Monday, September 10, 2012

National Lampoon's County Annual Meeting Season

Every month I visit 6-8 county boards depending on what is going on in Farm Bureau and what activities they are planning. So I see actual farmers and ranchers at every county meeting. It's the best part of my job. I love hanging out with them. You know the old saying "If you can't beat be them, join them?" well I do. If you have ever heard me talking about my eight counties you will always hear me say that they are like people, they have their own interests, like, dislikes and even though there are a few things- policy development, commodity committees, membership and county and state annual meeting that they all accomplish throughout the year, none of them do it exactly the same. They are all different- like working with eight different people. What works in one, doesn't work in another... the way to encourage one county may not work in another and just because a person is the president doesn't mean they are the person of influence on the board (sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't).

My favorite time of year is county annual meeting time. I love it!!! It's the best activity or program we do all year. I could give you the FB line that that is where we see FB in action- passing policy resolutions, electing officers, giving awards and updating the members on what we have been up to all year. I could tell you that and it's true we do all of that at the meetings but that really isn't why I like those meetings. There are three big reasons I love county annual meetings. 1. I get so see members besides those who sit on the board, or at least the board member spouses who do at least half the work of the board member in making the county a success  2. Good food and amazing desserts. It's usually steak(Cochise, Pima, Graham), or pot roast (Greenlee), Mexican (Yuma, Navajo, Apache) and desserts (Pinal and Pima).

This year was no exception. I was gearing up for the annual meeting run and do to some scheduling changes it ended up that my first week of meetings I had FOUR county annual meetings in one week. The other four were scheduled out so that I had two each week.

Before I begin why that week and the following two meetings should be highlighted in a National Lampoons story, let me give you some background information. I moved the Sunday (the week before) the first meeting. I started Weight Watchers the saturday before was was freaking out as to what I was going to be able to eat that week.

So the first night I headed off to Willcox, AZ for the Cochise meeting. I moved in with my aunt and uncle and  my aunt had been visiting out of state the first week I was there but she came home while I was in Willcox. Not a big deal. Because of schedules, a co-worker and I had to come back that night so I very politely sent my aunt a text letting her know we were leaving Willcox at 9ish pm and that it would take about 3 hours to get home but I had to drop my coworker off and would be home around 12:30 Tuesday morning. She sent a message back to come through the front door, she left the light on. That wouldn't really be a problem except my keys were laying on my dresser in my bedroom. But I had the garage opener. I pulled in the drive at 12:30 am and grabbed my stuff, opened the garage door and came upon a locked door leading into the house. I'll pause so you can stop laughing. I searched both their cars looking for a house key and petted the dog who came out to meet me. I went back to the truck and sent them a text telling them I was home and waiting outside. No response....... it's now almost 1:30 and I am tired so I send them another text letting them know that I am sleeping in the truck and when they get up (used to be around 4-4:30) to come and get me. But it was hot and muggy and so I didn't fall asleep till 4:30 then at 5:50 I woke up because I had a thought that with the windows down a person could see me sleeping in the drivers seat (the back seat was full of meeting stuff for two meetings and the way back was full of sound equipment.) someone walking by (retired people who get up early in the gated community) might call the cops. Thankfully my aunt came out at 6 and asked why I didn't use one of the two keys hidden in the garage? So moral is I know know where the hide-a-keys are and I always take my house keys with me.

The ribbon cutting on the new Yuma County Farm Bureau building.  
I slept about 3 hours on my bed Tuesday morning before I had to get up to head out to pick up my co-worker to go to Yuma. It was a special meeting this year for two reasons- they opened their new office building and Senator McCain came and spoke for a few minutes. They do there meeting a little different in that they do all their business stuff first and then break and do their banquet with awards and dinner so special guests don't have to sit through all of it. It's handy and doesn't make the night really long. McCain ended up coming because his staff was planning on attending and mentioned it to his people and they decided the morning of the event that the Senator would come too. So it was really special.

Senator McCain and Me!
So the meeting went off without a hitch and we headed home, I again sent a text but I didn't have my keys!!! We could see a storm east of us as we drove back to Phoenix and when we were about 8 miles from Dateland, we had to pull off the road and sit in the dark, no lights, no brakes, nothing because we were in a dust storm. We sat there about 25 minutes before going on to Dateland were we had to stop and get gas because the normal half a tank to get home was used to go that far.  We made it to Gila Bend and that is where I had to turn it over to my co-worker because I could barely stay awake a DPS officer stopped us and told us the road was flooded and we would have to go around... so we did  and instead of getting home at 12:30 Wednesday morning I pulled in the drive at 2 am. Man was I tired and a little cranky because I am not a fajita person and that was what the dinner was so I skipped it and then was going to have some cheetos at Dateland but my co-worker brought me fritos instead. I still ate about 10 fritos.

By the time Thursday and Friday rolled around I didn't care what happened at a meeting I just wanted them to elect officers, delegates and pass policy but the awards at Pima's meeting on Friday were so good to see and hear how the recipients were so humble and thankful for their award. A few didn't even know they were getting anything. Pina'ls was inspiring and almost made me cry. Pinal had people actually speak very passionately about an issue that is affecting them and they weren't a board member but they got involved with the process and it made me have a renewed faith in the Farm Bureau system. And they gave me flowers. I didn't know they were going to do that and it had a butterfly in the flowers and that reminded me of my grandma which I miss terribly.

So it was a crazy, unexpected week of county annual meetings but I saw a new president getting elected, new board members joining and people being recognized for their work.

The following week was just as crazy but I din't have any county annual meetings, just a two day state board meeting, a policy development meeting (with yummy pie) and a picnic (yummy home made icecream and pit BBQ beef).

This last week, I had two county annuals- one in Navajo and the next night in Greenlee. I love Greenlee's meetings because they are in the front lawn of a farmer's house next to his corn field, they serve the best roast beef (melts in your mouth) and this year I was bringing pies from Trappers in Taylor for dessert. Monday was a holiday and so Graham's board meeting was moved to Tuesday then Wednesday was Navajo and Thursday was Greenlee. That is what was suppose to happen but the reality is that Monday night I started no feeling well and by Tuesday night after getting home from Safford, I was sick. I missed the two county annual meetings because of the flu. It was the first time and I didn't like missing them.

I still have two more to go- Apache is tomorrow night and Graham is next Thursday. I think that after six years of them running fairly smooth, I must have hit the seven year itch for all this craziness to happen in one year.