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Before I begin this column I do want to bring to the attention of you all that there will be a used (and maybe new stuff too) tack sale at Howard County Fairgrounds. It is going to be in the Dining Hall---boy, does that Dining Hall bring back memories of meals eaten with great friends at celebrations for this person or that person, most of whom are now in the great horse pastures of the sky.

Back to business though, this is the SPUR & STIRRUP 4-H USED TACK SALE and it's on Sunday, February 15th, 2015 from 8am-1 pm (with a snow date February 28th, 2015). The word is that there will be hundreds of used and new horse items. I am sure that there is a price per table if you want to sell things but it is free admission for those who want to buy! You can get more information from Cynthia Lemmon at 410-971-2514 or by going to cclemmon@verizon.net

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Anyone who knows what is going on with the tack sale at the Frederick County Fairgrounds and the one at the Ag Center right here in Carroll County please let me know. Those tack sales pretty much are the start of the "horse season" in their counties for the folks who don't get to run off to Florida with their entourages and we all have a good time at them. They are also great for combating the onset of the dread "Cabin Fever Ennui" with its attendant thoughts of just chucking the whole horse thing and finally having a life that doesn't entail having brown slush sliding into your boots for three or four hours a day. Brown slush in your boots is demoralizing enough to derail even the hardiest soul after three months of winter.

And all of this is actually leading somewhere else, too. For forty-seven years of my life I worked with horses. I did other things too but the main thing that I did was to work with horses, seven days a week, year in and year out, no vacations, no overtime, just get up and do it. I have been given to understand by persons who consider themselves "normal" that my manner of making a living (such as it was) was not "normal".

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I just looked up the synonyms for normal and they are: usual, regular, ordinary, standard, customary, common and average.

I am not sure that I want to be any of those things. Okay, I won't quibble with "customary" but the rest leave me rather cold, I have to tell you. If I was going to be anything in life it certainly wouldn't be any of those others no matter how peculiar I had to be to avoid them.

But that business about "normal" still rankles, you know? Upon further thought (and looking about me with a newly jaundiced eye) I suppose that everyone—except those at the furthest reaches of peculiar—is normal after their own fashion.

I was born and raised in the serious North (born in New Hampshire, raised in Vermont) and up there a little, shall we say, diversity of character is a thought to be the prerogative of a person…it's your birthright as a Yankee, so to speak. If you are atypical it is not frowned upon but accepted unless your atypical interferes drastically with other folk's "atypicals". Then, of course, some form of agreement has to be reached between those persons who are at variance over the atypicals in question. It is not so much a question of one party changing but of the distance that should be kept between the parties to avoid further friction. All in all, this is not considered to be a bad thing by those involved and usually that settles the problem.

But even knowing that, I still had not settled the issue of "normal" in my mind.

Then I remembered that in Vermont when we had a town name that we liked, we used it a lot. There was Newbury and West Newbury, there was Enosburgh and Enosburgh Falls. I am sure that between the school districts and the Post Office these have been trimmed but trust me, they were there when I was there.

So maybe there is Normal Junction, then there is, oh say, East Normal where things are a bit more upscale. There may be West Normal, with a bigger sky and freer living, and maybe North Norman for those who are a bit chillier in their view of the world. Could be there is a laid back South Normal and for those folks that the rest of us think are all wet, there may even be a Normal Falls.

Works for me. I like it. But I still don't want to live there.

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