I’m going to start right out and toot my own horn, because at this stage in my life victories in the rodeo arena are few and far between.This year my partner, Duane Baxley and I won the two ropers over the age of 60 calf branding at the Mid State Fair country rodeo. This validates that at the present time there are enough parts in the old body, still working well enough to allow me to swing my rope, catch a calf and dally up. Hurrah!

Saturday night at the fair was dedicated to the Country Rodeo finals, where the top 6 contestants from each event in the daytime country rodeo compete against each other. I was thoroughly entertained. The show had “Cotton the Buffalo Bill of modern times Rosser” written all over it. It was pure old fashioned fun.

Zee and I followed up the Rodeo with a stroll through the commercial buildings full of the ever loving salesmen selling pots and pans, while promising that he will turn any guy like me, who can’t even boil water into a master chef. All that’s required is a few of his pots and pans. But I like not being able to boil water so we walked on by. Eventually we made our way to the photography and art work in the building behind Maynard’s Mountain that are done by a lot of locals. It always amazes me how good they are.

Next it was time to look at all the livestock, to see the wonderful young people that are testimonies proving kids and animals are a wonderful mix for each other. Turning a corner at the Livestock Pavilion there appeared before my eyes one of these fear mongers dressed up as a wash stand and with a sign attached to it. The sign read,’Have you visited the Animals? Team Sudsy says. For your safety you should WASH YOUR HANDS after visiting animal area.’

PARENTS : PLEASE HELP YOUR CHILDREN. Use soap and water for 20 seconds while singing the A.B.C. Or Happy Birthday song. Don’t forget to wash between fingers and under fingernails, back of hands and lower arms. Dry hands with a clean paper towel. Thank you, your health and safety are our main concern – California Mid State Fair.

At first I thought this sign must be a prank.That somebody with a good sense of humor placed the sign to bring attention to the imbecilic, ridiculous lengths this hand washing fetish has gone to at the Mid State Fair. After asking several bystanders if this was a prank, I was assured it wasn’t. I don’t know where to start with trying to reply to written words that are so DUMB!! But I’ll try.

Lets start with a typical and hypothetical teenager, father/son conversation. Now I’m a grandfather, but for the moment I will play father.

Father: “Son have you been touching your steer?”

Son: “Yes dad I’ve been touching him every day for the past 6 months. I’ve been feeding him, washing him, and teaching him to lead.”

Father: “Well son I know this may sound a little strange but at the fair all contact with livestock must be followed by going to one of the portable hand washing stations where orders are clearly written on how to properly wash your hands.”

Father: “You must report to the hand washing stand and wash your hands for 20 seconds while singing the A.B.C. song or the Happy Birthday song.”

Son:”But dad it’s not my birthday.”

Father: “Then sing the A.B.C. song.”

(I think it’s smart of them to give the option because most livestock touchers weren’t born on July 26.)

Son: “Dad you know I felt pretty stupid sing the A.B.C. song for 20 seconds it seemed like a long time.”

Son: “I was also wondering if there are enough wash stands so all 1,000 kids can wash their hands without waiting in line for hours on end. Do you think it would be all right with the Neat Freak Police if there was a crowd at the Portable Wash Stand and we only sang our song for 10 seconds?”

Son: “Dad I have another wonderment. Wouldn’t we be more apt to get sick on the Board Walk with all the people standing next to one another and breathing on each other?”

Son: “Dad I’m not done yet. I was wondering if all the kids at all the other fairs in the U.S.A. have to report to the portable wash stand after touching their animals like we do?”

Son: “I was also thinking that if all the kids at all the fairs washed their hands every time they touched their sheep or goat or cattle wouldn’t we use an awful lot of paper towels? And that means somebody is going to have to cut down a lot of trees to make all those paper towels.

Son: “And one more thing Dad. I understand that Salmonella and E Coli don’t find livestock to be a friendly place to hang out With. But if that’s not true then the artist behind the photograph at the art exhibit, showing a pig being used as a pillow by his teenage owner to take a nap on, needs to be tracked down and told that sleeping on a pig can be hazardous to to that teenager’s health.”

See Ya! Jack Varian

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