The 4-H Club

“Can we come over soon and see your all of your animalsss?” the screeching 7 years old asked, beaming into my 7 year old eyes.

I tripped on their burning faces, grimy fingers, and anxious anticipation and onto the fact that I don’t have the horse, the dogs, the goat, and the really cute lizards.

“Well, they all have animal shows to go to this next weekend. But maybe some other time…” I responded as though my invented animals were actually being judged this weekend. Their quality of breed was of no question in my mind. Even the lizards’. Clearly because I made them up in my imagination and for that reason alone all things are perfect and worthy of judging.

One’s fantasies splattering every which way means every perfect way.

I left my 2nd grade class wondering. I went home that afternoon wondering. I walked into my bedroom, closed the door and looked at my cream, rectangular, plastic containers with the labels of each animal I’ve ever wanted and how much they cost, wondering.

Horse $200

Goat $40

Lizard $5

Will my Animal Inn ever be actually touched by my stubborn piano fingers that resisted music theory, but loved rolling over the keys like they hungered to be petted and kissed? I’m tired of pretending.

I did have a few rabbits, gerbils, and a cat. Not enough.

It’s never enough around here.

But I can’t seem to stop wanting and clenching my fists and scrunching my face, anxiously awaiting for my mini zoo to paranormally appear one of these days. That day would be the day I’d fly a blimp around our small town, shrieking to every child I ever lied to, to come over and play with my darlings.

I’d wear my multi-layered outfit with ankle lace peeking out from underneath my whitewashed jeans, black Reebok tennis shoes, and obscenely large, red glasses giddily moving from animal to animal, nimbly throwing myself over the horse and galloping around the block as the kids shouted and cheered.

Unfortunately my Animal Inn never became a vast and exciting collection of animals, rather it remained a small makeshift backyard house, invited members, had member fees ($.10 to join), adopted endangered species, wrote to President George Bush about those species, and held many disappointed tears of mine.

What does one do with broken dreams? Dreams that bore brilliant lies and endless hopes.

As aging adults will those absurd thoughts, images, and sensations ever return or will the grid of normalcy pull us into its grooves? Left turn, right turn, speed bump, speed limit, yield, now, soon, Suze Orman, 2.5 kids, chocolate is bad, size 4 aspirations, walking no running, stop.


I want to go with my animals on a blimp around Morton, IL, the land of pumpkins and corn and dance to the Talking Heads’ This Must Be the Place while my zebra does an innocent poll dance on the blimp’s ropes and I laugh hysterically with a rabbit on my shoulder.

Go. Don’t go to the 4-H club, that’s where a normal person goes with their one token animal. Let’s go on the blimp with the collection of our imperfect darlings instead.



Filed under memento vivere, Uncategorized

4 responses to “The 4-H Club

  1. oh heather. you completely sucked me into the magical world of your childhood self, all full of fantasy and deceit and desire. i wish i could see you, face all scrunched, with a scrunchie in your hair. beautiful.

  2. emilee

    fuck 4H.

    i’ll bring a jellyfish.

  3. morgan

    I’ll bring the monkey everyone thought I had.

  4. r- thank you for your kind words.
    e- i’ll have to show the fist bump jellyfish. it could be our secret shake
    m- 2 peas in a pod…

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