Boy oh boy, have these past few days ever been an interesting time for me.

I guess it kind of solidifies the fact that you are never too old to learn. It all started off by me bumming a ride over to the Mount Forest Fair Grounds on April 27. I wanted to see how the fair grounds were being set up for the Buy-Sale-Trade-Day that has been sponsored by the Saugeen Valley Fur and Feather Fanciers Association, spring and fall, for the past 27 years.

It had been rumoured by a couple of concerned comments at one of our regular meetings that not enough members were showing up to help. Let me tell you folks, nothing could have been farther from the truth.

I did not go there to help as I am physically on the wrong side of 80 to be of much help, and I knew nothing about it. I went there just to observe, as I am still indirectly in contact with a large number of young people that would jump to the occasion if I thought help was needed.

Help was not needed. There was an ample turnout. I had every intention of counting the feet and dividing by two to get a head count but that wasn’t necessary. I simply counted their fingers and toes and divided by 20. They swarmed there between 9 and 9:30 and two hours later the work was all wrapped up, finished, done! Everyone seemed to know exactly what had to be done and if they needed help someone showed up beside them. It was quite obvious that experience over the years has fallen well into place.

As many of the vendors come from near and far, some driving half of the night to get there, a couple of member volunteers showed up at midnight and more were lined up to man the gates by five in the morning.

A neighbour of mine, a couple of country blocks over from where I live, called me at 4am and said, “I’ll be there in a about ten minutes.” He had brought the borrowed truck and trailer over the night before so we were well loaded previous to darkness and ready to go. We pulled into the park not much after 5am and though darkness still lingered there were quite a number of vehicles ahead of us.

 As my son flies a privately-owned “Westwind” twin engine jet for a multi-national company and is more often than not away on many preset dates, this neighbour, as others, have often filled in, helping me out on many occasions. The truck and trailer is borrowed by him from one of his neighbours whom I don’t even know. That is just the way it is up here in cattle country: if you know which buttons to push you can borrow anything and everything that you happen to need.

I was rather pleased with the park-packed turnout and was quite surprised at the continual number that came over to tell me they read my column in the Advertiser, many of them from far out-side the delivery area, either passed on to them from a friend or having read it each week on the internet. I’ll remember long their smiling faces, but their names and places from where they came are already jumbled. Incidentally I was sold out of the 50 or more birds that I took by noon. It pays to raise show stock.

But there is one name in particular that I feel I should mention as he has, I’ve been told, volunteered year after year, for quite a long time. I believe, but not confirmed, that he is employed by the Mount Forest parks department.

He is a diligent volunteer, who knows exactly how and what has to be done. The tipping of my soggy sombrero and a clapping of all hands should go out to the one and only “David Robinson.”

Thanks a big bunch David! It was my pleasure having met you.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins