Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well I Was Born A Coal Miner's Daughter...

well sort of...a coal miner's grand daughter counts. I never know what type of situation I will find myself in by the end of the day, so when I ended up several hundred feet underground at Riverview Coal Mines with a personalized glittered hard hat on, it was no surprise. Mining has been the livelihood of many members of my community and my family for years, and as I always say, you can't turn your back on the people who made you who you are. So it is one of my many missions, to educate both myself and others on the good that coal mining brings. We always hear the bad, and like anything, there are things that needed to be addressed...and they were, and continue to be, in order to make mining cleaner. Heath, Ricky, my dad, a man named Cornbread, and I were in attendance underground. They gave me my very own personalized Miss Kentucky 2009 hard hat to keep. If Miss America doesn't work out look for me underground. Although the mines are cleaner, I certainly was not. I looked like I had been down many a chimney, and of course my dad insisted on 'running' by Wal Mart. Noone will recognize me soon as we walk in there are two little boys running at me full blast..."Miss Kentucky!!" They saw right past that coal dust and asked me to autograph their dad's Wal-Mart receipt...this was my favorite autograph situation to date.

This event was among the 6,000 that I had this past week in my hometown. When I go home I am relentless...I have to be, I love to be. I participated in the largest Veteran parade in the state in Madisonville. I got to do an unscheduled autograph signing when someone fell off the top of the fire truck float in front of me and the parade halted momentarily...they were ok.

I did about 20 schools while I was at home. From Pride, to Madisonville, to Hopkinsville, to Earlington, to Dixon, to every other city in the West, then back to Morganfield...My Morganfield. It constantly takes me back to the moment where every single event from my life in that tiny town came the moment where my dream came true, and in turn began a trend in my hometown among the young people to do the same. I went to St. Ann School until the 8th grade, then on to Union County High School(the only high school in the county). During my trip home I visited both my alma maters. At the high school I stood on the stage in the auditorium, holding the same ruby red slippers that I wore nine years ago on that same stage(playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz). Everything comes together in a matter of seconds in moments like that. However, the moment where it really came together was when we got to St. Anns. As I walked into the parish hall, my reception was similar to a surprise party...or new years...or both. They've been counting down the days...they've been making signs...they've been on the brink of bursting at the seams of their have I. I'm not sure that there has ever been more support in one room. Although they are all in their uniforms(with the exception of the ones in the Mallory Ervin Miss Kentucky 2009 T Shirts) they are far from the same. There is an amazing sense of individuality still present at my old school, but a rare form of it, it's mixed right in there with an underlying equality. Fifteen years ago, as a frizzy headed little shrimp tomboy, I took hold both of these things and ran with them. They are among the many gifts I was given that have powered my passions beyond those white walls. Those same walls now fence in ten of my boy cousins(whom I made come onto the stage with me and reenact the top five crowning moment). I can only do it to my them. The youngest of the 23, Paxton, a 1st grader there, thinks he is also my boyfriend. He wears a king crown at all time because he says that he is now the king of Kentucky...and he is.

The other schools this week were also filled with 'moments'...a little boy raised his hand with tears in his eyes and said, "Miss Kentucky...when you sang, it sounded so beautiful, it made me cry." Of course it moved me to tears, but I was quickly brought back to the real world when I was asked the dreaded, "Did you have to dye your hair blonde to win?" question. They keep me on my toes. Other notable events included mock interviews in Nashville(work outs, etc), a lunch at Cracker Barrel where I signed autographs for over an hour, a visit to the Earl C. Clements Job Corps(where I made some pretty awesome new friends who quickly warmed up to me and let me know that they've forever 'got my back' and that I have vocally made it, as they jumped to their feet in the middle of my song and began yelling 'you did that!' case you didn't know, that is the highest achievable compliment.) I also visited the WONDERFUL Home of the Innocents in Louisville for a day. You wouldn't believe the extent of the services and facilities it offers to help better the lives of any child with a little bit of a harder way to go in life...wings for the medically disabled, autism programs, teen pregnancy centers, a place for children to live who are tossed around by the system or neglected in their own homes, among so many others. We should be so proud to have Mr. Gordon Brown and his team of the kindest men and women in the state doing what they do. It is our duty to help those with less or with nothing at all, The Home of the Innocents have made this not only their responsibility, but their joy. I can't wait to go back.

I'm leaving things out, but my lazy eye has taken over and I am craving chocolate, so I must head to bed. But to you, thank you for reading. Thank you for your messages and encouragement. Thank you for your pride. And thank you for reminding me the reason why I have been put on this earth...every single day.

P.S...I do have three Christmas trees up at the moment...I am completely overwhelmed with 'reasons for the season' this year and Christmas is going to be intense...
P.S.S...Alden, I promise I will call you back very soon...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Birds...

as I found myself in the mountains once again yesterday, I was quickly reminded that contrary to popular accent is not that strong. So I was in Clay County, home of Richie Farmer, at my first school, Paces Creek Elementary. I enter. "Hey Paces Creek Elementary!!!!", "HIIII!", "What is your mascot?!" They all scream in unison, "The BURS!!" I thought they said birds. "Oh, the birds, I've never heard of a school with the birds as their mascot, that's cool." I am interrupted. "NO! The BURRS!" I still think they're saying the birds, so I continue, "Oh, well, I heard that but what kind of birds are you...flamingos, peacocks, penguins??" At this point they are frustrated and I am rambling off bird species like a rap song. At the top of their lungs they scream "THE BURSSS!!" Then one little Kindergarten boy in the front row says, "You know like, RRAAAWWWRRR!" "Oh...the BEARS!" Their mascot was the bears.

And then, for the best story ever. There is this red faced little girl(you must look at her in the pictures, she has on a yellow shirt) in the front row nodding her head, answering my questions aloud, and just really feeling my speech. So, you know the drill, question and answer time. Of course I call on her. "What is your question?"..."I like your dress I like your hair I like your face I like your crown..." she says. "Oh well thank you, you are just so nice. You know what boys and girls it really pays to be nice to people like she just was to me...and because I want to show you all that being nice is so important I am going to let Selena(Selana) wear my crown." She is giddy with hysteria. I give her the microphone to hold while I pin it on her frizzy little head. However, I quickly see that this was a mistake as she boldly puts it up to her mouth and SCREAMS (pointing her little finger right at her little Kindergarten friend in the front row)..."See Paige...I TOLD YOU STOP SAYING CUSS WORDS!!!!" I lost it...completely. Finished off the Clay County school system with Paces Creek Elementary, Clay Co Middle School, Clay Co High School, and Manchester Elementary. The song requests included "Wagon Wheel"...twice...which I sang while they clapped along(way too fast, I was rapping "Wagon Wheel" by the second verse) and the Dora the Explorer theme song(among others). Refused requests included the songs, "I Kissed A Girl and I Liked It" and "Whisky River". I had a great time in Clay fact, I think I just might be in love with a few of the children in Clay County.

This week included another Nashville trip(mock interview where we now pretend that one fake judge is Rush Limbaugh). It also included a birthday dinner with my friends Joshie, Chuck, Monica, Robin, Gerald, Cheese Dip, and Guacomole. And a work out that did not work out because I can not say guacoNOle. Oh well. Then Jade and I made a mad dash back to Lexington to transform ourselves into a fairy and a cupcake(I should already have turned into one by now, but somehow have not).

So we race into the door and I begin hot gluing my costume onto my first has always been last in my book...I just don't have time for that. But my homemade costume was almost better than the real thing. I loved it. I didn't want to take it Jade and I left Sarahbelle's law school Halloween party the rain quickly did that for me...posterboard is not waterproof...but my house was close. I love Halloween. I kind of feel like Halloween is everyday for me this year though. When you're 24 and wearing a crown and eyelashes, it counts as Halloween. By the way, my 'piece of cake' costume was far from a 'piece of cake' to maneuver in social situations...noone could come within 2 feet of me and the only dance I could do and look cool was the electric slide...because it is solo.

Kentucky Monthly asked my mom, sister, and I to be featured in and on their Christmas issue(coming soon). The shoot was at a winery called Elk Creek in Owenton, Ky, and is a hidden treasure in our state. We shot there all day(pictures, not clay pigeons, I have to clear that up because there is a hunting range on the premises). The place was beautiful, my mom and sister were beautiful(you see why I always say that I am so not the pretty one), and they were decorating for CHRISTMAS...which I feel slightly afraid to admit I have already an extreme. I put up my tree, sorry. I know a lot of people aren't down with putting a Christmas tree up in late October, but I just couldn't wait. I will wait until next week to show you a picture to be more appropriate.

Also, part two of my Christmas card photoshoot took place today at Corman's Marketplace(the BEST decorating store I have ever experienced). It was like being in a snowglobe(and I was the chubby little snowman in the middle of maybe a gingerbread man...whatever). I just know that the delightful men who own it really had me shaken up(laughing) as they flitted throughout the store like little elves with glitter from their head to their toes. You must visit this store. However, you will walk out looking like a mermaid. I swear coughed today and I could see a hint of glitter in the air...but maybe that's from the Christmas celebration going on in my living room...

Went to the UK game as well...with my brother Pikachu, and sister Tinkerbell. It was fun.

And now, as it is 3:00 in the morning, and I am going to get in trouble by both my father and Kim Canter tomorrow for being up this late when I have to wake up at 6 and drive to Louisville, so I must head to bed. However, there is a reason tonight that I am avoiding going to bed moreso than other nights...because I know I won't be able to sleep. I am headed west tomorrow to do one of the things that I know will be a highlight of my year. I get to go back and speak at St. Ann and Union County High School, my schools. I know that this will be one of those moments where the madness of this job(still the most wonderful job) and the hustle and bustle ceases for a second as I walk into those speak to those the places that made me who I am. I can't wait to feel that.

PS...Happy Halloween and Merry Christmas!! We will be skipping over Thanksgiving this year in the Ervin household so that I don't look like a big fat turkey at Miss America...kidding...maybe.
PSS...I'm leaving you with a picture...a Halloween themed picture to remind the world that I was so not cool in middle school...