Crown me Carolina Corn Queen

Published 4:26 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

Recently, I had lunch with a friend who brought along her friend who was introduced to me, along with a merry face full of mirth, as having once been crowned Sparkle City Snow Queen.

I would open a vein to own that sash and crown.

Im not a beautiful woman. Never have been. Reality descended upon me, rather gently, in the reply my mother once gave me in a department store when, looking dejectedly over training bras that were too large, I asked simply, Am I beautiful?

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The nano-second of hesitation my mother gave was all that was needed to seal my fate. Being an artist, my mother answered with what she considered to be a far more important attribute:

You have character.

Well, just shoot me in the head.

I knew exactly what character meant. Carol, the receptionist from the old Bob Newhart Show had character. Pippy Longstockings had character. For Heavens sake, Ichabod Crane had character.

When youre 12 years old and going through an appalling puberty in which only Chelsea Clinton can empathize, you want to be told youre as lovely as Marcia Brady. You want to be the ethereal Kate Bush. You want to be beautiful. You want, Oh, Lord, you want, just once in your life, during a great hair day, to be Sparkle City Snow Queen.

My manager, by whom Ive been represented since 1988, entered several pageants to pay her way through college and, eventually, earn a masters in music. She has always threatened to kill me if I give away her secret shame, but in not publishing her name I think its quite all right to tell you she was once crowned Miss Corn Queen.

Not only did she receive the tiara and sash and several hundred dollars, she was given the use of a brand new Chrysler K Car for a whole year … with Carolina Corn Queen emblazoned on the sides.

I was horrified. she confessed.

I would be too, I agreed, nodding sympathetically. I would have worn a bag over my head rather to have been seen driving a K car.

Not the car, she snapped. The stupid Corn Queen banner on its sides.

Oh. See, I would have been gloriously proud of being named Carolina Corn Queen. I would let the title define me for the rest of my natural life. If I was being bumped off a flight, I would draw myself up to full height and say haughtily to the airline reservationist, Im afraid you dont realize Im the Corn Queen. Jockeying for a spot in a crowded mall parking lot, Id gesture to the side of my car and bark, Corn Queen coming through!

If I was having a terrible day what better therapy than to blow the dust off ones crown and sash and parade up and down the hall, hand on hip, still in my ratty bath robe, reliving those halcyon memories. As demeaning as many women feel pageants are I suspect quite a few would secretly be delighted in being documented as the most beautiful woman amongst a group of candidates.

Why? Because these are the women who get ahead just a touch easier in life. Blessed with the same smarts and sense of humor, really attractive women seem to have the stars aligned on their side. But thats OK. No one ever said life was fair. Theres plenty of us gals out there with character that are doing just fine.

But you cant tell me that Janet Reno wouldnt have killed to be Corn Queen.

Editors note: Comedienne Pam Stone writes her column for The Tryon Daily Bulletin twice each month from her office at her home in Gowensville. Want a chance to respond to this column? Go to Pams blog at