Manure, cow hair and sweat have a tendency to form a prickly paste that makes its way into places that you might never know existed on your body. I have clipped cattle in the middle of the winter wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt and somehow cow hair found its way under my shirt.
I have said before that I wear my work, and I do. I don't know why, but Chris and I can be doing the same job, he walks away no worse for the wear and I walk away looking like I rolled on the barn floor. To top it off, I am an "ugly sweater" – my hair gets frizzy, my eyes droop and my skin gets splotchy.
A few years ago at our county fair, temperatures reached into the hundreds. Add in Hoosier humidity and manure, sweat and cow hair worked their special kind of magic.
It was so horribly hot and I was so miserable I did something I never imagined myself doing: I wore shorts and boots in public.
It was the morning of weigh-in and I put on my jeans and boots, ready to face the Monday of the fair, only to open the front door of the house and be met with a brick wall of heat and humidity.
I was determined to accomplish my goals for the morning with dignity. That went downhill fast.
I had been at the fairgrounds for a whole 45 minutes and was already soaked in sweat. By the time my kids had walked their calves across the scales, the calves got a burst of energy and I was forced to lead them one by one to the wash rack.
After each calf, I would walk back to get the next with real tears running down my face. Luckily, I was sweating so profusely no one noticed.
After five calves, I hit a brick wall, grabbed the keys to my truck, jumped in, and drove straight to the Kohl's right next to our fairgrounds. I parked, walked in the front door, smiled politely at the clerk and explained my plan:
"I am going to walk over and get a pair of shorts off the rack, go into the dressing room, peel off my jeans, put on the shorts, tear the tag off, put my boots back on, pick up my jeans and I will bring you the tag and pay on my way out," I said.
And that is exactly what I did, returning later to the fair to clip calves, sans my dignity!
Follow along with Jennifer this week as she chronicles her time at the county fair:
Life At the County Fair: When Did A Blue Ribbon Stop Meriting Praise?
Life at the County Fair: Jeans, Sweat and Restrooms without Air Conditioning
Life at the County Fair: There Will Always Be Tears
Life at the County Fair: 6 Musings About Fair Week
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.