Children and Adults–Too Valuable to Be Pigeonholed

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I share this post today a bit sheepishly, but I am writing it because Ray suggested that I write it. On Saturday he and I spent a fun day with our younger daughter, her husband, and their children at the 46th annual Poke Sallet Festival in Gainesboro, held at our county fairgrounds. Our day began listening to homeschool graduates and longtime friends perform music on the mainstage, while visiting with friends who had also come to enjoy their music.

All through the day, we saw our friend Beau, who is a board member of the Poke Sallet Foundation, taking care of one task after another. Near the end of the music set, he placed a wood frame in the grass and spray painted a circle around it, producing the “race track” for the annual turtle race. Our daughter’s family had not found a turtle this year, but another family brought two and offered them one. The crowd around the track was so thick that I had a hard time finding a peephole. The kids enjoyed having an entry, even though their turtle never budged. He didn’t even peek out of his shell!

We enjoyed ordering food from a food truck, operated by an older couple from Granville and their teenage neighbor (here’s a link to a 2018 post about Granville, one of many over the years). The people ordering after us were patient as they waited for our nine orders to come through the little window. It was fun to eat fresh, juicy, and delicious burgers, fries, and onion rings while sitting under a shade tree.

We browsed the first annual Poke Sallet Art Contest in one of the fair buildings and then walked over to see the vendors in the big red barn. Tummies settled from lunch, it was time to climb the hill to the carnival rides. People and businesses in our community donated more than $10,000 to guarantee enough income to the carnival company so that the Poke Sallet Foundation could provide this entertainment this year. It was fun for me to supervise our two-year-old grandson as he circled the giant octopus sitting in a fish car. He rode that ride again and again.

We strolled past the gleaming vintage cars and trucks in the car show, many in bright and beautiful colors. I especially liked the Dukes of Hazzard-style car and the bright yellow truck. Besides the gleaming entries were two that were far from it. One was an old truck that had once been solid black, but was now rusty black. Perhaps it was a Model T. I don’t know my vehicles very well. Our five-year-old grandson invited me to go with him to see the other non-gleaming entry. It was a converted semi truck with a motorcycle on a flatbed. Both were spray painted with flat black paint. Glaring from the cab were two fake rats with menacing faces. I felt honored that our grandson wanted to share the experience with me. When I told our team at the Notgrass History Zoom meeting yesterday about what we had seen, I learned that we had seen a popular car show entry called a Rat Rod.

We decided that we would stay at the festival until after the outhouse race. In the outhouse race, each team has one person sitting inside a specially-built outhouse on wheels while four team members push the outhouse toward the finish line. While we waited for the race to begin, our daughter, her husband, and three of their children decided to enter. They trailed by inches until they were almost to the finish line and then pulled ahead to win “by a nose.” They were excited by their prize: a day on a pontoon boat at Wildwood Marina in Granville.

While the Poke Sallet Festival was going on at the fairgrounds, our town square was packed with folks enjoying a Shop Hop where they browsed downtown stores and vendors selling their wares on the sidewalk. We went there when we left the festival to enjoy some frozen custard from Honest John’s, which was celebrating its one-year anniversary. A homeschool family who have been our friends for many years were selling their wares and painting children’s faces in the Honest John’s parking lot.

What a great day in Gainesboro!

Now I’ll share the reason Ray suggested this post. Saturday before last, I went to the fairgrounds to enter two paintings in the art contest. On Friday I took more art work, not for the contest but only for display. I took the photo of a morning on Roaring River Road in 2020 that was the basis for a recent painting that Mr. Ballard framed for me. The painting itself is so precious to me personally that I wasn’t comfortable taking it to the contest. I was afraid it might get damaged.

I took this collage of our dear friend Joy Brown. She was the subject of one of my first blog posts back in 2013. I plan to share that post with you tomorrow. The collage includes photos of:

  • Miss Joy dressed as Uncle Sam to recite “Ragged Old Flag” at a Veterans Day ceremony when she was in her 90s (You can watch her here.)
  • An article about her colorful grandmother, Aunt Polly, which is on display at the Jackson County Historical Museum
  • Photos of Miss Joy portraying Aunt Polly on Miss Joy’s front porch
  • Miss Joy’s childhood home, where she passed away at 100 years old

I also took a poster of past Poke Sallet Festivals when it was held on our town square.

While I was there on Friday, I saw my rose painting on an easel with the other adult entries and . . .

. . . to my great surprise and delight, I saw a blue ribbon on my painting of our barn in the snow.

Ray took my picture with the painting while our family looked at the art contest entries on Saturday morning.

While we were waiting for the outhouse race, I got a text from the organizer of the art show saying that my painting had also won a People’s Choice award along with a $50 prize.

The awards were especially sweet because of my art experiences that began when I took my first art class when I was a teenager. The teacher never seemed to like what I created. One day she said that some people are artists and other people are only draftsmen. I decided that I must be a draftsman. I would have enjoyed majoring in art in college, but I was afraid. I am thankful for the path God led me on instead. By majoring in urban planning in the political science department, I met my precious husband, which led to many wonderful experiences in my life including our work in Notgrass History.

Still, my teen experience was painful. I took my next art class when I was in my 40s. My teacher was encouraging. While we were homeschooling, our children and I took art lessons from Miss Judy from whom I take painting classes now. She is encouraging, too. Soon after I learned about my blue ribbon on Friday, I texted a picture of it to Miss Judy, saying: “Thank you for teaching me!!”

She quickly replied with: “Thank you for letting me!😊Congratulations!”

The teacher of my teenage art class didn’t cause me lasting damage. I tried art again, and God granted me encouragement from Himself and from later teachers. I also had a mother who taught me that “can’t never could do anything.”

No child or adult should ever be placed in a pigeonhole—not by a parent, not by a counselor, not by anyone. God has gifted each of us with a heart, a soul, a mind, and a body in need of His nurture and the nurture of the people around us.

By the way, I have great respect for draftsmen and worked with some good ones when I was an urban planner. I respect all legal and honorable occupations and am grateful for the people who do a good job in those occupations.

One of the purposes of the Poke Sallet Foundation is to provide scholarships to local folks seeking training in skilled trades. I copied this from the Poke Sallet Foundation website:

Skilled Trade is the backbone of any functioning society, and one of the foundations of growth in Jackson County! Most of our family members and ancestors who grew up in this region were considered “blue collar” workers, and we at the Poke Sallet Foundation feel an emphasis should be placed on these vital jobs to the youth who will soon enter the workforce.

Two young people gratefully received Blue Collar Scholarships on Saturday.

At this time of year, we hear of young people receiving scholarships for academics or sports or music. I was thankful to hear of two receiving them to work with their hands, as well. As a homeschooling mother, you have the opportunity to help your children prepare for the occupations that suit them best, while teaching them to respect them all.

Whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17



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