...tossing a coin is fairly tough under pressure. As I practiced this art on the sidelines of the UK/Florida game last weekend, I realized that this may in fact be one of those things that I'm just not that good at(which joins the list with trying to do a 'cool wave' to celebrities). We (myself, the refs, and the captains of both teams) were summoned to the center of the field...they walked and I ran(our stride ratio was about 16:1) through a cloud of firework fog into the circle. They hand me the coin(which if felt was the size of one of those free weights that you put on exercise machines) that I was to balance on my tiny red thumbnail and launch into the air...and somehow I did it! I also almost rammed heads with the captain of the Gators as we both dove our heads forward to see what side it landed on(which I kind of wish would have happened, then maybe Tim Tebow and I would have been roommates in the hospital). Kidding. Cats won, which means WE won! I love tossing coins now. We're changing my talent to coin tossing at Miss America.
I have turned into quite the wildcat(uk wildcat) over the past couple months. I love the games. Now that I am sugar deprived(kind of) I find the concessions much more appealing. I take one bite of cotton candy and I turn into a six year old...wanting to rip the wildcat head off to reveal his identity, screaming for the wrong team because I'm just so excited, etc. The Alabama game this weekend was the same way, as I got extremely frustrated that I couldn't seem to master the binoculars. Between my blind right eye and eyelashes there is just no hope. I got to hang out with some of my fellow Union Co. friends in their suite with a better little better view, so i didn't even need those binoculars anyway...
And now, for an apology...not for breaking sweet eating promises to you(because those are automatically implied now) but for neglecting my blog duties for two weeks. There is no excuse. My mom and dad have begun a 'WE WANT WEEKLY' protest campaign if anyone wants to join...just kidding. I was waiting on coin toss pictures, that I still have not received...but that's not an excuse. Sorry.
So, these last two weeks...Watterson Elementary, I must touch on this because I met the tiniest little boy with the longest little legs of all time(refer to photo) who was yet another reminder that height does not necessarily coincide with age, and that I am the luckiest person in the world as I held his little hands. I thought that he was old enough to come up and answer a question so I called him up...he jumps over the head of the child in front of him...dead give away that I was wrong. "Ok, what is your dream?", no answer, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", he is thinking, hard. As I am now down on my hands and knees at eye level with him I begin to rephrase the question. Right in the middle of it he dives toward the microphone and yells "BIG!". Smart. As he hops back to his seat I try and cushion his answer so they won't laugh too hard, and so that I can turn it around so that the other children will gain some sort of knowledge from his example, but then look back at the little boy, who is gleaming with pride and so confident in his answer...i immediately stopped and we gave him another round of applause. I wish I could have packed him in my crown box and taken him home, but his legs would not have fit.
I carry on to Mount Sterling, where I did a radio show on WMST. Great show. I talked 650 miles per hour to this dynamic duo of a husband and wife(who were also blessed with the gift of gab) who later told me that they were considering naming their stray cat after me. It was an emotional day, I almost cried. Then on to the Whitaker Bank Women's Only Luncheon, where I was the keynote speaker(information that I was not completely aware of until I glanced at an invitation an hour before). However, it turned out to be one of my favorite speaking engagements of my reign. To have the respect, attention, and admiration of the women who paved this road before me is something that I can't describe. I cried, they cried, it was one of those rare moments where everything just connects. Afterwards I asked the staff at the country club if there was any chance there was a hidden camera in the room so that I cold get a tape of it...odd request coming from a Miss America contestant maybe...
Then on to New Castle Indiana to Jim and Joy Robbins, the king and queen of interview coaching. I sit on the couch, where numerous Miss Americas and their fellow competitors sat before me, but also, where another version of myself sat just two years ago. As I began preparing for Miss Kentucky I knew that I had all the will, love, and compassion for this job, but it was just so hard to express. Jim and Joy taught me how to finally show it, so they would finally see it.
Then Jamie Breeding(Miss Ky director) and I headed on to Nashville for two days of pageant prep. As soon as we rounded the corner and my former stomping grounds came into view I had to stomp out that small longing to be back...I have the best job in the world...what was that feeling?! I was put through the ringer again during a mock interview at my wonderful friend Gerald's house. We also visited Kim Grayson at her home, where she introduced me to her new make up line and reintroduced me to the fact that I do in fact wear too much make up sometimes...but I love it! She sent me on my way with the right amount of makeup on for the daytime as well as a bag full of her products! Then for the best part...Joshie! My old trainer and best bud(even on those days when I was hungry and threw weighted excercise balls at his pretty little face and made his teeth bleed). I got to see my old gym friends at my old stomping grounds(the most literal version of stomping grounds ever since it really was a place where I stomped around angry about working out often). Other than my body fat measurements it was beyond fun.
Back to Lexington for a casino themed event at Keenland. Very fun. I married a 7 year old in a fake wedding. Then on to Shelbyville for an Autism Chili Cookoff...genius...the kids and the cook off. There was a little girl there who completely relieved me of my duties as she instructed me to not only give her my crown and banner, but also my chair at the autograph signing table. She then scribbled sharpies on my autograph pads and handed them out to passers by. She was so special. Later, when I was brushing her hair a little 3 year old boy named Mac came back to my table. "Mac, do you want another autograph?" I asked. He looks at me like I'm a crazy person and says, "Aren't you going to brush my hair?". "Well of course Mac, hop on up here." As I was brushing his red hair his dad was laughing and yelling across the field, "What are you doing to my son?". Mac then decides that I need to sign his dad a picture, I ask him his dad's first name and he says Mac's Dad. Mac's Dad got an autograph. Small towns making a mark on our autism journey warms my soul more than the 15 different types of chili I sampled.
Then the weekend proceeds as I have a throwdown backstage with BOBBY FLAY. He is sassy, as am I(in a good way), so we really hit it off. He won the throwdown because he let me eat his ribs and homemade biscuits onstage. I introduced him then sat onstage with Richie Farmer and his family and my fellow Miss Ky sister and sampler Kaitlynne Dorothy. This was all at the first annual Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show. It was spectacular. Food is SO much fun when you're not supposed to eat it.
I went on to the Alabama game, where I got to see some of my old friends on the team, then on to Miss Lexington. I wasn't prepared for the line, "and now let's meet the contestants vying for the title of Miss Lexington, to compete for the title of Miss Kentucky 2010." Ahhh, I wanted to grab the crown and run out, then I realized, I still have 10 months. I never want to stop, but I know that I need to give someone else this gift. I'll be ok with it by then. I think.
I can't even tell you how the people of this state make me feel every day. In the gas station, in the grocery store, in the teachers lounge, at a ballgame. They endlessly pour out their love and support all over me. They go on and on, thanking me for talking to their child, or taking on a cause that hadn't been noticed, or stopping for a picture. I wish I could open up my mind at that moment so they could realize what they have given me...it's far far more than what they think I've done. I'm the lucky one. I've been loved more than anyone deserves and that is why it has become my responsibility, joy, and lifelong vow to love back.