Isn't it wonderful to have people in your life who believe in you, no matter what? That is the subject of my blog is today. It's about a person who believed the best in me and for me...always.
I arrived home from college in 1968 to see an evening gown lying on my bed. My mother informed me, "The Rotary Club wants you to represent them in the Miss Hospitality contest. Of course, I told them you'd love to." Naturally Mother was prepared for a fight. I didn't like "pageants" and I was usually " the bridesmaid, never the bride." So when I shrugged my shoulders and said "Ok", she felt she'd won that round. Little did I know she was about to present me with one of the funniest and most heart-warming memories of my life.
The night of the local pageant I drove myself in my VW Beetle to the contest wearing "the" evening gown and made a quick stop at the post office to see if my grades had arrived from college. They had, and I was pleasantly pleased with the marks, so I thought that I had already won. With a "song in my heart" and my decent grades in my gloved hand, I got back in the car and drove to the auditorium. I'm not sure how it happened, but I won the pageant. Finally "the bride"!! Now on to the state contest.
There were 67 young women in the state contest that year. We spent a (surprisingly) action packed, fun-filled week on the coast. The worst part was swimsuit competition. (After watching some of the pageants today, we looked like nuns compared to what they wear now!) My family came down for the festivities and brought my mother's mother (aka: Nannie). The big night approached and everybody was swathed in a cloud of hairspray and perfume, eyelashes mascaraed (is that a word?) and hair that looked like it had been pumped up with a bicycle pump.
(Ok, here comes the great part!) When they announced the winners, they began with third alternate and went up. And oh, yes, one thing you have to know about my grandmother, she was probably the most down to earth, humble person I've ever known. She worked hard and was quietly humorous. I NEVER heard her raise her voice. (Back to story.) Third alternate was announced, second alternate and then first. When the first alternate was announced my grandmother, in the heat of the moment, jumped to her feet and began clapping and announced for all the world, "She's won, she's won, Angela has won!" Well, you guessed it! I did NOT win. While my relatives were trying to calm Nannie, they announced the name of a lovely girl from Starkville as the state's new Miss Hospitality.
What has this got to do with anything? Surely you see the point. Maybe none of the judges thought I was worthy of a crown that night, but my Nannie did. She believed in me and that belief has meant more to me than she will ever know. When times have been tough (and they have been) I have thought of that night and smiled, even laughed at the thought that my demure grandmother was so pumped that she actually got up and clapped and announced that I'd won! In her eyes I HAD won. Thanks, Nannie, for believing in me... oh, btw, she was mad the rest of the trip. Thought the judges were either blind or had been "on the take"....oh, please!
Tomorrow: The Swimming Lesson or It's Time to Become a Woman