Calapooia Dental - September 2019

Linn County Fair Adventures GIVING BACK AND TEACHING MY DAUGHTER AT THE FAIR

Brian R. Summers DMD, PhD Patrick V. Hagerty, DMD

This past July, my family had a blast exploring the Linn County Fair. We ate too much greasy food, walked through the 4H and FFA exhibits, and toured the stalls of the various show animals the local kids had raised. My daughter, Norah, age 6, had so much fun seeing all the animals in one spot, and we seized this opportunity to teach her about where our food comes from. Norah already knows a bit more than other 6-year-olds might. As a family of fishers, she knows that, when we reel in a sizable catch, we’re going to sacrifice the fish, clean it, and eat it. She understands that life cycle. But the fair was the perfect environment to teach her about the food we don’t hunt on our own. Whenever we drive past the fields near our home, Norah will ask about the cows she sees. We always take this opportunity to explain that these animals are being raised for meat and that it’s important for us to not waste their lives by wasting the meat they provide for us. We have a responsibility to respect the life the animal gave for our meals, and we try to teach that to Norah. Initially, Norah didn’t understand that the animals at the fair weren’t just pets, so we compared them to the fish we catch. We explained that these animals were being raised as food for people like us, who don’t live on farms. By the end of our trip to the Linn County Fair, I think she understood the process. We also extended this educational opportunity beyond the stalls of the sheep and pig barns. My wife and I decided to purchase some animals from the kids at the auction. Now, meat from the fair isn’t cheap,

Calapooia Courier September 2019

but buying it is a great way to give back to the community we live and work in. I’m a firm believer in giving back to my community, whether that’s through donations, buying local, or volunteering. What’s even better is that I was able to give back to families I have a personal connection to. One of my employees, LaCreshia Mote, has been raising sheep with her daughters for years. We purchased Chloe Mote’s sheep, Rosebud. We also have patient Ryan Henry at Calapooia Family Dental, who raises pigs, and every year he has asked if we can support his project at the fair. I’m proud to say that this year we were able to do that, and we bought his hog, Mary Rose. Later in the day, I asked Ryan’s mother, Terri, how Ryan does knowing that Mary Rose would soon be butchered. I grew up with goats and pigs, so I understand the attachment, even when you know you’re raising animals for food. But his mom said he was doing well; he knew that his project would help him save money for college, as well as a truck. (He told me he wants a green Ford F150). It is encouraging to know our contribution is going toward a great cause and helping hard- working families. And the entire experience taught our family some lessons, too. Norah learned so much at the fair this year — in between stuffing her face with cotton candy, of course — and I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity. -Dr. Brian Summers

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