NORMAN — I grew up in a small town. So small in fact, that the highlight of the year was a fall festival held at the end of October. As kids it was the best time of year. We got out of school a day and a half, big stuff when your in elementary school. There were parades, candy, a carnival and even a queen.
I never really cared much for the queen. It was the parades and candy I was most interested in. The carnival was OK, but it didn’t hold a candle to that parade or that candy.
As I grew older, I realized that the carnival wasn’t so bad. The carnival, I learned through my more advanced girlfriends, was a place to meet boys. Some of those boys were even from exotic places like the town 10 miles over. But, I still didn’t care for that queen.
And then I grew even older. I eventually enrolled in the journalism program at the local community college. That same community college that was known for electing a fall festival queen.
Every department of the college would nominate one sophomore girl and through a series of eliminations that I can only assume was equally compared to an electoral college, in 1993, I found my name on the list of queen candidates. I was devastated.
Most of the girls that were nominated were thrilled. They were already talking about their dresses, designing their hairdos and crossing their fingers they’d win top honor. Instead of excitement, I had lots of questions. Most of them were questions aimed toward my journalism advisor and all of them pertained to how could something like this happen to me? I’m not queen material, even on a good day. I’ve never been one for a fancy gown. In fact I only own two formals, one is my wedding dress and another is a bridesmaid dress. I never went to prom. I ditched homecoming dances. And I never wanted to be a fall festival queen. I don’t think the queen gets any candy.
I calmed down, eventually, and hoped for the best. That some how, some way, my name would work itself off that queen candidate list. I knew there was still a chance that I wouldn’t make it to the final five. I told all my friends they’d better not vote for me. I didn’t campaign for my title, either.
And, I’m happy to report, I got my wish. Through the process of elimination, in 1993 I got to watch that fall festival parade from the comfort of the sidewalks like nature had intended. I didn’t wear a crown. I didn’t have to put on a cape or carry a scepter. And, I got to eat candy. A bullet dodged indeed.