What I am about to reveal is a strange bunch of bird feathers – a tale of sorts, but not tail feathers, and almost true.
You see Big Momma Mertis had just left her weekly beauty salon appointment. Oh, it was a beautiful blue-bird-type-sky morning – all was perfect in the world on this Friday, until Jimmie Jane sashayed by on her way to Gloria’s Little Touch of Magic Beauty Salon. Big Momma eyed her from the distance and thought; it takes a little more than magic for Jimmie Jane.
Big Momma Mertis quickened her step to make a clean get away before Jimmie Jane, her neighbor of 50 plus years and fellow Sunday School Class member, could take notice. She was almost to her fire-engine-red Mercury Sable, when there came a high-pitched squeal, “Hey, Mertis!”
It was too late – busted … now she had to acknowledge the woman who brought her more grief than smiles, “Oh, hey, Jimmie Jane.”
“Mertis – I have the most wonderful news. I just learned today is the last day to sign up for the Miss Kudzu Beauty Contest. Right after my hair appointment, I will pick up my granddaughter, Junie Jane, and take her to enter. I know she will win!”
Well, you could have splashed Big Momma with a pan of scolded water and not made her any hotter. “Just what makes Jimmie Jane think Junie Jane is beauty contest material? Why, that kid looks too much like her grandma to have a chance.” Big Momma muttered as she cruised Friendship Lane, headed toward her house located on Good Will Loop.
Big Momma slammed the front door and immediately direct dialed her daughter-in-law’s home phone. Suddenly her buzzard mood became sparkling. “Hello, dear – is our little Mertis Mandy home from school? I have a great idea for her.”
Within ten minutes, Big Momma Mertis and Mertis Mandy arrived to sign up for the Miss Kudzu Beauty Contest. The battle began.
Both girls giggled when they realized what was going on – a real beauty contest. They ran and hugged each other at the excitement. Big Momma said. “Now girls, you are no longer friends during this contest, but competitors.” The girls looked confused.
Jimmie Jane answered. “That’s right – no contact with each other until the contest is final and Junie Jane, my darling, is crowned as winner.”
Yes, things did go exceedingly well for Mertis Mandy and Junie Jane. The contest was down to three finalists - the third young lady being Melanie Walters. Both Momma Mertis and Jimmie Jane didn’t figure that Melanie had a skunk’s chance. You see her grandmother lived out of state and so Melanie didn’t have the benefit of grandmotherly guidance.
Everyone was perched on the edge of their seats as the Master of Ceremony, Principal, Mr. Wilson, cleared his throat for the grand announcement. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will take the liberty because of the weird, uh, I mean, unusual circumstances of the competition to advert from normal protocol. Let me make clear that the decision of the winner was easy – it was the runners up that became confusing. So without further delay let me announce the winner of the Miss Kudzu Beauty Contest is Miss Melanie Walters and tied for third place is Miss Mertis Mandy McLemore and Miss Junie Jane Culpepper.”
“What do you mean tied for third place?” shouted both Big Momma Mertis and Jimmie Jane simultaneously. “What happened to first and second?”
The two grandmothers eyed each other with an air of continuing competition. Big Momma shouted, “I demand a recount!”
Jimmie Jane snorted, “This contest should be declared in contempt!” You see, both Big Momma Mertis and Jimmie Jane watch Judge Judy and Court TV every afternoon. They know fraud and trickery when they see it!
So now you know why on this beautiful spring morning Momma Mertis is in one of her buzzard moods. But, after all, tomorrow is another day, and the TV has just announced the Miss Moonlight Serenade Contest. Big Momma is humming once again as the dials the telephone.
“Hello, Mertis Mandy – I just heard the most marvelous news.”
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. See her website: www.annemckee.net
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