They found an old bookshelf discarded in someone’s weekly trash,
and she and her daddy loaded it into the truck
and brought it home.
She set about repurposing that old bookshelf.
The more time and thought she put into it,
the faster it became much more than a 4H project.
She sanded and primed.
She painted with left-overs of her favorite colors.
She measured and traced
and cut out wedges to hold the shelves in place…
all by herself.
Throughout each step,
the old bookshelf took on new life
and became hers.
When the last coat of paint dried,
she carried the pieces of her new bookshelf upstairs.
She assembled it in her room
and sat it in just the right spot.
And, when she had it where she wanted it,
she carefully repainted the scuffs and scrapes
without a single drop of paint
falling on her bedroom floor.
While her friend watched
she arranged and rearranged
until she had it just the way she wanted it.
My girl was happy.
Today, she emptied that bookshelf.
She and her daddy wrapped it in an old blanket
and reloaded it into the truck
for the short ride to the fairgrounds.
All the while, she sat smiling from ear to ear.
She proudly stood side-by-side with the
4H judge as she told the story of her repurposed bookshelf.
She pointed out her color choices
and the new wedges she cut.
She showed the pictures of the process.
The judge commented and complimented
and that girl of mine smiled big.
Her smile turned to laughter
and jumping up and down with her best-friend
when she found out that her rescued bookshelf
won reserve champion.
The girls hugged
and jumped in circles
while she whispered,
I won reserve champion!”
Later, as we left the bookshelf behind
for others to admire during the 4H Fair,
my Reserve Champion stopped
and looked at her daddy and me.
“Wait a minute,” she said.
“There were only two entries in my group…
which means the other one got Grand Champion
“Yes.” We answered cautiously,
knowing full well that
our girl got second out of two.
“Oh,” she skipped away.
“Doesn’t matter to me because
I got reserve champion
and I’ve never won reserve champion before!”
And, in the warm June air,
my heart swelled a bit
as I glimpsed the world through my girl’s big blue eyes.
For you see,
tonight she chose to celebrate her reserve champion title,
rather than to dwell on her last place finish.
That’s my girl!