Holy Smokes…4-H Demonstration Time!

I’m a proud mama who has been waiting anxiously to publish this post for a while now.  The entire post has been written and re-written in my head several times.  However, the final proof isn’t anything like what I envisioned.  Last week was Pickle’s first 4-H demonstration.  His projects for his first year in 4-H include dairy, beef, poultry, woodworking and outdoors/hiking.  When we first started planning for his demo, he was very fascinated by the nuts and bolts of an egg.  He wanted to highlight his little egg business while also educating the club about the difference between chicken and duck eggs.

Now I’m not sure what the demonstration protocol is nowadays, but back in my day we always used 3×5 notecards with an outline of the demo.  He wasn’t keen to the idea of using the notecards so we settled on using lined paper, divided in half.  I organized the “notecards” by numbering them.  I wrote the final draft in case he would come across a word he was unable to read due to handwriting issues.  I debated doing too much for him but it was his first demonstration.

His presentation started by introducing himself and before I knew the “notecards” were everywhere.  Then he was confused because he forgot his place!  Thankfully, his interest in the structure of an egg was a benefit and he was able to explain the parts and their functions.  His favorite portion was shared by the audience.  He began passing the eggs around.  Many of the kids are from the farm or have grandparents who farm so a chicken egg wasn’t that big of a deal.  The fact that he had ducks really drew the interest of the club and he answered many questions about the ducks before concluding.  So far, fairly close to what I had imagined.

The kids were then walking up to the firehouse for a tour.  I decided to run a couple of errands and return at the end of the meeting.  Boy, do I wish I hadn’t left.  Once they returned from the tour there were a couple of other demonstrations left to do.  As I walked into the school, I heard a little boy talking about chemicals.  And, then I think my mouth hit the floor.  He concluded with “so if you would like to make your own smoke bomb be sure you have blank, blank and blank on hand.  Any questions?”  Hmmmm, let’s see, yep, every single kid had a question.  The questions were very often directed to their parent asking if they could make one when they arrived home.  Including my kid.

My first question to the leader…who happens to be a good friend…was “What project area does this fall under again?”  Another mom answered for her saying she had the same question.

I’m sure any parent would be a little surprised by a demonstration which instructed kids how to make smoke bombs.  But, this mama was terrified. Why you ask?  It’s a long story and you would never believe it if you knew my hubby today but as a high schooler he had a bad habit of umm, well, blowing things up.  Just like many other farm kids he and his buddies were curious.  They would design the ultimate bomb and then run it through a series of tests. Usually the test subjects included mailboxes but one day they decided to up the challenge by recruiting an old schoolhouse.  It was all fun & games until they were caught.  In today’s society, he would surely have been put into prison.  Back then he was lucky that he was a good kid with a great lawyer.  Teachers were stunned that their quiet, reserved and star student was the mastermind behind these horrible stories.  He served his time doing community service work and was unable to hunt for a few years.  Taking away his right to hunt was the worst punishment possible.  He turned his act around and has steered clear of any wrong doings.

Now that you have that bit of background information I’m sure you can understand how terrified I had been am that my 8 1/2 year old son…my first born…my baby…was asking if he could make a smoke bomb.  All the way home I heard things such as “All you need to make one is this mom!,”  “It was so cool!,” “I can’t wait to make one!”

It’s kind of the elephant in the room that we’ve always hoped went away.  We know that someday we will need to explain that daddy did a bad thing…we just didn’t know it would be this soon and because of a 4-H demonstration!!!!  Fortunately, we haven’t heard any more requests in a few days.

Ok, I know, the elephant will never go away but maybe Pickle’s memory of his first demonstration will be of just that HIS first demonstration…not learning how to make a smoke bomb and we’ll have bought a couple more years before having to tell him.

The best part of it all was the expressions on the faces of my in-laws and brother-in-law when Pickle recounted the story.  Let me tell you, I was busy picking their mouths from the floor.  Just another day at The Magic FarmHouse!

Happy Friday to y’all!!!

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