Mary Elizabeth Royce, Montana
Tic. Tic. Tic. Tic.
The alarm clock beeps us awake. It’s 6:20 AM and my roommate Rachel and I hop out of bed, immediately shuffling over to the kitchen where the aroma of the breakfast casserole makes it feel as if we didn’t have two dinners the night before. Both of us are beyond blessed to have the Davis family as our hosts for these two weeks in Mobile Alabama for the Distinguished Young Women national finals. Personally, I’ve never felt so welcomed in a community as I have over the four days that have flown past, faster than one can blink.
Starting off the day at Springhill Baptist Church, the fifty-one girls curled up on the floor for a short moment – yes, there were Krispy Kreme’s. Before any of the day’s activities, I was pulled aside for a short radio interview over the phone. It was only after the call had been put through that I realized it was live…I suppose there’s always a first for everything!
Today there began true camaraderie between us girls that had been previously marred by the initial competitive spirit following our arrivals. I can thank Barbara Barrington Jones for that. The emphasis of her inspirational message touched on our need to accept the uncontrollable, embrace the destiny that has already been chosen for each and every one of us, and the power of laughter and joy from within. Speaking for us all, Barbara captured our hearts with her generosity and kindness.
Around my favorite part of the day, lunchtime…any mealtime if I am being completely honest, the organization selected a few women in fields that were selected from our contestant biographies to speak with us over wraps and pasta salad. These talented and accomplished ladies shared their passion with us and bared with our multitude of questions. Each any every one of us have a different speciality and strength and were able to connect with these professionals in areas from medical doctors to theater professors. Then, on to poise practice.
Chins up ladies, suck it in. Yes you. Ah, ah ah. Keep your hands relaxed at your sides. Such is, and always will be, the wisdom of Barbara! Cue another clothing change and water break. Our next stop was the Shoppes at Bel Air. Annually, the mall hosts the Distinguished Young Women as we set up craft stations. For example, I spent my time bringing smiles to children’s faces through the power of face paint. I still remember when I was at the age of begging for a full face of paint from a carnival booth. At the end of our time in Bel Air,pizza was more than welcomed. We cheered.
After it all, there is no place like home. Truly. Rachel and I arrived back at our host family’s home full of smiles and hugs as if we had been away at war for years.
Each day at DYW hold a new adventure, and this Friday is one for the record books. Using my newly taught southern slang; see y’all tomorrow!