I had a hard time deciding on an appropriate title for this post, but I think this says it all. I'd like to introduce you to CamoQueen, my DD19, and first born of our family. Being a redhead and the first grandchild on my side of the family and first granddaughter on my husband's side of the family started her off on the fast track for popularity. Being first born, she naturally developed the traits so commonly attributed to that birth position - confidence, outgoing personality, and can-do attitude.
She was followed by the birth of her brother three and one-half years later and two more siblings after that, but her story really begins with our decision to homeschool her starting with the second grade. We had a couple of years of focused learning at home and then began to branch out.
Here comes wish number one: to find a great group of fellow homeschoolers to spend time with. An opportunity came to meet with a couple of families we met through her community children's choir to pursue a Little House on the Prairie sewing club. Not long after that, the group branched out and started a 4H club. We developed some wonderful friendships with that group and amazing opportunities opened up: competing in 4H competitions, producing our own theater productions, and friendships so critical during the junior high year.
Soon we were not only involved in foods, sewing, and photography but were introduced to the possibilities of joining a livestock club. Here comes wish number two: an intense desire by CamoQueen to work with and possibly own her own livestock. Well, as timing in our life dictated, we purchased property outside of suburbia proper and began our family's journey of "living in the country". We soon found ourselves owners of poultry, goats and horses. These provided CamoQueen with more opportunities to become involved with 4H, FFA,and the local high school equestrian team. But the wishing didn't end there for CamoQueen.
CamoQueen took it upon herself to wish for a dairy goat. Wish number three. By working off hours for her 4H goat leader, she had the chance to purchase an Oberhasli doeling along with a two Boer market goat prospects. She was now officially hooked on raising goats.
Wish number four was to learn how to milk these dairy goats. As we only had kids, that wasn't immediately possible. Soon enough the opportunity developed to dairy-sit for our county's 4H goat superintendent. Here CamoQueen began to realize that you might want to be careful for what you wish for. After ten days of feeding, caring, and milking ten or so of her goats, she learned that a full-time dairy starts in the a.m. with milking and by the time you get through with chores that it is time to start milking again! Not only did she learn how to milk by just jumping in and doing, she found out how strong your hands need to be to hand-milk those dairy does.
Let's see now...yes, wish number five would be to learn how to show these wonderful animals and have a chance to take home one of those coveted chairs that Champion 4H Showmen were always awarded and then be given the opportunity to participate in the county's round-robin Master Showman Contest, which incidentally comes with a t-shirt that is probably more coveted than those showmen chairs. It took a few years, but before long, CamoQueen was competing in the top and was taking first place showman in her classes. By the time she was a junior in high school, CamoQueen again made it into the Master Showman Contest and took 1st place senior champion showman and became the proud recipient of a gleaming silver belt buckle. What more could one wish for?
Wish number six would have to involve her horse, Gus. He came to her as a green-broke Quarter horse that bucked at the canter and had no respect for anyone's personal space. She dutifully kept up with his training and from the start participated in all that the 4H horse program had to offer all the time wishing that she could have one of those top-notch, speed-demon gaming horses that she admired. The amusing part of this wish, is that by her last year on the high school equestrian team, she did place in the district's top five gamers overall, and she did it on a top-notch, speed-demon gaming horse...her own horse, Gus, that she took to that level through a lot of time and training.
With the equestrian world opening up before her, wish number seven was to expand beyond 4H with its equestrian classes and have a chance to participate in cattle events through the equestrian team and gaming rodeo events. She had a pretty lofty wish this time...to take first place in the district in team penning and to break a record. Sure enough, the wishes started coming true. Her team worked their way up to an undefeated team penning year and took district champions. She's got the big ol' silver buckle to prove it too. And the record she wanted to break, well she did that too by breaking the district record for steer daubing...with a time of one point two-three seconds flat. The chance to compete in junior rodeos and run flags in the Molalla Buckeroo came along too. And yes, she did it all on her original horse, Gus.
CamoQueen's ninth wish seemed pretty impossible. She wanted to become involved with FFA which surprisingly is not offered by our school district. Out-of-district tuition payments were the only way she could get in. But as you might have noticed, she has a blessed life. About this time, an opportunity to join a charter school opened up for her that would provide dual enrollment for both high school and community college. This charter school happened to be located in an adjoining school district that offered animal science classes and FFA. She was in!
CamoQueen had such a full schedule, you wouldn't think she would have time to dream and wish. But that didn't stop her from wish number nine which was to raise and show a beef steer for our county's livestock auction through FFA. For two years in a row, CamoQueen purchased and raised a beef steer, halter breaking it and learning how to fit it for a show and feed it for market. Her second year at the auction found her taking first place champion market steer and making a nice profit at the auction. Her learning curve was steep, but as with all things that CamoQueen undertakes, she took it all in stride.
Now to wish number ten. Having been exposed to so many livestock opportunities, CamoQueen really wanted to show a sheep. She'd handled cattle, goats, horses, and other small livestock, but a sheep sounded like fun. So she used proceeds from her other auction animals in prior years, purchased a market lamb, worked on handling and fitting it for show, and made it happen. Nothing too wrong with this wish other than not having a purchaser for the lamb at the auction. In other words, we have a freezer full of lamb. But it is good lamb at that and has made me reach out of my cooking 'comfort zone'.
And before I forget another big wish of hers, I should mention number eleven...to be a crack shot and hunter. Yes, the CamoQueen has bested her father in the hunting department. He has taken her since she was old enough to get her Hunter Safety Permit at age twelve. Since then, she has bagged more deer and elk than you can count. And having to be careful for what you wish for, she nabbed an antelope tag the first time she applied for it. Yep, she was successful. She's the first hunter in our entire family to be the proud owner of an antelope rack, and incidentally but not surprising based on her wishes, she can also lay claim to ownership of the biggest deer rack hanging in our house.
Well now what else has she wished for? There are probably half of a dozen or more to account for: junior superintendent at county fair, top placing in FFA contests, a chance to attend the National FFA Convention, purchasing her own car, getting a real job, finishing what she hopes is the last math class ever in her life with an 'A', singing for our church's youth services, graduating with an Associates Degree at age 19, being a great friend to all who know her... The list really could go on. For 19 years she's made the wish and then made it happen with perseverance and blessings from above. We couldn't be prouder of her.
But she'll have even more monumental wishes to make ahead of her. Her next biggie is acceptance into a local college's Veterinarian Technician program. Her final interview is this week. From there she'll have wishes that we may hear about or those that she keeps to herself. But irregardless, my wish for her is a long, healthy, and happy life full of meaningful relationships with special people and her God. She deserves it. I will leave her with one thought though...to be more selective in some of her random, general wishes because with her, they tend to come true.