The Gift of Giving
Friday, August 23rd, 2019 - This was one of the greatest days I’ve had in awhile. Of course, every day of the Minnesota State Fair is the greatest, but this day was particularly the best. It was 72 degrees with a slight breeze and partly cloudy, perfect weather for a record-setting 157,224 fairgoers that day. I woke up bright and early at noon for my shift at the Farm Bureau building. I particularly enjoyed working at the Farm Bureau building because it gave me the chance to share my story of agriculture and hear the stories of other agriculturalists’ experiences. Of course, my job wasn’t always the easiest. Near the end of the day, I had a young couple enter the building and ask me about the difference between natural and traditional foods. I tried to explain to her the differences, but I experienced major backfire as she shared her opinion on food options. Long story short, we both left frustrated with our days ruined. To be honest, I did cry in the back room, which is hard to admit for me, but I pulled it together and kept on going. I typically had 5 to 6 tense conversations about agriculture per day, so it just added to my typical fair experience.
I closed the building at nine and headed down to the grandstand to listen to the greatest band that ever walked the earth, Why Don’t We. I didn’t have tickets, so I sat at the top of the grandstand stairs to the side. I tried to peek my head around, but there was no way I could see the concert. I tried to listen to the music, but every time I hear the crowd cheer, my sadness got even worse. A couple of songs went by and I thought it was time to leave. Before I made it down the stairs though, a lady named Nona from Detroit Lakes stopped me. She said, “Hey, how come you’re out here all by yourself?” I responded with, “Well, I was going to buy tickets with my friends, but they backed out and I can’t really afford the tickets anyway.” She said, “Well here, have mine.” I was taken aback; I asked her, “are you serious?” She said, “yeah, go right ahead, you’ll have to sit next to my daughters though.”
Just like that moment in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I literally had a golden ticket moment. I took her ticket, shook her hand, gave her a big hug, and ran up to the gate. The ticket man scanned my ticket and I went in. I walked up to my seat in the first couple rows, and I was on a cloud. The crowd was chanting, “Why Don’t We! Why Don’t We!” It was like a sweet serenade to accompany the luck I just had. I got the chance to meet Nona’s daughters, and I’m glad to say that they are some close friends now. We enjoyed the concert together and jammed to some of our favorite songs like Big Plans, I Don’t Belong in This Club, and 8 Letters.
My day had already been made better, but the better got even better. On the way out of the fair, I met some 4-H friends outside of the Sweet Martha’s stand where we shared some fresh cookies (for free I might add).
This is not a normal day in the life of Nic. Most days consist of waking up, eating tacos, going to class, and going back to bed. But occasionally, a really excellent day comes around. Not every day can be is great as this one. Some days we’re just riddled with troubles or dealt a loaded hand of luck. But if there’s one thing that I learned from this experience, it’s that the bad days always get better. For those of you that just started college, high school, or are entering the workforce, know that you will have bad days, but they will be followed by a good day. My day started off quite poorly, but I was persistent, and I had people invest in me to make my day better. Each day we have the opportunity to not only show up for ourselves and make it a great day but to also help others have a great day. Take a moment and invite someone to join you for lunch, join you on a CDE team, go to the fall leadership conference, or share some cookies and good music. The great thing about helping others have a great day is that it usually results in having a great day ourselves, so find someone in your life that you’re going to give to or invest in as we start a new chapter in our life.