Saturday, February 28, 2009

Something About American Beauty

I was mentioning my new blogging experience to Don, one of our overnight security guards, and we got talking about journals, blogs, written histories for our descendants and the like. I told him about talking with my daughter earlier in the day. One of her iPod songs had a line about "meeting Miss America" which reminded me about the time I played piano for a contestant in some beauty pageants.

Leslie was a year or two older than me in high school. She had acted in the school musicals, I believe, and was venturing into the pageant world. So we spent hours practicing "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma!. And we went to the Junior Miss pageant, won at the Miss Gresham pageant, and got to go down to Seaside for the Miss Oregon Pageant. 

Because this was the big deal -- with press, lunches, dinners, rehearsals, and all other manner of time consuming activities -- her family could barely see her. We only a little rehearsal time in the high school gym to get used to the raised stage and standard lack of acoustics.

The big night came and on we went. We got through our routine and I only mangled one short section. Of course, I was sure that I had blown it for Leslie. I immediately left instead of waiting for the rest of the show to get a ride back to the downtown motel where I was staying with her family. The walk in the summer darkness was only 2-3 miles; just right to give myself a pretty good dressing down.

Everybody wanted to know where I'd been when I finally showed up. I explaind how I had messed up and was sure that was going to affect Leslie's changes. Of course, nobody else had noticed and wondered what I was talking about.

This is where Kristin chimed in with, "That's what I do, too!" May the psychological quirks of the fathers be visited upon the daughters ...

Something about this story reminded Don of his father's workmate at the factory on the South Side of Chicago. The chum told his old man that his daughter had various things to go to and needed someone to go with her. Was his son interested?

So, Don was asked but he declined. To me he said, "Why would I want to go out with some dumb, Polish broad?" He continued, "After awhile, though, when I finally met Kim Novak ...." and his voice trailed off.

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