These days, with greater frequency, loneliness stops by to stay awhile. More and more often, seeking relief from the overwhelming sadness, I find companionship among my many storage boxes. I know which boxes contain treasured sheet music or which box is packed with personal letters, and…. I have no trouble finding the emotional-filled boxes that are filled with stacks of photographs.
I suppose my favorite boxes are those filled with the fragile, never-aging, beauty queen memorabilia…..the southern belle gowns, rhinestone crowns, trophies, articles, black and white photographs and, recordings. For a brief time, sitting among the memories, I am linked to voiceless friends and playmates, instant replays of happier times. The beauty queen photos are true, the memories are real, and, for a few minutes, I can re-live the excitement--- the thrill of it all. Once again, I am the little girl playing dress-up, play-acting with the image in the mirror.
One day after winning the title of Miss Arkansas, my father spoke to me… alone. "Its times like these you want to freeze the moment...stay young forever, let time stand still, and never move beyond the good feelings." I only wanted to be Miss Arkansas for one year, but I wanted the good feelings---and my father---to last forever.
Each time I re-visit the beauty queen memories--- I am confronted with the same question: “Sally, If you could do it all again, would you? Knowing all you know today, would you still say “yes” to that first beauty pageant " ?!?!?!?
After all these years I’ve learned that some questions….. don’t have answers.