Mary Margaret Hyer and daughter-in-law Kelly Taylor

Mary Margaret Hyer and daughter-in-law Kelly Taylor

Basking in somebody else’s light beats sitting around in the dark. I’ve done some of that basking this week even though I’ve been away from home at a meeting. Because of modern technology, I have been able to track events at the American Library Association summer meeting where I know some of the movers and shakers, writers, and illustrators and am especially proud of the Newbery Award winner, Meg Medina, whom I met first when she won an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.  

A second event that I’ve been tracking is the Miss Mississippi pageant since I have a relative that has done quite well. Unless you are from the South, you may not realize this kinship, but I’m claiming whatever credit I can. I have figured out that she is a second cousin-in-law, once removed. (My son who does genealogy hobby things says this is not correct, but what does he know?) Her mother is my daughter-in-law’s first cousin so I think my logic is fine. 

I get this kinship tracking naturally. My father always said that if your grandfather’s dog crossed my mother’s grandfather’s cotton patch, she would claim kin. Mama was once asked to be the hostess for a bus trip from Mississippi to North Carolina with a bunch of church ladies. She was introduced to them with the understanding that by the time they reached their destination she would have things in common with all of them and be kin to at least half. 

So, my “cousin” Mary Margaret Hyer won the Miss Mississippi Round 1 competition for evening wear and social impact statement on the importance of organ donation Wednesday night and the Round 3 competition for talent on Friday night. Saturday night when they introduced the final ten, her name was the first called. Her two on-the-spot events went well, and her name was called again for the top five. After their spontaneous interview questions, they called the finalists in reverse order for their awards so I held my breath through 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and then they slowed the pace to introduce the sponsors for first runner-up and Miss Mississippi which would be named together. By this time, I could feel in my bones that Mary Margaret had this, and she did – with a lot of “M’s” – Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Hyer.  

Mary Margaret.jpg

I’m glad Mama passed on the practice of looking for new relatives. Should you decide to watch the Miss America pageant this year, be sure to keep an eye out for my second cousin-in-law, once removed, who will represent Mississippi.