My Sister, the Beauty Queen

Esther 2:7

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the same house as a beauty queen? Wonder no more; today you will be enlightened.  My sister, Pennye, went through a period of time when she was the darling of the county, the region, and the state. As I’ve stated in previous posts, Pennye was always pretty.  She was tall and lanky and walked with an air of confidence, occasionally bordering on arrogance. Not only was she pretty, she was talented.  My sister could play the piano and sing exceptionally well, and she did neither with timidity. In fact, she did nothing half-way, ever. Of course, this garnered her a fair amount of attention at school and in the community. She was often invited to perform for church and special occasions. She functioned well in societal gatherings.

With all of this local attention, she was soon elected as the local Lions Club Queen, District 2-T1.  That meant she was the darling of all Lions Club members in the Texas panhandle, from Lubbock to Amarillo.  Not long after, the local wheat growers association elected her Miss Wheatheart. (I’m pretty sure they intended the pun.) She knew almost all the farmers by name and had dated, at one time or another, one of their sons.  These two honors kept her travelling quite a bit, and she got her money’s worth from her newly minted driver’s license and our family’s 1972 lemon yellow Buick Electra 225 with a white vinyl top. She was a classy lady flying down the road in a classy car. The best was yet to come.

beauty queen

(All photos are representative. Any similarity to any person, living or dead is pure coincidence.)


Shortly after Pennye went to study at tiny Wayland Baptist College, she was invited to participate in the Miss Wayland competition. While that sounds like next-to-nothing, small potatoes, peanuts, bear in mind two things. (1) The winner would advance to the Miss Texas pageant – part of the Miss America scholarship competition. (2) Wayland is the home of the Flying Queens. This team still holds the record for the most consecutive wins in women’s collegiate basketball. Of course, Pennye won.  My sister was advancing to the Miss Texas pageant, and I got a ticket.  She proceeded to the top 10. She won the evening gown competition, but her manager had saddled her with a miserable song for the talent competition.  Judges later confided in her, it was the song, not her voice, that cost her the crown.

I haven’t yet answered the question I began with. What is it like to live with a beauty queen? Agonizing.  First, she expected me, her brother, to bow before her and polish the crown and kiss the ring. No dice. The more significant occurrence was the day she could no longer pin me in a wrestling match.  While she was ascending the cultural ladder, I was hitting my first real growth spurt. I had grown two inches and gained 30 pounds during her first year of college.  She decided one day to put me in my place, and she ended up on the floor. It wasn’t violent, by a long shot. I simply picked her up and put her on the floor, that quick, that easy.  Her eyes bugged out and she just looked at me, grinning down on her. A second aspect of being sibling to royalty was pride, my pride.  I was more than happy to tell anyone who would listen, this picture of perfection gliding across the stage, wowing the audience with her operatic soprano melodies, was my sister, my flesh and blood.  At the Miss Texas pageant, she invited me to dance with her.  I was the proudest person in the room.  Pennye, I love you.

Published in: on January 22, 2018 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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