The Talent Competition
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The Talent Competition

        Every year we have ourselves a Talent Competition. Every year we get the same good natured Hams wantin to strutt their stuff. I guess there wouldn't be a competition without the likes of Bert Barr bein there. Bert'd dust off his fiddle and be the first one in line. We all knew that. It was one of them unspoken assumptions that people were always pridin themselves about knowin. I guess I had the Ham in me too cause every year I'd head up the Judgin and God knows it pleased me one hundred ways ta Sunday knowin everyone of them Hams was gonna try anything ta get my attention.

        Every first Tuesday Town Meetin in April we'd set down and discuss the Talent Competition. It was one heck of a tradition. I guess I found it right excitin. Every first Tuesday Town Meetin in April was held at the Highschool Gymnasium since nearly the whole town'd show up for this one. Everybody knew it and that's the way it was.

        It was funny ya know, cause every year at this time poor George Lucas'd have ta practically move outta his house since his wife, thought she was God's Gift ta singers. Poor George havin ta listen to Madge do her vocalizin in preparation for the Big Event. Not only that but George naturally headed up the Judging Panel. You can just imagine what he musta had to put up with.

        It was a happy time of year for Mildred Puce, since she owned the local Dry Goods Store and her sales just shot up with people wantin material to make their costumes. She also taught Ballet and Tap lessons during the year to the little ones and this was their time ta shine. Yes, I guess Mildred shone brighter than a new penny about now. She was no spring chicken and I sometimes wondered if Old Doc Jefferies didn't give her a regular lecture on watchin her blood pressure.

        Every May 1st, and it didn't matter what day it was, was the Official Talent Competition Night. It was always held in the High School Auditorium and always at 7 o'clock sharp. The Talent had ta be there at 5:30 so as the organizin committee could get them sorted out as to their order of appearance etc. This was done by chosin numbers outta of a hat. I always thought that was the fairest way. June Brown'd borrow one of Billy's baseball caps and cut herself up some numbers and everybody'd draw from there. A special tent was set up out back for the competitors to wait their turn since there was no room in the backstage area for them. Jack Tierney seemed to always enjoy puttin up the tent so that was that. He always made a big deal out of it and it made the nervous Talent feel real special by decorating it up with balloons and things. He always had somethin special to give to all of them in remenberance of the occasion. One year he gave everybody a Commemorative hat with a bright and shiney star on the brim. Jack sure knew how to make people feel special, if you know what I mean.

        The Judgin Panel was made up of six people. George Lumas, of course, me, Eleanor Hampton who was an ex-Beauty-Pageant winner, Ross Cunningham who ran the local Theatre Group, Farnham Boyd who was head of The Board of Education, and Janice Buzzy who owned and operated the local School of Hair Design. I was representing the local citizens and I was not heading up anything, if you know what I mean, and I was downright proud to be a part of such an illustrious group of people. I was always fair and I'm afraid a bit generous in my judgin. It was a well known fact on the Panel that I always gave the same mark. Only fair I thought and it kinda balanced things out, in my mind, if you know what I mean.

        The afternoon of the competition I always went to Janice's for a hair do. Not that I went regular, but on special occasions like this one I made a point of lookin as good as I could. Janice always had a way of fixin you up to feel like you were goin to some real special, once in a lifetime event. She knew how ta touch ya up, puff ya up and really get ya goin. She had such a way about her. I'd get outta Janice's and strutt my way down the road a piece to pick up my corsage that was always made up special for the Ladies of the Panel. Hank Brown, who was Norman Brown's cousin and the local Florist had the task of decoratin the auditorium stage every year and he sure made up a fine corsage. He always seemed to manage a compliment on my new hair do, which I never minded gettin either. After doin my rounds and takin every compliment I could get I'd head home to press my best and most serious lookin Walking Suit. It was a serious event, if you know what I mean.

        Come six o'clock the Judges were to meet as usual at May's Coffee Shop. May made the best cup for miles around and it was the perfect start to an evening of gruelling competition. May herself had been the winner for three years runnin and was asked not to compete anymore since she also had the best singin voice in the County. She was also, after all, the Church Choir Master. Fair's fair, if ya know what I mean.

        At six thirty on the nose we'd make our way on over to the High School to start the proceedings. At about then people were linin up to get their seats. Lookin at the fine crowd outside the High School and feelin just as proud as I could be I felt a tear start tricklin down my face. Wasn't I just about that lucky to be a part of this town and didn't they just make me feel that important to be alive, if you know what I mean.

        Links To More Stories

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        Dick Barrymore
        Dog Days
        May Jones
        Hank Brown
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        Guiness...A Billy Story
        A List of The Folks in Harmonyville
        Madge Farquarson
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