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this number represents the number I finally received in the Miss America line up, as well as the number of strokes I had during the placement draw on Monday. So, in case any of you were wondering just how we get our numbers for Miss America, here is what you’ve been waiting for…So we all(all 53 contestants and our boards) sign into the online lottery and watch as the states are drawn. As I confidently sat down to my cursed Macbook I said aloud, “I just know I’m going to be in the first 5 states drawn.”…JINX…The first five pass, then the second, then the third, then the fourth, and so on. About an hour into this madness(and well into the 40’s) I am out on my balcony dejected, we’re not even watching anymore. We had tried everything…”Everyone cross your fingers!…say a prayer!…don’t look at the screen!…look at the screen!…” All to no avail. Then finally, I’m drawn. Limited choices left, but we decided that it was just meant to be. So, I’m number 5. I’ll do interview(with Rush Limbaugh btw, who is the first judge to be revealed) Monday morning, Onstage Question Tuesday, Swimsuit and Evening Gown Wednesday, and Talent Thursday. AHHH!
So, just when I thought that the questions couldn’t get any better, I head into the mountains. Amidst my schools this week I found myself in West Liberty Kentucky. My last school there was Ezel Elementary. I always enjoy schools like this one, it’s a smaller school(one that called the children to the cafeteria/gym by word of mouth rather than by intercom). As they file in the janitor and I are still trying to find a plug in that will work to play my song, so they see me as they’re filing in(I usually hide and make a big entrance). An argument takes place…”That’s her!”, “No it’s not, she’s our age.”, “No she is not, look at her hair!”, “How can you tell how old she is by her hair?”, “I just can!”…the argument ceases as I turn around and wave to them…they look as if they’ve seen a ghost. They all get settled. My talk is longer on this day. They really get me going. I like them so much that I took about 30 questions at the end, building up to the final ‘crown wearing’ questions. When I open up the floor I must prepare myself for anything. A seventh grader yells out, “You’re hot!” he is quickly silenced by his teacher who says, “Now that is not a question is it?”…”No it is not!”…he bravely exclaims. I thank my new friend who will probably be in trouble as soon as I leave and continue on. The final question is quickly approaching and I had my eye on this little boy with curly sitting indian style in the front row. He raises his hand for every question, but I knew he had a good one so I saved him for last. “Ok, now it’s time for the person who thinks they have the best question to raise their hand.”…they all raise their hands…but he is my guy. “You, in the blue shirt(they all look down at their shirts and sigh…all but him…he knows)”. He waddles up. “Now what is your name?” As he says his name into the microphone and it blares over the speakers and he realizes what he has gotten himself into…I could see his thoughts leave his mind…”What is your question?” He remembers, he is on a mission, he immediately begins…”WHY…does…”…(it’s loud, they laugh, he backs up a bit)…”Why do…”…(we’re all waiting, eyebrows raised, ears open)…”Why do…”…(he looks up at me)…”Why do snakes eat people?”…(he then lets out a huge sigh of relief). It’s off his chest. As the children and teachers laugh I too am about to burst into laughter, but then I look down at him. He is serious. He wants to know why snakes eat people and he is waiting for me to answer this question for him. “Oh…well…” I realize that I could be dealing with a phobia here so I must be careful. “Did you see that on TV?” I think he had a miniature flashback as he shakes his head yes…he is now looking at me like I’m the snake…I grab his chubby little hand. “It’s ok, because do you know what?” He now wants to talk into the microphone so he leans his little Kindergarten head down and speaks directly into it, “What?” “Everything you see on tv isn’t real…And guess what, when I was little(he’s looking at me like, um, you’re still little) I used to love snakes!” He then writes me off as crazy. I’ve first told him that things on tv aren’t real, and now I loved snakes. I had nothing to lose at this point so I went on…”Yep, and when I was 3 and 4 years old I used to run out into the yard and catch them and bring them into my house and let them go!!…And do you know what my mom would say?…Oh my gosh THERE’S A SNAKE IN THE HOUSE!” They all laugh at me now. Even him. His phobia left him right before my eyes. And this story is true by the way, so true. I did this. From the time I could walk I would catch snakes in our yard and drag my new friends into our house. My poor mother, it’s a wonder she had three more after me…Oh my gosh, and I almost forgot about this special little girl at another school who, when I asked for questions stands up, lifts her shirt up to reveal her insulin pump and yells out, “Miss Kentucky, I have diabetes and I don’t let it ruin my life!!” She almost got to have my crown.
The rest of the week involved a lot, including secret meetings about my Miss America wardrobe at my favorite dress shop Miss Priss…another trip to Miss Priss where I ran into my string bean sister queen Maria Montgomery(I can call her my sister queen because she is Miss Kentucky USA). She is fifteen feet tall and glows in the dark. She is perfect. I have no makeup on and just ran in through a rainstorm. This happens to be the day where every customer who comes in wants a picture. I was glad to see her as well as all of my best friends at the shop. Elizabeth, Nola, and Cara, I love you, even when you don’t have strawberry oreos.
Then for my favorite part of the week, my photo shoot with Jerame Stephens, a hidden treasure here in my new city. Right after I won he had offered to ‘shoot me’ at some point during my reign, so on this free morning of mine he ‘captured’ much more than my photos, but my friendship as well. It’s rare that a photographer can truly capture your spirit in their work…and my spirit is fast…he has mastered that.
Then Keeneland with Sarahbelle(Sarah Billiter). As soon as I got to the tailgate I heard her mutter under her breath to the griller, “Um, can I please have one more cheeseburger?” This is why we are friends. My first time at Keeneland will certainly not be my last. I ended up on the track unsure of my duties but sure that the blonde walking toward me was Charlize Theron. I am so cool with celebrities, “Oh my gosh you’re so pretty in person, I mean you’re so pretty in real life, I mean…” She thanked me…I thanked her…for some reason…cool. Middle school boys, I know just how you feel when you forget your questions.
And now I brace myself…here comes a new jam-packed week…one filled with more chubby little hands and a few more of the best days of my life…BYE!

P.S. Get well soon Natalie Canfield.
P.S.S. Yes, that is me with the snake in the picture at the top…circa 3 years old.

Oct 12, 2009


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