So I've lived in this town only about 6 months, and hibernated throughout the winter, so now that it's warm, I'm trying to get out there and check out the local activities. It's a really small town. Yesterday I was in THE bank, and I saw a poster for The 8th Annual Fiddle Contest. Adults & youth would be competing and all proceeds would go to the local non-profit youth group. I don't have kids, but when I first moved to this town I was told that the youth were "problematic". So tonight I'm being lazy & sitting here on the message board when I suddenly remembered that I was missing the Fiddle Contest! I had missed half of it, but threw on some mascara and "less grubby" jeans and headed 5 miles to town. When I got there, kids were outside selling brownies and rice crispy bars, so I got a brownie and tried to chat with the kids who were in charge of selling the baked goods. I asked what the proceeds went to, and when they struggled to answer, a youth coordinator came over and helped them explain that it goes toward the local youth group to give them after school activities, etc. One kid piped up, "Yeah, it's to keep us out of trouble". I JOKINGLY responded by saying, "Oh, so you don't tip over grave stones and stuff?" to which everyone was suddenly silent. I looked around and sensed discomfort, so I said, "I'm just teasing, I just moved into town". The coordinator/youth lady leaned in and quietly said, "We had a major 'incident' with the children and some gravestones last year....." OOOPS!!! (I don't see a blushing smiley face) I took my brownie and slinked inside and found a seat in the back. Turns out I missed the kids' competition entirely, and they were in the middle of an intermission before the adults competed. There was a silent auction of locally made products, so I checked them out and bid $20 on a nice hand carved wooden jewelry box with a velvet lining. The competition finally started. I was amazed to discover two things: 1. How many people in this small town play the fiddle, and 2. How truly BAD they all are at it. (God, I hope no one on this board happens to be from my town! ) Nonetheless it was pretty entertaining until they took yet another long intermission. I nearly fell asleep and a little girl next to me fell asleep leaning against my lap. At the end of the concert the auction winners were supposed to be announced, but they had taken so darn long with the needless intermissions that the lady announced "Well, you all know what you won, so come up and get your items and pay for them". Confused, I wandered up on stage, having no idea if I won anything or not. I walked over to the jewelry box and discovered my $20 bid was the only bid! I was a little surprised because there seemed to be a real "bidding frenzy" during BOTH intermissions, but I took my jewelry box and went up to the guy with the winning slip and a $20 bill. His eyes practically popped out of his head. "WELL!" He said, "Thank you, thank you VERY much! Tricia! Come meet our high bidder of the evening!" I was standing there in shock. You have got to be kidding me. She came over, looked at the slip and shook my hand sincerely. "Thank you SO MUCH!" she said, "Thank you for your generous support of our youth group! Do you have children here in town, I don't recognize you..." I said no, I had no kids, just trying to support the community. As I was trying to leave she whispered something to a kid who hurried over to me with a bunch of brownies and shoved them at me with a grin and said "Here!" I walked out of the little community theater with a handful of brownies and a twenty dollar jewelry box and half expected a police escort. You'd think I bid $1,000! There were about 50 items up for auction that varied from a quilt to artwork, to bird feeders and gift certificates. I drove off wondering what the heck all the other people had paid for those items if I was considered the "big spender"? I should have bid on the quilt!! I came home feeling a bit sad that $20 was such a big deal to them (no wonder they were tipping over grave stones), but also a bit amused at the small town antics I was able to observe, and also happy that I could help. By the way, as the youth coordinators were thanking me and shaking my hand, they proudly announced that my jewelry box was hand made by the local prisoners a couple towns over. I wasn't sure how to react to that..... "Oh; How nice........" And THAT, was my BIG nite out on a Friday night in Smalltown USA!