Long ago, in a far off small town, in Iowa, nine girls competed for the esteemed title of “Egg Princess!”
It was part of the Henry County Fair festivities, in Mt. Pleasant.
Mr. Biggs, the hatchery owner in our town, was the sponsor.
I had never dreamt of doing anything like this. Me…a beauty queen?
I only knew a couple of the contestants. Some of the other girls were daughters of “big farmers,”as we whose, parents owned small farms, called them. My Dad made a living on less than two hundred acres.
When Mr. Biggs approached my mom, she got all excited. The adventure was on!
We were known to the hatchery in town because we owned a couple hundred laying hens. Mom would sell eggs privately and commercially. Since she was a stay-at-home mom, it was her income.
It was my job to gather the eggs every evening, wash and crate them before I could start my homework.
Yes, wash them!
They had to be spotless–gleaming white for the buyers. If you’ve never had the pleasure of gathering eggs from cranky hens, you probably think eggs come that way– clean and white.
Some are covered with dried yolk from broken eggs in the nest and some have do-do on them from a lazy hens who decided it was too much work to take a break!
I doubted that any of my fellow queen hopefuls had to do what I did, but that wasn’t taken into consideration in the final selection…”Yes, judge this poor girl has to wash eggs every night without pay, or praise!
We were pampered all morning. Had lunch at the plush Harlan Hotel in downtown Mt. Pleasant. We were interviewed, paraded in front of the grandstand at the fair in the afternoon. It was quite dramatic.
Tripping, was on my mind during the stage parading.
In the end, I didn’t win or place. A little deflating, but then it was an interesting glimpse into the world of pageants. And for a little while, I felt special.
I really didn’t think that being chosen Miss Egg Princess would change my life, or open doors to stardom down the road.
It did make me aware of how important young women, myself included, stressed about body image.
It’s one of those memories that make me smile, and suck in my stomach!