Missing this international trade show—called World Dairy Expo—is harder than I thought. It’s not just a business event for me, I am realizing.
It has been a family thing for me. My mother pushed me in a baby stroller through the very first one. They continued the tradition over the years, allowing us to miss a rare day of school. I brought college roommates up from Illinois into Madison, Wisconsin, delighting in introducing my Chicago suburbanite friends to the world of show cattle and all things dairy.
My children have slept behind my booth, having accompanied me to the show as nursing babies. They went annually until their schedules just didn’t allow it anymore. Often my Massachusetts-based sister flew with them, which allowed them to miss less at school and still make it to the show.
My Illinois relatives all help. My father used to help with move-in, and my sister and nieces took over when he no longer could. I think my sister and mother have covered my booth for at least a day each, for the last twenty years running.
Every year, I also see countless friends from around the globe. This is our meeting place, our time to catch up and our chance to reconnect in person.
The only thing I don’t like about this show is being away from Vermont near peak foliage season. (Yes, it’s a thing around here: foliage tracking is real, television weathermen give updates so you which areas are hitting their colors at any given time, and leaf peepers represent a serious boost to the tax base for everyone.)
So today, I have filmed a quick snippet of me wishing everyone well, standing out in a field near my house, with the trees all doing their glorious fall show in the background. Tomorrow I’ll pull it together with photos from previous years at Expo. Then I’ll send it to my email list, combining my warm greetings, sharing the color from an area most of them never see—and giving us all a chance to look back on other years’ great memories.
It’s a silver lining to remember and share, even if I can’t do that in person with everyone this year.