I can claim this trophy which I won in 1988 at the Grain Community Hall at a Hog Calling Contest. It also sits on my “happy” dresser. It had been an extremely difficult time managing my MS that year, with many days of tears and what ifs. This was a giant turning page back into just be “happy”. The kids and I worked on costumes and I wrote the skit. They were so cute with their little pink egg carton noses and piggy ears with braided twine tails tucked into their jeans. The kids were hidden with friends in the hall. In my farmer coveralls and a “shotgun” that made loud noises I started, “I’m a Harty from Hoping come down here to holler for my hogs! Has anybody seen my hogs? ” And proceeded to call them to me. Sooie! The first two came but that last little stinker was fast asleep in the haystack. He needed some noise and buckshot from that “shotgun” to bring him running rubbing his little arse. This trophy sits proudly there to remind of good times had and good times to come.
For those that knew me as a child, I was a shy introvert. My mother taught me to read at the age of four. A world of magic and wonderful knowledge became mine. I read, and then I read some more. I cheerfully started Grade one at the Coutts School. One day I was dressed up and sat in front of an audience with a grade four level reader. I happily read every word not looking up once. The end result of this was I was skipped into Grade two. I was five years old. I loved school but not the bullies. This was the sixties and one lad had a knife which I always worried I would be scalped with as he made plenty of threats! I was frail for my age and Mom fed me eggnog and milkshakes to no avail. Finally at the age of 12 a dentist determined that my back teeth were misaligned and no amount of chewing was getting the nutrition from the food that I needed. Three years of orthodontics fixed the problem.
I laughed out loud when I read a quote from Margaret Atwood, “a child that reads is a quiet child”. That about sums my childhood up in 8 words. Where the transformation came from to this day I can’t quite put a finger on but winning that hog calling competition surely was a confidence booster. Today I love a good debate, will go through an airport and visit with those around me, and don’t ask me how I am for I am sure to tell you. And yes I still read and read some more.