It’s time once again for the Miss America Pageant. That also means it’s the “friendaversary” for me and my dear, dear friend Cheryl Lightfoot.
We have been there for each other for the best of times and the worst of times and it’s all because of a beauty pageant.
Back in 1989 we were coworkers in the master control area of a cable company and acquaintances, but I don’t think we particularly hit it off. That was until we were both working one Saturday night and the Miss America Pageant came on one of the many, many television monitors in the place.
Check out the video. We had so much to work with. I know it says 1990. Miss America is actually selected in the fall of the year before.
I don’t know which on of us began to snark on the contestants first, but I do believe it had something to do with clogging as a talent. (Fun fact: Jeri Lynn Zimmerman was third runner-up that year. She went on to gain fame as an actress on Star Trek: Voyager. Accusations she made in a divorce case against Paul Ryan are believed to have cost him the Senate seat that went to Barack Obama.)
As we sniped and talked, we learned that we have many interests in common. By the end of the evening, we were pals. We were mostly work friends (at that time she still lived in Fremont.) for some time, then she moved to Toledo and we fixed our husbands up on a “date” to go watch Ford Fairlaine together the following July. That resulted in one of the epic bromances of our time.
Once we were couple friends, we became pretty much inseparable. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, we helped each other move, we drove her to the hospital when she was in labor with her second child. Her sons have spent nearly every Thanksgiving of their lives at our house. Our common interests in books, all thinks British, Barbie dolls, geeky television, glittery makeup and uncounted other things gives us plenty to talk about.
Let’s be clear, I actually LOVE the Miss America Pageant. I love the clogging, the juggling and occasional ventriloquist act. I love evening gown and swimsuit competitions. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving out prizes for looks. I mean we give out prizes for being strong and smart – you have to work with what you have. And I really don’t think a contest for being a really swell person would be anywhere near as entertaining to watch.
Every year at this time, we mark our friendaversary. One year we made shadow boxes. Thank you Cheryl for 26 spectacular years of friendship. And thank you Miss America Pageant! Now bring on some cloggers!
In parting, I’d like to add this video, which I think pretty much sums up our friendship. If we’re ever in a pageant with a talent portion, we should do this one. While clogging and twirling a flaming baton.