DAY 219: Marion County's 2011 Junior Miss

 Our new Junior Miss is my dear niece, Christine. Here is her button along with one of my very favorite pictures of her as a little girl. Christine has truly been a joy to our family since the day she was born.

(Nadia's Theme) - <Marion County Junior Miss fans will want to listen to this>


33 talented girls competed in our local program last night, each one outstanding in her own way.  The judges deliberated and decided that Christine would be the one to represent our county at the State pageant. I am thrilled, and have every confidence that she will represent us well.

This journey our family and our community will take with my niece promises to be a very sentimental one for me, that's for sure. It was 33 years ago that I was the Marion County Junior Miss - 1978. Hard to believe that now I'm one of the oldest. Our very first Junior Miss - Polly Young (1965) - seemed to be a figure far in the distant past when I was Junior Miss. It seems crazy  to me now that she and I have more in common than I ever expected at the time...I never thought of a day that I would appear together with her in that "first column" of Junior Misses listed in the official program...but there we are, and they keep having to add more columns behind us! ; )

I have so many more thoughts about this, but I guess that will do it for now.

Congratulations, Christine! We are so very happy and proud of you!







No, the Miss America who came to Loretto to have her legs shaved was not Heather French Henry. She is pictured here in 2006 at a political function in Lebanon, trying to persuade my dad to place a bid on the cake she is carrying. My dad's first brush with a Miss America came years ago - and really "takes the cake", so to speak.

One of my siblings just relayed to me a story our dad told today about the Loretto incident that occurred back in the 1970's...I thought it was too funny not to share here, and those of you who know my dad will especially appreciate this story. I hope I'm getting all the details right, but I am changing one party's name to only his initials. Enjoy!



  As the story goes, in the mid to late 1970’s one of the morning cereal companies was running a rebate promotion.  Collect and turn in a certain number of box tops and the company would issue a refund check.  The kicker? The check would be signed by the then reigning Miss America!  Not so much for the Miss America thing, and likely more related to the budgetary situation at home, Mom dutifully collected the requisite number of box tops and mailed them in.

  Sure enough, a week or so later a shiny new check appeared in the Mattingly mailbox, payable to Junie Mattingly in the sum of $3.00, and signed by the reigning Miss America. To top it off, a color picture of Miss America sporting her crown and banner appeared on the check itself so as the connection with Miss America's name would not be lost.

  The check was turned over to Dad for deposit in the family's thin account at the local bank.  However, Dad thought better of it. This could be turned into bigger things.  The check lay around the barber shop for a few days until  “B.G.”  came in one afternoon for a haircut.  At the conclusion of the haircut, B. G. began telling Dad of a recent encounter with some VIP in Lexington.  "It sure is a small world," commented B.G.

  Always one to recognize an invitation, Dad took B.G.’s comment as such and replied, "It sure is a small world.  You know, just last week Miss America happened to be coming through Loretto.  She was running late for some appearance and apparently hadn't had time earlier that day to shave her legs.  So, seeing the Loretto Barber Shop sign, she stopped in to inquire whether I shave women's legs."  The story continues that Dad assured her that he was competent for the job.  Miss America, modest as she was, required the shades to be drawn and her male attendants to leave the room.

  However, like so many of Dad's customers, when the work was finished Miss America revealed that she had not a cent to pay Dad.  At this, B. G.  thought the bluff was on, to which Dad explained, "She said in a few days she'd just send a check.  Sure enough, the check just arrived.  I've got it right here if you want to see it."

  Of course, B. G. was astounded with the proof.  All this celebrity having occurred right there in Loretto and no one even knew about it!  "What are you going to do with that check?"  B.G. asked.  "Well, I guess I'll go down to Hubert's Store and apply it to the grocery bill." was the response.

  "Oh!  You can't do that!  That check is part of Loretto history.  It is perhaps the only evidence that Miss America was ever in Loretto!"  To which Dad assured B.G. that it was no big deal.

 B. G., insisting, tells Dad that he simply cannot negotiate the check.  "I'll give you $20 for that check just so history can be preserved!"

  "Well, alright…if you insist.  But really, it's not that big a deal. Just another day on the job."

 Daddy says he never told B.G. any different, but assumes he learned later the real story....because Dad got a big laugh telling the tale around Loretto after B.G.’s story of the proof of Dad's encounter with Miss America - right there in Loretto - began to make its way around town.

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What does it say about one's week when the highlight involves...a skunk?

Well, that really was my highlight.

Some mystery interloper had been slipping into one of our gardens and making away with the corn. So my husband stategically placed and set two live traps about a week ago. He'd check every day, and each day more corn would be destroyed, yet nothing was in the trap.

On Thursday, I absentmindedly asked (strictly out of habit at that point) if he'd caught anything in the traps.  

Well, he didn't answer. I then noticed that his face looked kind of like this:

He never looks like that!

I asked, "What is WRONG?!!!"

He said, "There's a D*MNED SKUNK in the trap!"

I certainly didn't expect that. And I got down on the floor laughing at his expression and the situation. I'll have to admit that I was totally all about the adventure I knew was about to ensue. Clear my dang calendar! There's a skunk in the trap! Whatarewegonnadonow?!!!

Stephen was already rolling around in his head what to do about this. We didn't have a lot of time because it was so hot, and every moment meant that little guy was out in the heat of the day in his little fur coat. Stephen had already envisioned sneaking up on the cage with a tarp of some sort and a big long stick to open the trap door. Good ideas, both.

His main concern, though, was how far a skunk could spray. I had no clue. I'd never even seen a skunk in person before. This was all new to me.

Forgoing my vast print archives, I opted for a quick internet search.

I learned that skunks generally spray about a foot further than whatever distance you get from them.  *wopwopwah*

With that information, I figured we were in big trouble. But we had to free the little guy somehow, so we got busy.

Anyway...excuse the weeds but it's been too HOT to weed a garden! Here is Stephen, sneaking up on the cage in the cornfield with a plastic tarp. He successfully covered the cage, and then dragged it over into the shade of a tree in the orchard.  So far, so good...

Next, he maneuvered an extension pole to release the trap door. If you look closely, you can see there is a little critter in that cage.


I didn't really get scared of being sprayed until about now. Reality set in. The skunk was coming out of the cage...and then he bolted!  Well, not really "bolted"... it was more like a slow scamper, or maybe more like a "galumph". But he was headed my way! Yikes! The big thing for me was...I wanted to capture the moment, but had no idea which way the skunk would go or what he would do. I did NOT want to get "sprayed".

Close ups. Note the leg/little foot action (cute!). Sorry these weren't better pics, but HEY - this was a real live skunk headed in my direction, and it was hard for me to just stand there and keep the camera steady. 


 Exit. Stage Left.



Our little friend galumphed off into the nearest "cover" he could find.


I was happy! The skunk was happy!

And Stephen is finished with live traps for now.










I love tomatoes.

But for eating, I prefer an unblemished fruit.

Still, there is something special about this malformed tomato---it reminds me of a Southpark character.

Guess I'll let this little guy just hang out on my counter for awhile, as we eat all his good looking friends.

Is that mean?

I hope not.

I just think this one has a special purpose. 








Alllrightythen boys and girls------it's St. Francis Picnic EVE!  To commemorate this special night, I present two of my favorite people: captured in this photo from St. Francis Picnic 1999 is my future husband and my friend, Snarepole, meeting for the first time.

Everyone in my generation who hails from the Loretto/St. Francis area of Marion County understands what a huge deal the St. Francis Picnic is. Or at least was when we were growing up...if I were a kid again I would barely sleep a wink tonight in anticipation of tomorrow and Saturday.

I would have already laid out my brand new Picnic clothes...I'd have the latest update on the progress of the RIDES being constructed on the old high school lawn ... the house would be full of homemade Jam Cakes made by my mom, replete in their beribboned celophaned glory, ready for transport to the cake booth.

I would be saying the rosary in my bed, praying that I would get to stay at the Picnic until at least MIDNIGHT.

Truly, the St. Francis Picnic was the highlight of summer vacation for a whole generation of kids in Marion County.

Come on down! It starts at 4:00 pm and lasts until at least midnight or 1 both Friday and Saturday nights (July 16 & 17th). Rides, booths, games, beer. Friendly people. Saturday night is the wonderful fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Loretto, KY. Be there or be square!