I’d like to tell you about four very special women in my life. Women who started out as Mrs. Oklahoma but ended up being very special friends to me.
In our first year, we crowned Brookie. She was young, between the boys in age, but she was oh so strong and oh so amazing. Our first year with the pageant was lean. We were just being restored from losing all of our material possessions prior to our move to Oklahoma. The pageant is not a money maker but we are very grateful if it pays for itself. That first year, it almost did. But we didn’t have money for extras.
As we drove to Chicago, in a rented Durango, it was very, very dark on the road. Every time I tried to put the bright lights on, I’d accidentally turn on the windshield wipers. We were laughing so hard. While we were talking about hopes and dreams for the pageant’s future, I told Brookie that I was sad that she wouldn’t get any of that she said, “But we’ll always have this.” And we laughed some more.
Rachel, oh Rachel. I could not have gotten through 2009 without her friendship, help and prayers. A beautiful and quietly determined young woman, Rachel was my rock while my mom was sick. She kept things going, talking to potential contestants, helping me out, while I was in Illinois.
We have a lot of fun. Rachel is my go to gal and I love that I can bounce ideas off of her. She loves the International system and I’m so grateful for her continued involvement in the pageant and in my life.
In the middle of June, Heidi was thrown into my life, and my car, as Mrs. Oklahoma. With a scant three weeks to get her ready to compete at the Mrs. International pageant, it seemed like we were joined at the hip. After we got back from Nationals and didn’t see each other every day, it seemed weird, like something was missing.
Through our mad dash to Chicago, we became friends. Heidi is smart and savvy and she never lost her composure even though there was so much to do an such a short time to do it in. Heidi loves what the International system stands for – marriage, family and community service – and works hard to make sure other people see these qualities in her.
Although I was never her director, Shelly is most definitely my friend. When I took directorship of the pageant, I didn’t have a reigning titleholder. As Mrs. Oklahoma International 2004, Shelly was the one who had most recently held the title. I knew her from another pageant and I asked her if she would serve as my reigning queen. She has been “in” since practically the first minute I started directing. I call Shelly my field general and I wouldn’t want to do the pageant without her.
These four special women are very special gifts in my life. At this Christmas time, when I’m thinking of my blessings, I count them right at the top of my list. My wish for you is that you have people in your life that are as special to you as these ladies are to me.