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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY —
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: A Crowning Achievement
In June 13 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

Dag-gummit, I’m the "Man of the House," I put my foot down, and that’s all there was to it.

My first, big booty, hateful-like-mommy baby girl was going to do one, and only ONE beauty pageant.

So, three years ago, at Lakefest (WHOA! Hot topic, there, that one...), I wore a reasonably clean and socially acceptable outfit, walked Baby Kate out in front of hundreds of people in over 90 degree heat, and accepted our prize of...nothing.



Enough of that.

How, how, how. (As ZZ Top would say.)

A few weeks ago, my wife, Renee’, thought she was going to pull one on me.

In the middle of a conversation, she said something like, "Well, I also need to find Kate a pair of shoes for the pageant."

She quickly changed the subject as she noticed that "What did you just say?" look on my face.

"You said something about a pageant, right?" I asked her.

"Um...yeah, Kate’s going to be in the Tiny Miss at the fair," Renee’ said.

"Oh, I see." I said. "I guess this was a decision Kate made on her own, then?"

"Well, yeah," Renee’ replied.

I suggested we just ask Kate, herself.


You know how in the Bible it says something about "wherever two are gathered," or something like that?

Add to that the fact two females were involved.

I quickly figured out my wife and daughter had somehow "conspired" to convince me to allow their participation in the pageant.

I crouched down (not easy for an old man), got "face-to-face" with Kate, and asked her if she wanted to be in a beauty pageant."


I could feel a "breeze" behind me as my wife was apparently frantically waving her harms around-motioning to Kate, who began to move her hand slowly back and forth, and blow kisses.

"Look!" Renee’ said, "she’s doing her ‘princess wave.’ "

"Yeah, how about that?" I bemused. "Where’d you learn that, Kate?"

"Mommy!" she said.

"Oh really?" I asked.

"Yes, daddy!," Kate said. "I’m a pwetty pwincess!"

I felt the fork go into me.

Over the next couple of days I had a flurry of borrowed or deeply-discounted dresses of every color, shape, form and fabric waved in front of me in attempt to "get my input."

"She’s kind of a tom-boy," I said. "Can’t we just put her in overalls, or something?"

Kate and Renee’ both exhaled and rolled their eyes-as if practiced to perfection..

"Princesses don’t wear overalls!" Renee’ said.

Kate shook her head in agreement.

They made a really good team.

A dress was finally chosen, and I was relieved.

But then shoes had to be found.

Then a bow.

Then another pair of shoes because the first ones "didn’t quite match."

Then ribbon for another bow.

Then "accessories."


"Accessories" for a three-year-old?!

A bracelet.

Another bracelet.

(Thank the Lord for Mighty Dollar!)

But aren’t "in" this year.

Had to be "flip-flops."

"Flip-flops" for a beauty pageant?!

And the "flip-flops" needed to match the dress.

Along with the ribbon to match the flip-flops to match the dress to match the bracelet to match the...yeah, it was all starting to sound like a demented fairy tale, and I was feeling like the Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.

And didn’t Kate need a haircut?

She was kinda looking like the Rubber Soul-era Beatles.

Of course, her haircut came on a day when Kate had not napped.




The fit from the house continued to the store, to the salon and parts unknown.

The screams reminded me of the sound those big jets make when they taxi onto the runway...only louder.

Pageant day finally arrived.

Although I, of course, think she’s beautiful, I suspected Kate wouldn’t win.

The day before, I bought a "play" tiara guessed it, Mighty Dollar, because I decided we would "crown" our own "winner" at home.

I was pleasantly surprised when Kate did well at the pageant.

I had bet a friend my daughter would be the one to have to be carried off the stage kicking and screaming, or she would unknowingly walk right off the stage, or fall to the ground, and roll around having some kind of fit.

None of these things happened.

She was pretty, darn cute.

She ran to her first "mark," ran to the judges," posed all "cutesy," and eventually found her way back to her seat.

No surprises, no trophy, but I was still proud.

We stopped by to visit family and I gave Kate her "crown," which I then noticed "lit" up when you pressed a hidden button.

Kate was tickled.

So tickled, that she didn’t take the tiara off...FOR TWO DAYS.

That night, as she fell asleep, I tried to gently lift-then pry-the tiara from her tangled hair.


Fine, just sleep in it.

I would check on her during the night and see a "light show" from her bed.

We were getting ready for church the next day when I noticed that yep, the tiara was still on her head.

"You’re not going to let her where that to church, are you?" I foolishly asked my wife.

She and Kate both shot me "The Look."

Drop it.


It’s hot.

I tried not to acknowledge my daughter with the "light up head" as we arrived at church.

But it was hard NOT to notice when she was among a group of kids who got up in front of the church to perform a song from Bible School (which was really awesome, by the way).

There was Kate, right in the middle of the group, and she would occasionally point to her tiara-like nobody noticed the tiny, UFO with swirling lights on her head.

Later that day, I asked Kate if maybe she wanted to take the tiara off so we could "polish it."

She looked at me with some suspicion, then carefully removed it from her head and handed it to me.

"Daddy?" she asked. "I still a pwetty pwincess?"

"Yes, honey," I assured her.

"Daddy?" she said, "I your pwetty pwincess?"

"Yes," I said, scooping her up in my arms.

"And you always will be."

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