Issue 55 Dec 2017
Alys stood nervously outside the pen where her cow was being judged. She was new to the town, new to FFA, and this was her first big contest. She’d worked a long time getting Lummie ready for the show and now all she could do was wait. But the three judges had been arguing in the pen for nearly an hour. If only her parents hadn’t had to work; nice as her Vo-Ag teacher Mr. Jameson was, she really wanted to hold Poppy’s hand right now.
“This is ridiculous,” Mr. Jameson said suddenly. “They aren’t even... Stay here. I’m going to talk to them.”
Alys peered anxiously through the bars as her teacher went into the pen with Lummie and the judges. Lummie looked placid, but then she always did; that and the coloring were reasons that Alys had chosen a Holstein for her project. Alys was proud of what she’d been able to do. Mr. Jameson was, too, once he got over the initial shock. But the judges seemed to think differently. Though they were whispering, Alys’ sharp ears let her hear what was being said. So far, she hadn’t liked it much.
“I still say that we should disqualify her!” Judge Parsons insisted. “Her entry is, is--undignified!”
“I don’t recall ‘dignity’ being one of the scoring categories,” Mr. Jameson said. The three judges scowled as he walked up to them.
“You shouldn’t be in here,” Mrs. Andrews said crisply. She was the President of the PTA and always scared Alys a little; she seemed to be looking down on the world through her half-moon glasses and not liking what she saw. “It is most irregular.”
“So is taking an hour to argue over whether or not you’ll even judge an entry,” he shot back. “What, exactly, are your objections to Lummie?”
“Melanie! Are you still in bed?”
Mom climbed the stairs to my bedroom. With each pounding step, I cringed, not knowing whether she’d barge into my room and drag me out of bed.
“Leave me alone!” I yelled, as I pulled the covers over my head, wishing I could tune her out completely.
“Get up! You missed the past two days of school - I’m not calling out for you again!”
Mom opened my bedroom door. “Get up right now! You are not missing another day, and I can’t be late to work again!”
Mom wasn’t going to let me be. I had to get up. She seemed relieved as I got out of bed.
“I need to get to work. Walk Alex to school,” she said, as she put on her navy blazer, and swept her brown hair behind her shoulders.
I pulled on some clothes, threw my books into my bag, and walked downstairs, not caring what my hair looked like or that I didn’t brush my teeth.
“C’mon Alex,” I said.
“I want to finish my breakfast,” he said, with a mouthful of cereal, milk dripping on his favorite Minion shirt.
“I don’t care, we need to get going, okay?”
Mom left for work and I walked Alex to school. If I couldn’t summon the energy to get myself to school, at the very least, I could do something for Alex.