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November 26, 2014
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A huge responsibility

I was limping by Saturday afternoon of Annie Oakley weekend. For two nights I watched success and heartache in the Miss Annie Oakley shooting contest… congratulations to 14-yr-old Hayley Maher on earning the right to represent the Festival as Miss Annie Oakley 2014. And congratulations to all 10 young ladies who took the challenge! You can be proud of your effort.

Following the competition, we headed to Brock Cemetery, where Annie Oakley, the Darke County legend, is buried. I hadn’t realized the emotion invested in the annual Pilgrimage. It seems many young women having the privilege of serving as Miss Annie Oakley retain the passion they’d built during their reign.

Friday morning I was impressed by the ceremony at The Bowery. Learning the history of Greenville and Darke County has been – and continues to be – fascinating. Saturday morning I was delighted to see two GHS students, Jacob Butsch (’15) followed by Caleb Bruner (’14) lead the pack in the Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk. They were four seconds apart. Garst Museum was next on my list, but I have to admit I spent a good part of the time sitting on a bench talking to an old friend… my feet thanked me. From there I headed out to York Woods for the Annie Oakley Festival. It was great seeing all the people… with more cars coming down the drive every minute. Maybe this is where the festival belongs… it certainly seemed a great fit.

Just as my feet were about to go on strike I heard there was going to be a 50/50 shooting contest… it was open to all takers. I headed over to the information booth and asked the time. Fifteen minutes? Half hour? I’d gut it out and toss my hat in. Nope. Over an hour. I took a pass, much to the disappointment of a couple young ladies who evidently wanted to kick my tail.

I thought I heard “chicken!” as I limped out to my car.

On Tuesday, almost rested from the weekend – stories written – I headed to my next challenge… the library. First up was a late book return from one of my students. We headed to the circulation desk.

“We have a late return here…” I said. The response, of course, was no problem; then it was checked in the computer. “It’s not late. Not due for another week.”

I was surprised. “But the date here says July 22.” I got a smile… “That’s when it was checked out.” So I said “Okay, how do I find out when it’s due?” A huge grin. “Right here, where it says ‘DUE’!”

By this time everyone was cracking up, including a couple of adults standing behind my student and me. One of them said “I want to read about this in one of your columns, Bob!” I hope he’s happy… in addition to those standing around at the library desk, I’ve now embarrassed myself with all four of my loyal readers.

My poor student quietly whispered “I knew it wasn’t late.” I just as quietly whispered back, asking why he didn’t tell me. The child just shrugged his shoulders and I learned something that, quite frankly, had never occurred to me… I was the adult; even more important to his 8-year-old mind, I was ‘teacher.’ I assured him it was okay to tell me if he thought I might be mistaken; adults can make mistakes, too.

I remember Hayley telling me she was nervous about her role as Miss Annie Oakley 2014. “It’s a huge responsibility,” she said. She is correct; it is huge. But I know she’ll do fine. Her comment – and my student – brought home to me the responsibilities I had assumed…

Sometimes, especially when we work with young people, they can be overwhelming… at least to grumpy old people like me.

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