When I was told at the beginning of the week that I would be covering the Texoma Exposition and Livestock Show, I didn’t fully know what to expect.

I had a vague sense of what things would be like, as I’ve attended at least one auction before and my girlfriend raised show goats and rabbits when she was growing up.

Some might call me a “city boy” and I suppose that’s fair, but I do know a little about life in rural America. Many of my older relatives live in a tiny agricultural town in western Pennsylvania. I was lucky enough to spend a week or two each summer on my family’s farm and I did a little work around the place. I wasn’t around for the glory days, but I got a glimpse of what goes into a functioning farm and I’m thankful for that.

But the week-long livestock show was a crash course in all things agricultural. Each day I found myself blankly staring at the show results as if they were ancient hieroglyphics or some sort of cipher. I know my experience was just a scratch of the surface, but at least I can list off four different pig breeds. Catch me on a good day, and I might even be able to tell you five.

For me, it was surreal to watch people coat their cattle with high-end hairspray and to dodge head-butting goats which sported monogrammed blankets. But for the exhibitors and most of the folks there, it was just another year at the livestock show.

As part of my coverage, I had the privilege of meeting Mati Abner, a remarkable young woman who, for the first time, made it possible for area students with special needs to take part in the show. I sent her a text message and tried to schedule an interview, but didn’t get a response. No big deal, I knew she was busy. A little while later I gave her a call. The phone rang and rang, but at the last second someone on the other end picked up. I said “hello” and heard someone laugh before hanging up. As a journalist, I’m not exactly surprised when people hang up on me and though the situation wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Thankfully she called me back and we met shortly thereafter. She apologized for the phone call and explained that she had been washing her pig at the time. We both laughed. Only in Grayson County could an excuse like that be completely acceptable.

Happy birthday Saturday to LaRanda Johnson, Cheryl Wood, Lynne Harris, Trinity Hill and Shawna Nelson, all of Sherman; Kathy Thomas of Savoy; Dean Arrington of Gunter; Lucy Chavarria of Durant; and Cindi Graves of Morgan.