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Life & Lyrics- “County Fair”

Published on March 12, 2013, by in LeeLee Blogs.

Every year when summer comes around 

County Fair, County Fair

Everybody in town’ll be there

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

 

I tend to think that I thrive on chaos.   I did have three children in less than four years!  That’s a little nuts to say the least.  Some people would think it’s insane.  However, that kind of insanity suits my personality.  I was in pregnant/diaper mode and I was all in.  Besides, I wanted the horrid maternity clothes experience over and done.

My life was absolutely chaotic at times but by the time child number 3 came along, I actually had somewhat of a routine.  Somewhat…and when the baby turned one, I was ready for something new.  Not a new baby.  A new challenge.

Fortunately, I was presented with an incredible opportunity…a part-time job.  At the time, my dear friend and mentor Betty-Jo, was serving as News Director at the NBC affiliate. She asked me to consider going back to work.  I had worked at NBC-10 in Rhode Island for a few years before the kids came along.  Betty-Jo had children of her own and understood all too well the difficulty of balancing work and family life.  She thought working at the station would be a great new challenge for me and definitely worthwhile. I’ll never forget what she told me when we met to discuss the job possibility.

“You must learn how to manipulate situations.  If you want to take this job, you’ll figure out how to make it work.”

Betty-Jo & LeeLee

Betty-Jo & LeeLee

Those are some powerful words and so true! Since I was definitely in need of using my brain cells again (whatever was left of them), I did exactly what Betty-Jo suggested- I manipulated the situation.  I had a strong desire to work in the television industry again and an even stronger desire to use my degree and earn some extra money.  So, I hired a steady babysitter and enrolled the older boys in pre-school.  The best thing I did however was negotiated or should I say…manipulated flexibility into my job schedule.  Fortunately, I was granted permission to log some of my work hours from home.  It was a win/win situation for me.  I worked 10 hours at home and 10 hours at the TV station or on-location at a video shoot.  Manipulation accomplished!

I thoroughly enjoyed my new job and responsibility.  It energized me.  And it felt so good to get dressed again too.  Dressing in so-called house and Mommy clothes day after day was rather depressing.  Plus, I had just about had enough of play dates, coffee talk, The Teletubbies, Barney, and Thomas the Train.

I loved spending time in a newsroom with wonderful friends and co-workers and it felt so rewarding to use my journalistic skills again.  The new job was entirely different from the one I enjoyed Before I had my Children.  Lisa, BC…as I like to refer to it.  Back in the Before Children times, I produced the 6pm Newscast.  Now, in the AD (After Deliveries) times, I had the luxury of being a Special Projects producer…. specifically Event Planning (Weddings) and Environmental Reports.

DEM Report on Boat Safety

DEM Report on Boat Safety

After two years of producing stories on how to plan the perfect wedding or reporting on ozone alerts, Betty-Jo offered yet another new challenge.  I needed to wear several hats this time.  In other words, I needed to produce, supervise the edits, and do the on-camera reporting as well.  A Jack-of-All-Trades.  I embraced the opportunity.  I loved working behind the camera and in front of the camera.

I collaborated with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for one of my series of special reports.  The RI DEM aims to preserve the quality of Rhode Island’s environment.  I covered stories on clean air, clean water, open space, boat safety and regulations on Narragansett Bay, air pollution, water pollution, waste management, mosquito abatement, fish and wildlife, and agriculture.  It was a fabulous series and wonderful learning experience.

Without a doubt, my favorite DEM story was covering the Washington County Fair.  The Fair is a New England tradition and Rhode Island’s largest agricultural event.  This coming August will mark its 47th year.  There are so many exhibits set up at the Fair…arts and crafts, flowers, a farmer’s market, rides, antique tractors, country music acts, an animal farm with cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, and sheep.  There’s even a contest to crown the Prince and Princess of the Fair.

The Fair reminded me of a scene from the book Charlotte’s Web.  It really felt as if the ambiance took me back in time.  I wanted to scream…Where’s Charlotte?  Where’s Zuckerman’s famous Pig?  All kidding aside, it was a beautiful scene and a celebration of all aspects of agriculture.

The most hilarious moment that I ever experienced on camera (thankfully not on Live TV) happened at the Washington County Fair in August of 2006.  I set up an interview with the Director of the DEM.  The backdrop for the interview was the Livestock section.  Why not have animals in the camera shot? It’s a County Fair!  My cameraman was ready to roll tape and I was ready to ask questions but the Director was nowhere to be found.

All of a sudden, the Director taps my shoulder…

I turn around AND he shoves a cow in my face.  I kid you not! I froze.  I didn’t want to cause a scene and act all freaked out by a farm animal.  I just looked at the Director and politely told him that I just couldn’t conduct a serious interview with a cow in my camera shot.

OMG!  Interview with a Cow

OMG!
Interview with a Cow

OMG- we all laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was priceless! Then I remember saying to him…that cow will do Sir…medium-well please… with French fries on the side.

Every year when summer comes around

County Fair, County Fair

Everybody in town’ll be there

Whenever I hear Bruce’s song, County Fair…(it’s on the Essential Bruce Springsteen Collection Disc 3)…I think about my Special Project Reporting Days and the Amazing Washington County Fair.  Can’t wait to take my 3 boys to the Fair!

xo,
LeeLee

2 Responses

  1. Julia

    That is hysterical! Never miss a beat- love it!

  2. Cheryl

    LOL Great story.. I was leading towards our Carnival Days.. ;)