This I Believe

Carla - Pawnee, Oklahoma
Entered on July 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community

I believe that small towns across America are a wonderful environment for raising children and future leaders. A beauty pageant was held recently at our small town high school, the winner was to get a dozen roses and a page all to herself in the yearbook. It was inspiring to see how glamorous and sophisticated our young ladies looked. The dresses were striking, the hair and heels were high, and the jewelry sparkled. Their speeches regarding the potential of having a female president were varied; some entertaining, some enlightening, some inspiring, but all impressive. All the young ladies spoke with hope and conviction. It isn’t easy to get up in front of a crowd, but they handled it with surprising composure and the ladies seemed much more mature than any of us cared to concede. The image of them in ponytails and play clothes romping around the playground or swinging on the tire swing in the backyard was the bittersweet flashback on everyone’s mind.

After the program, a stop at the local burger stand provided a refreshing antidote to the emotional evening. Most of the contestants were there, in formal dresses, high heels and hairdos, running back and forth from pickup truck to pickup truck, talking with friends and giggling about how funny they must look to other customers. The evening breeze picked up and caused them to run for cover, only to emerge from their cars and pickups wearing letter jackets, camouflage coats or sweatshirts over their shimmering gowns. “All is well in small town USA,” I thought. “All is well.”

When we do elect a woman president, I hope she is from our little town, or one just like it. I hope she remembers back when she first looked beyond the city limit sign and started thinking about worldly issues and felt the burning desire to make a difference in her world. And I hope each of them remembers the hometown values they picked up in those precious few years we had them here. And I hope they remember the night they ran around in formal dresses and camouflage coats, and how their roots are in a small town. And I hope we all remember the responsibility we have to them and to all the children if we want to have a hope for the future.