One ‘real’ pageant


The word “pageant” makes me shiver. I’m sorry to all
of you moms out there who insist on calling them
“scholarship opportunities.”
Let’s face it – if you have to give your 6-year-old a
full set of fake nails or paint their face with
something that goes by the name “Barbarella” or
“Catfight,” I won’t be signing my daughter’s name to
the list.
In stark contrast, I’ve always thrown a big thumbs-up
to the Dairy Princess and her court here in Sullivan
County.
The requirements are simple – smile big, know your
cows, and be willing to serve up milk in all its
forms.
Even more encouraging is the growing “court” which now
includes male “ambassadors” and the younger “dairy
dudes” to prove that the American Dairy Association
and Dairy Council is an equal opportunity employer.
Guffaw all you want.
These kids are some of the last examples of wholesome,
small town, country values.
The farm girl princesses aren’t afraid to tell you if
they feel out of place in the required attire –
dresses are the one drawback to the job for them
They’re equally frank about their purpose.
The dairy industry needs help.
Milk prices are in the toilet, and Sullivan County
isn’t the farming capital it once was.
Kids drink soda, and parents sip skinny decaf nonfat
soy lattes.
But the dairy court is made up of honest-to-goodness,
real deal kids.
They’re farm kids who have a passion for keeping the
lifeblood of their families flowing.
So the girls – and guys – go out each summer with
3-A-Day magnets and cheese-shaped erasers.
They do taste tests.
They scoop out hundreds of bowls of fresh ice cream.
They ride in the parades and sit in rain or shine at
dozens of festivals.
They’re the old-school kind of royalty, the
aristocrats who believed they had to work for their
people.
Munching cheese and spooning up yogurt, there’s no
room to fight over who’s the skinniest.
Visiting farms and tromping over muddy fairgrounds,
there are no squeals when their skirts get a little
dirty.
Now that’s what a pageant ought to promote – reality,
hard work, passion.
And fun, of course. Ask any kid handing over their
crown to a new courtesan, and they’ll tell you a
hundred silly stories.
Because, after all, these are kids.
They’re young enough to care – and just young enough
to remind us it’s not all that serious.
Don’t take that away from them just yet.

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