the pageant type.;Melon Queen

I mention this being out of character for her because, although she is a pretty girl, she has never been the pageant type. Going into her senior year of high school, she was the only girl in her class still participating in three sports: volleyball, track, and basketball. She has never been afraid of dirt or sweat, just not the pageant type. In the months leading up to the contest she and her fellow contestants attended weekly classes with the past year’s queen in order to learn the ways of royalty. This includes smiling, walking, waving, talking, and dressing.

She would show her mother and I what she had learned almost daily and she was getting quite good. As I mentioned before she is not the pageant type and hoped that she would be heartbroken after the contest. The summer went quickly and the festival was upon us. The time had come to put on a suit and tie and escort my beautiful daughter to the stage, where in front of a thousand people she would walk the runway and answer a difficult question concerning what she would do with $100,000,000. The contestants would be judged by four representatives from different festivals across Ohio.

Ten girls were involved in the competition. I thought again how I hoped my daughter would receive a place and avert a broken heart. My wife and I sat in the front row. We watched and waited while the judges deliberated somewhere out of sight. This process seemed to take forever. When actually, after fifteen minutes, the judges came back with their decision. We held our breath as the MC took the envelopes and all ten girls held hands. The first announcement was that of Miss Congeniality. Everyone got quiet and my daughter’s name was called. A feeling of relief and joy came over me.

She would not go home empty handed, she had not just won an award, she won the award chosen by her peers. That was something to be proud of. The MC then announced the runners up. Fourth, third, second, first… then the moment of truth, who would be queen? Then I heard one of the most memorable things of my life, “The 2007-2008 Milan Melon Festival Queen is…… Amanda Richards! ” My daughter had won. I actually thought I was going to faint. Everyone was jumping, cheering, and yelling. The whole extended family surrounded us laughing, crying, and hugging.

As I looked up at my daughter and she looked back at me holding her roses and her two trophies in her arms, the smile on her face will be locked in my memory forever. The next year was filled to the brim with our travels around the state of Ohio with a giant slice of melon in tow. Attending festivals from Circleville to Geneva on the lake, and 26 others in between. The whole experience took us to places in Ohio I’ve never heard of and probably would never had visited had it not been for my daughters “seemingly out of character” decision to run for Melon festival Queen.