I should have responded, “A strong faith in God, patriotism, and courage!”
The question posed was the last segment of the Miss Frederick [Oklahoma] contest, 1963. Yes, Yes, amazingly enough I once did a pageant. The first two segments were swimming suit and evening gown—and again, yes, that is what we called formal dresses back in the day. I enclose pictures although I almost did not. Back to the question asked each of us, out of the hearing of the others. I can attest that part is true, because I would have been listening and probably SHOULD have been listening to the others. I do not mean to imply that had I answered CORRECTLY that I would have won, because we all knew Ginny Stevens was going to win, Ginger Plott was going to be second, and third place, well, that was a bit more iffy but take it from me not one of us was surprised when Alana French took that. I did it mainly because frankly, I loved being on stage. Frightfully shy socially, unable to make small talk, I had discovered with a script, in this case a rather dark poem I had written, I could perform. I was having fun.
Back to that pesky question, which when you hear it you will immediately cringe at the gender bias expressed—but, hey, this was the 1960’s.
“Miss Ivy, with the Space Program training astronauts to one day go to the moon, what qualities would be most beneficial for the WIFE of an astronaut to have?
With no hesitation and a big Vaseline enhanced smile, I replied, “A strong faith in God [check], patriotism [check], and a Great Sense of Humor [WHAT???]!”
The MC was momentarily silent, as was the audience, there were a few nervous giggles, and then a smattering of polite applause. My coach and good friend Katherine met me back stage and her face said it all but her mouth followed, “SURE! You will laugh when he goes up and when he comes crashing down!”
Years later I heard an interview with several of the original astronaut’s wives which vindicated me as everyone of them sung the praises of having the ability to laugh and find humor in their lives, but at the Miss Frederick Contest 1963, mine was not a popular response.
My question and answer did not fit but I have heard it said that working ‘world peace’ into a response usually wins contestants points. Funny thing was my faith in God, my patriotism, my courage and even my sense of humor were barely formed in 1963. Still somehow I knew they were, as companies often refer to certain performance evaluation elements, Core Values. The same is true of Peace. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ Trouble is we get so tied up in the lack of and need for WORLD PEACE that we don’t even see where Peacemaking might benefit our friends, family, and even ourselves. We and by that I mean “I” fail to understand how estrangement among friends, family and with myself requires a peacemaker.
On the way to get our nails manicured yesterday, my granddaughter Abigail and I had the opportunity to talk. Our conversation included discussion of an estrangement in our extended family. I remarked that the tension and alienation which exist potentially will cause great regret. I told Abigail that holding on to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and even anger over purposeful acts, damages relationships. Forgive so that you have no regrets. Make peace with others if you can, but let it go so that at least you make peace with yourself.
The last few days words Barbara Bush spoke in a commencement address have found a place in my memory storage.
At Wellesley College on June 1, 1990, Bush told the graduating class:
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”
I would add at the end of life, mine or someone I love’s, I do not want to regret holding a grudge or allowing animosity to divide. I want to promote healing and peace among those closest to me even knowing that is dangerous territory.
Terry once advised a man in our church to forgive his brother and sisters over a family land sale that he felt had treated him unfairly. He became angry with Terry as well as his family and spent a whole year away from the whole lot. He quit coming to church completely. A year later, His niece, his only brother’s only daughter took her life—it took that tragedy to bring him back, but alas! The niece who had pleaded with him to forgive died before it happened. During Lent the next year we each carried a nail, ‘my nail, my sins nailed to the cross’—on Good Friday, individually we came and drove our individual nail into a rough hewn cross. When this man came, great tears rolled down his face and he drove his nail violently so deep within the wood that the head was barely visible.
Regret is a bitter pill to swallow. He knew that Christ had died for his sins, but in this world we still live with the consequences of our brokenness and the brokenness of others. We live where war rages through out the world, in our communities, in our churches, in our homes, and in ourselves. Whatever peace we can carry into each day makes a difference.
AND BY THE WAY A SENSE OF HUMOR DOES HELP!
Regrets I have a few, but not a one involves leaving Facebook….I am lying…still going through withdrawal.