Monday, July 29, 2019

The Corduroy Dream

It is State Convention.  Elliot Hall of Music is swarmed with a cluster of blue corduroy jackets.  Members are shifting around in their seats as the house lights drop and a hush falls over the crowd as the State Officers begin opening ceremonies.  The State President grabs the gavel and proclaims those famous words:
“FFA members, why are we here?”

On the third gavel tap, thousands of blue jackets rise up around me, towering over me in a sea of National Blue.  I am not standing, however.  I am sitting in my red, white, and blue plaid shirt and jean shorts, amazed at what is happening around me.  Being a 5th grader, I was still too young to have my own FFA jacket. I was simply an observer, and a dreamer.  And although I had no idea what was ahead, I knew that I was going to have my own FFA jacket someday.
    Two years later, I zipped up my first FFA jacket.  It had been my dad’s—and all of his brothers’—jacket.  It had a “Vocational Agriculture” emblem on the back, and my last name hand-stitched to the front, from when my Grandma Berning had done it for my dad and his brothers.  I wore that jacket proudly to State Convention that year, and stood proudly as I had as the State President proclaimed:
    “FFA members, why are we here?”
    However, I was still waiting for my own FFA jacket.
    After that first convention in a jacket I was constantly asking my agriculture teachers when I would be able to finally get my own FFA jacket; one with my name stitched on the front.  And it seemed that every time I asked, my teachers would always remind me that my dad’s jacket had the right chapter on it, which made it fully functional for the time being.  Of course, I brushed these remarks aside.  After enough pestering, I was zipping up my FFA jacket and standing to these words:
    “FFA members, why are we here?”
      From that point forward, I had plenty of chances to wear my jacket.  I went to conferences, banquets, conventions, and took the occasional strut around my room clad in full-on Official Dress.  I was able to wear different jackets with my name, jackets that took me much farther than I had ever dreamed possible while I was staring in awe of those years before.
    Just a couple weeks ago, we received our State Officer FFA jackets.  As I picked it up, I started to remember back to that State Convention in 5th grade.  Back to the day when all I could dream of was having my own FFA jacket.  As I was looking at my new jacket, I turned it around and saw the word “Association” stitched on the back.  I remembered how my agriculture teachers had always told me that my dad’s old jacket would do the job back in the day.  And once again, those words echoed in my head:
    “FFA members, why are we here?”
    Here I was, standing with my own FFA jacket, just like I had dreamed about in 5th grade.  Yet, I realized something.  I finally understood why my teachers had always told me my dad’s jacket was fully functional.  I am here because of and I stand for those whom the names on the back of the jacket represents.

I ask you to consider this.  Why is it that you are here, and what do you stand for?  

Remember why we are here,
Noah Berning

1 comment:

  1. Well done. It’s a good reminder of who made it possible for us to be where we are. Keep up the good work!