A Reporter's Passion and
"The Stock Show Cough"
by: Bobby McDonald
Just like hundreds of other people across Hopkins County, this reporter has the "Stock Show Cough," this week, from breathing dust, mold, and chicken down at last weekend's 2013 NETLA Youth Market Show. However, we'll all "put up" with the discomfort, this week, as just a "right of passage" that occurs every February in Hopkins County. It's a tradition and part of what makes Hopkins County such a great, great place to live!
Folks, it was both a reporter's nightmare of having way too many things to bring to you and not enough time to get it done and posted.....Chamber Banquet, Stock Show, Basketball play-offs, and many, many more, and a reporter's dream, of having the opportunity of working with some of the greatest people in the world, as they competed and were rewarded for hours and hours of hard work and dedication. It's all that is good about living and working in Hopkins County.
When you see youth compete their hearts out on the basketball court, youth clip and pose a pig that only six months ago was running wild around the pen, as they win a showmanship award, or you witness the surprise on someone's face, as they're named a winner at the Chamber Banquet for doing something that to them just comes natural, never expecting anyone to notice, you truly see the spirit of Hopkins County!
I had the mother of the youth come up to me, following my purchase of a pen of broilers in Saturday's Sale of Champions, and thank me for investing in her son. "I must confess!" I told her. "I'm a product of both Hopkins County 4-H and the Sulphur Springs FFA, and all I'm doing is 'paying forward' for those outstanding leaders, supporters, and people who did the very same thing for me, some 40 years ago!"
You see, that is what is so great about being reared and living in Hopkins County, this process of community and helping others has been going on for over 40 years. Individuals dedicated to helping our youth and making certain that they have the firm foundation of opportunity, to succeed in life. It's truly a Hopkins County community thing!!!!
On Saturday afternoon, my vocational agriculture teacher, Mr. Richard Watson, was introduced before the crowd as he is retiring from active teaching, at the end of this spring semester. Of course, it was a meaningful and memorable experience for me, as I thought back about all of the many, many memories made, during my time in vocational agriculture.....the leadership contests and trips to state competition, the "breakdowns" on Interstate-45 as we made a trip to Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo my sophomore year in high school, the miles that we traveled judging beef and dairy cattle, welding and making items in the shop, and then, some of those things that we probably shouldn't talk about, of "stunts" we all pulled while reaching adulthood!
Meanwhile, I looked around the crowd at Saturday's sale and saw the number of former students that had the very same experiences that I had, in Mr. Watson's class.....a testimony of the values that he instilled in us to continue to serve and resume a responsibility of community as we go about life! The lessons are taught on a daily basis, all over Hopkins County, and even though I'm sure that Watson and other leaders many times feel that those lessons are going unheeded, they do truly "take root and bear fruit" in later life!
Then, on Saturday night, I traveled to Tyler to see the Saltillo Lady Lions complete a dream and goal that they set some twelve years ago, in Little Dribblers Basketball.....going to state competition. The 2013 Lady Lions won the Regional Tournament and will follow in the footsteps of the last team from Saltillo to go to state, the 2001 Lady Lions. Yes, dreams can be accomplished and the very same principles learned on the basketball court, that we mentioned above.
And, at the very same time, a group of people were assembled at the Survivor Dinner, kicking-off the 2013 Relay for Life Campaign. It was another round of testimonies of how great it is to live in Hopkins County, where when you need a friend, support, or help, there are always those people who are ready to extend that help and take care of your needs.
And, finally, on Friday of last week, I was privileged to be invited to the 10th Annual Cultural Luncheon, at Wal-mart, where our cultural differences are embraced and celebrated, in a spirit of everyone working together to make Hopkins County a great place to live, for everyone!
I realized that despite "hacking and coughing" all this week, I truly had the best job in Hopkins County, regardless of the neglect of sleep, the tired feet, and the dark circles around my eyes. It truly is the greatest place to live and work!
On Sunday, as I sat in church and tried my best not to "clear my throat" and disturb others, the preacher gave an analogy in his sermon, about a man falling in "the pit." He said that there was this great pit dug in the earth, and a man fell into the pit. People passed by, one telling the man how bad it was to be in the pit, another telling him that it wasn't so bad falling in the pit, and yet another making fun of him falling in the pit. He said that then Jesus came along, went down into the pit, and lifted the man up from the pit!
Folks, we're instructed to be Christ-like in this world and follow Christ's example and I realized that as we go about our own lives we're to continue to lift others up.....go down into the pit and help others out, just like Jesus did. That spirit is alive and well in Hopkins County, being shown on a daily basis, and that's what makes living in Hopkins County such a wonderful adventure!!!
I leave you with a quote I used in remarks at Friday's Cultural Luncheon, "Our mission in life is to plant trees, under whose shade we'll never sit!"
Thank You, Hopkins County,
For Providing a Great Place to Live and Work!!!
And, Thank You God,
For Placing Me in Hopkins County!!!