and then i got a corsage

So if you didn't know, I won an essay contest for the VFW* all the way up to state. I had remembered talking with my mother about entering, and she assured me I simply had to read my essay at home; no speaking involved. That was great! Because I'm an introvert and I hate talking.

Well. When you win locals, district and state - it's a given that you have to say your speech. I, of course, didn't know this and frankly, I didn't think I'd win anyway. But here I was, crammed in our car with the awesomest fan club ever (my parents and two of the ladies from the local post) with the worst case of the stomach butterflies. I seriously felt like losing the breakfast I didn't have.

And the roads were typical Wisconsin - horribly messy with a good layer of ice, dirt, salt and snow.

By the time we got there - I was scared sick. I'm a military brat, so this wasn't too out of my zone - but this was getting intense...it was crowded full of people that I had to get up in front and speak to. No pressure! We entered the hall-thingy-thing where the luncheon was served. That's when I was presented with a corsage, which my mother pinned to my bright red blouse that I had spent a good twenty minutes picking out the day before.

Guys. A corsage. Talk about feeling grown-up. 

The place was freezing, because it's in Wisconsin and everything in Wisconsin is cold and freezing. I sat at the end of the table next to my parents and with a bunch of other veterans who were calmly passing around coffee and made small-talk the easiest thing since sliced bread.

The only awkward moment I had was being unsure of what to do when all the "present arms" and stuff were given - do I put my hand over my heart or just stand there reverently and politely? I think I scratched my nose instead.

Anyway. After eating a delicious meal - involving the immense skill of passing the dishes around the table - the awards ceremony began...and I was feeling perfectly overwhelmed.

And my hair kept getting caught on my corsage.

Okay - these people are just amazing. I love hanging out with veterans because they're probably the most laid-back, coolest people that ever walked the face of the earth...and then you got little me, sitting at the end of the table - probably the youngest person in the room - awkwardly trying to cut my chicken. Right, I forgot to mention that awkward moment, too. And the fact that I actually placed my napkin in my lap, yet all the crumbs still managed to land on my skirt.

Annnnnndddddd theeeennnn...my name was called up. I snatched my folded speech and headed to the podium. And person-reading-this - I was so close to getting out of saying my speech until I was stopped by the District Commander (I think...I can't remember all the titles) who earnestly asked me if I was prepared to give my speech. I was like..."Yes, sir" the whole time thinking, you were so close to remaining an introvert!!

This puny microphone was handed to me and I faced the sea of faces all looking at mine. And this is where it got awesome. How often does little 'ole me - a junior in high school, all dressed up with my hair curled and wearing a corsage - get to talk to these people? Like...never. And the chances of my essay getting picked out of all those others...wow...never would've thought that in a thousand years! So, I held up that silver microphone and read my speech with everything I had...and I even think I managed to make an impromptu thank-you speech beforehand (shocking, I know!) I felt like an actress, because the real Bethany does not walk in front of people all composed and give a speech with trembling from head to toe.

When I finally made it back home from that long car ride - I was trembling. It was ridiculous, I was shaking from head to foot and I couldn't even sit down without quivering. I ate a bowl of frosted wheat cereal, watched part of the X-Games, and then fell asleep for a good hour or five.

And I hung my corsage on my bulletin board. :) Someday I'll add it to my collection of awesome things I'd never thought I'd do - next to my CNA name plaque and other stuff.

All in all - despite my horrible anticipation - I had a blast and I think I can handle doing it one more time. Phew!

P.s. Pardon the horrible grammar...I scribbled down this memory before I forgot!
*VFW = Veterans of Foreign Wars


  1. YAY! Good for you, Bethany! And what a neat experience. = )

  2. I'm sure you did great. It's so weird how speaking in front of crowds is. (I did this yesterday for our church so the memories and feelings are fresh in my brain). You get so nervous before, and then once you get up there and start talking, it's so much fun! At least that's how it is for me. I love looking at all the people when I get up there and then when it's over I wonder why I was so nervous.

  3. You so totally rock! A corsage? WHAT EVEN.

  4. :) I told you that you'd do an amazing job!

    A CORSAGE!!! Oh, to be famous. ;)



© Everyday Memoirs
Maira Gall