I’m home. This trip to the Kansas State Fair was very special. I’m happy I was able to reach my goal and thankful for all the wonderful people who helped me celebrate 50 years doing my job at the 4-H Encampment Building.

My son Stewart felt I should be recognized for this so he started early in the year making calls and was successful. The word was out, plans were made, and I was surprised.

I called Iva Lee, the encampment manager, and let her know I’d be coming to Hutchinson a day later than usual. I didn’t want to miss something in Hays on Tuesday. She said ‘OK, but you have to be here by 2 p.m.” I was greeted with “She’s here” Hmmm, why the excitement I made it?

After the annual staff meeting they brought in homemade ice cream, decorated cake and presented me with a large Grand Champion Ribbon gold on top with purple and white streamer announcing Opal Flinn for 50 years of service.

That was the beginning of the celebration. More happened during the fair and even after I returned home Sept. 18.

The party Stewart arranged was Sept. 9 at the encampment building. It was wonderful. My family, friends, and a Hutchinson News reporter (her story came out in the Hutch paper). I wore one corsage from the Ellis County Extension office, another from my granddaughter (her husband’s parents flew in from Minnesota). Another granddaughter brought the decorated cake served with green punch. I received gifts, cards and pictures were taken with grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered around me. Precious memories were made.

I told a little story about how it all happened and for whom I am most thankful. It couldn’t have happened if our children Stewart, Sheila, Shirleen, Steven and Stanley hadn’t milked our cows each year while Jim and I were at the fair.

Now about this year’s fair. The weather was nice. I found a super way to eat corn on the cob.

They sell it cut off in a cup, delicious. And each day was a different menu, sauerkraut pizza, frosted flakes, chicken on a stick, stuffed cucumber, sweet potato fries and funnel cake. The Connie’s funnel cake stand is in the same place as it was 50 years ago and same man still runs it.

The Master Farmer-Master Farm Homemaker comes each year. There is a meeting, bench, dinner and free ticket to the concert for each member. The homemaker surprised me with a gift.

Anita Davis, representative for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, presented quilts to three master farmers, Henry Ericson, Bob Edwards and Richard Reinhardt.

My daughter convinced me she could get me a seat at the concert (my ticket had stairs). The Roots and Boots grandstand performance was very good. I’m glad I went. Then got ice cream at the Dairy Bar.

I stay at the encampment dormitory during the fair in a room available for the disabled. One night I slipped and fell, couldn’t get up, had to scoot on my rear to the door, open door and called for help.The overnight worker came and helped me up.

I was thankful for their help and thankful I wasn’t hurt. I told them that was the first time in 50 years any guys saw me in my night gown and my teeth out.

Since I’ve been home I received a colorful corsage from the support group and a note from Jerry Moran. I have read the many kind and friendly comments on Facebook. I thank everyone so much, I appreciate everything that was done for me.

Will I go back next year? I hope I am able to go God willing.

Opal Flinn is a frequent contributor to The Hays Daily News