  Perfect for my little banjo player.  They also had a selection of Tom’s and a small selection of boy’s shoes, including some great Merrill’s for little people.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have what my older, preppy child wanted.  They had the Sperry’s, just not in his size.  Next was grocery shopping at Publix, where I had to make way too many decisions and read too many labels to make sure I bought the reasonably healthy choices.  Exhausting.  But, we don’t have a fancy grocery store like Publix in my town, and therefore we enjoyed the pleasant ambiance.  So finally, we ended up at Shoe Carnival.  Quickly found the shoes my older boy could be seen in around town.  At which point, I was asked if I didn’t want to go ahead and buy one more pair since it was a sale.  The second pair of shoes would be half.  Y’all, I wandered around the women’s shoes unable to focus.  Too many choices.  I hadn’t come for myself, and shoes for me weren’t on my list, and I could not concentrate.  No more decisions could be made.  We left with just that one pair.  No sale shoes.  No more choices.

And this is why I think I enjoy Walmart.  I can wander around one big place, but really, for each item I need, there aren’t a whole lot of options.  We eat good, healthy, not so processed food.  Walmart only has little pockets of that.  So decisions are made by simple lack of choice.  Their shoes are not all that fantastic.  Only one or two pairs in the boys section would I allow my children to be seen in around town.  Done.  Not that the older would wear shoes from Walmart anymore, but still.

I am not a shopper.

This is the reason it has taken Lent to make me try another way.  It requires making choices.  And it is tiring.  Is this why we have abandoned our mom and pop stores?  It required getting in and out of the car and they gave us too many quality choices?  Not judging here.  I already told you yesterday wore me out.  Just pondering.

Now, for those that are curious, so far I have bought items at:

Watson Farms –  This is where I get our meat, and I drive to their farm monthly.  Just over the county line, but actually closer than the next town for me.

Publix – I had to go to another town for this one.  Groceries

Lebo’s – Local shoe store in the next town over.  Fun place for those that like western wear and the nicer brand western or hippy/ hiking/ ergonomic shoes.  Insanely cool boots!

Shoe Carnival – Shoe store chain in the other town.

The Big Deal – A Big Lots with a local flair.  Right here in town.

Ash Wednesday

The season of Lent in the liturgical calendar has always stood out as important in my book.  As a child, it was the dreaded time we were forced to give up something we valued, such as candy.  It was a terrible season, and I tried my best to make it through by giving up brussel sprouts instead.  Frozen, out of the bag, straight into boiling water, style brussel sprouts.  They were hideous, and my mother served them for dinner.  So I quite piously refused them on my plate for 46 days each and every year.  Lent is technically 40 days, which allows one to exclude Sundays, but I always felt that was cheating, taking a break each week, especially when it involved olive balls of sludge.

Fast forward to today, and my family has been practicing Lent for several years.  Amazingly, the simple act of practicing Lent as a child translated into a deeper connection with my faith as an adult.  And even though I dreaded the season as a girl, saved only by the ability to escape slimy vegetables, as a woman and mother I cherish this time to refocus on my faith and refocus our guidance with our children.  Some years have been more meaningful than others, some easier, some incredibly difficult, but always important even in some small way.

Last year was the only year I remember not participating.  Looking Ash Wednesday in the face and refusing to try.  But I was also helping to nurse my dying mother and giving her up was more than I could handle.   Watching her deteriorate and my father lose his sole mate was more sacrifice than I had signed on for ever.  Even the simple act of refusing meat on Fridays was too much.  More than I could remember.  Losing my mother was an experience in drowning from grief and resilience and joy all tumbled together.  I spent time with and saw people I missed dearly, death bringing those together near and far, and yet I lost one of my rocks.  So while I didn’t get angry at God, I figured He understood my apathy towards that particular Lenten season.  Besides, He and I were on close speaking terms.  He was good with me.

And so now, here we are.  Ash Wednesday.  It is that time to give up and give outwardly; focus on our relationship with Christ, with God, with our Holy Spirit residing in us.  The kids have been involved in planning each Lenten season, oftentimes being the deepest thinkers and most diligent in their Lenten practice.  This amazes me, given my childhood track record. As a family, we’ve given up meat on Fridays, inhumanely raised meat completely, just pork, unnecessary shopping, and anger towards each other.  We have practiced disciplines, such as writing, drawing out daily prayers, making stations of the cross, and on and on.

This year is no different, except that the boys are getting older.  Each wants to dictate his own Lenten exercise.  For Key, we are to eat at the table as a family once daily.  Time where we talk to each other, discuss issues, debate thoughts, is valuable to him and he misses it.  Truth be told, we all miss it, and I am grateful to him in claiming this one.  For Kelly, and also Key, he is to practice his banjo each day.  Kelly’s music brings him joy, and he wants to focus on it.  Key has agreed that practicing violin each day would benefit him as well.  All of these disciplines are worthy Lenten exercises.

And for me?  Well, I am giving up Walmart.  I am giving up the big box super giant that makes me feel the need to shower after shopping.  Local businesses will be seeing me more often as I try to accomplish tasks, such as oil changes and buying Triscuits, without Walmart as a crutch.  Walmart stirs up emotions that I cannot clarify, such as guilt and stress and yet relief of its convenience.  Is it all bad?  Does it serve a purpose in a small town community?  Is it the evil cause for downtown’s current demise?  Can I find everyday items elsewhere without driving thirty minutes to the next town over? These are the questions Huffpost articles regularly tackle, and I will be researching answers for the York community for the next 46 days.  By ignoring Walmart, I can readjust my lens in search of local sources for my everyday needs.

How does this relate to my spiritual practice and my relationship with Christ?


Mark 12:31

This is my humble attempt at loving my community.  Care to join me?

Community Action and Twelve Year Olds

I took the kids to their first ever community action meeting.  I cared to go, and since the husband was working, the boys got to see people come together to try to talk about and make a plan for an issue.  Now here is the deal with community action groups.  All the people in attendance are probably passionate about said issue.  But they don’t agree.  At all.  Some are local politicians trying to smoothly explain how they love their peeps, have no money, can’t vote for, but definitely support current issue.  Others are newbies to the community action arena, such as myself, and find the whole process fascinating and mildly amusing.  A few think they are in charge.  May have even called the meeting in the first place; want to be the peacemakers and delegators.  There are, of course, the local listeners scattered about that read about the whole meeting in the local paper two days prior. (These are the ones that pull in the newbies.)  And then there are the vocals.  Vocals have been spending YEARS on such issue, are P.Oed, defensive, sure its a done disaster, want smooth politicians to fix it or stuff it, and yet, despite the certain failure, Can’t. Let. Go.  These are my fascination.  The Vocals.

In this particular situation, said issue is agritourism.  The vocals are the horse peeps.  The politicians are the southern men in suits.  The rest are farmers, townies, landowners, and a few employees with city relations.

Anyway, back to the whole story.  The boys took tablets and books and sat off to the side, while I listened.  From what I gather, back about eight years ago the vocals worked long hours and several seasonal rotations to bring an agricultural tourism center to York County.  According to them, they cooperated with county council, found land, got estimates for a building council wanted, and then got turned down cold at the last minute.  County council refused to pay for it in the end, and those vocals felt deeply cheated, having done all the research and leg work.  Problem was, the center was set to operate at a million dollar loss yearly.  Now, I don’t have to be the financial whiz in town to tell you we are a relatively poor county.  We have some rich segments, but the half of the county I live in is rural.  And rural doesn’t pour money in the pot.

Well, here we are again, eight years later, and my peeps still want that agritourism center.  And frankly, they are right.  It is a great idea.  Agriculture, farming, horses, cattle, pullets, is what we got and what our county is good at.  So why not capitalize on the opportunity to bring in supporters of the local farming movement and provide our regionally renowned horse peeps and 4-H kiddos a place to show off the goods?  A centralized farmer’s market would be fabulous.  I would be so, so happy.  But.  It cannot cost millions to build and millions to run.  It cannot operate at a loss.  It has to be self supporting.  Otherwise, it is just another government project, and county council doesn’t want another project, and Dear Lord we all know government in general doesn’t need more projects.  So this new group called this meeting to discuss revamping a plan.  My local representative made lots of us laugh when he got quoted in the Herald for suggesting the Eagle Scouts build us the first shed.  But in truth, that’s about right.  I finally spoke up suggesting a list of farmers and agricultural products in the county might be a good place to start before we call in the Eagle Scouts and the land surveyors.  Maybe a web page might be cheaper right off the bat.  You know, get somewhat organized before we agree to host an equestrian show.  But again, I am one of the newbies.

Well, all the while this went on, the boys were reading books and playing on tablets.  So afterwards I asked if they’d heard any bit of that meeting.  My twelve year old, he looked up from his book.

This is where it just takes the cake.  The whole picture, from the eyes of a twelve year old.  If only adults were so smart sometimes.

And he said, “I didn’t pay attention the whole time.  But it seemed like these people want this big building on some farmland, and they want to have the council pay for it.  But the council was nice enough to show up and tell them from the start they aren’t going to.  They don’t have the money.  Well, all that did was make the horse people angry, but truthfully, he did them a favor.  If they want the place, they are going to have to figure out how to make it without council’s money.”  I pointed out that to the vocals, it felt like a door slammed in their faces once again, and that politician brought up old resentment.  But again, my boy just replied, “I know.  I feel sorry for those people.  But it isn’t that man’s fault council doesn’t have the money to build their center.  What they really need to do is make some committees, put people from the farms and people from the council together so they can learn to work together, and then figure out what we have already.  I mean, that’s where I’d start.”

I am thinking my twelve year old should take over delegations.

We’ll let you know how this issue progresses, if we hear from anyone again….