Do you believe in luck? I don’t until I observe two of my sisters. Then I do.
You see, Ms Julia Margaret is the luckiest person around. She has been for years. We joke that if we want to win a doorprize, write her name on it. Invariably- Dairyman Specialty, James River, and Farm Credit have her number on speed dial after customer appreciation day. This fall, Julia and her husband traveled to WI to the World Dairy Expo… and out of 70,000 people- guess who’s having UPS back up to the door and unload doorprizes. You guessed it- Mrs Showalter cleaned house. Again.
Now- my dear sweet darling talented sister Emily… Not so much. Poor kid. She has the most popular girls name in the US for over 20 years, and yet she doesn’t manage to really ever get it selected for the big win. or the small win. or any win. It’s depressing, I think.
Enter the Valley Living Magazine, a quarterly magazine that comes out in all our local stores and is celebrating 25 years. This summer, they hosted a photo contest. We take a lot of pics around here. We aren’t anything professional- we just enjoy being click happy. So Mother discovered the contest and suggested that I enter it. “Favorite summertime activity” or something. Hershey’s family was here and since their children are cuter than most of my photo shoot options (with respect to my family) We had fun taking a few pics. Emily was here too, and we had a brief, mildly heated, sisterly discussion when we discovered we were submitting the same picture. Oooops I thought we were supposed to be more adult than that.
Emily meekly entered a different picture, and guess what? My adorable watermelon/German Shepherd pic lost to a pair of sneakered feet dangling over a river somewhere… AND Emily’s sparkler girls brought home a grand prize of a wedding photography book. (If you are planning a wedding- Emily is one step closer to being able to perfectly capture the event.) In the end, Emily and I were not in the same age group of photographers, so I’m not sure what would’ve happened if we’d sent in almost identical entries. But we won’t know. She won. I did not.
The final contest for Valley Living was to send in your life motto. I looked at this, but decided to pass- they didn’t like my entries anyway.
Meanwhile, our local feed company- Rockingham Coop sent out a flyer about a photo contest they were hosting. Julia alerted us to this one. I waited until the 11th hour and sent in a few pics. Julia and I received a confirmation email right away. Emily did not, which I thought was a little strange. But what do you know? Two weeks later, Emily received a phone call that she’d taken second place and there was a $150 gift card waiting on her. Emily sailed to town and without a backwards glance put the prize towards a .308 Ruger All American . She didn’t even care that they gave photo credit to “Melissa Weaver”. “I got the money and that’s all I care about” she said. Julia lamented telling us about the contest, and I tried to console us that it’s wonderful that since Em has no luck at all, that she can win things based on skill.
It was fun to see the entries that placed. I was shocked to see that two of mine made honorable mention. But there’s no money in placing that way. But what is money? I really don’t need a new gun.
Like Mary of old, I was pondering all these things in my heart, when I received a mysterious email from the editor of Valley Living:
“Dear Joyce, Thank you for your submission to our Life motto contest. Congratulations on being our grandprize winner!”
What?! A quick phone call confirmed that the editor did indeed have the right Joyce in mind. (my parents find it easier to give out my email address, than to check their own account ) and my mom had submitted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr on the sly.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
She was ecstatic with her big win and we all cheered for her. I told my family that I’m pretty sure I’m a loser in a family of winners. Em wins. Jul wins and wins. My mom wins…
Friday, Emily and Mother were in town and they stopped in to pick up their prizes at the Valley Living office. Emily received her book, and Mother received a painting.
The lady picked it up, dusted it off and handed it to my wonderful Mother “here this is, we had it on our wall until we got tired of it. Oh, and let’s see, this second place devotional book goes with the first prize…” (Thanks Emily, for reporting this)
So I’ve reached several conclusions:
- not many people in the Valley have life mottoes.
- maybe it’s not luck, but an inherited gene that causes my sisters abilities to win
AND on a completely unrelated note- my thrift store pile is really growing of late… Stay tuned for chances to enter random contests and become a lucky winner…
Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them” Ps 126:2
Such strong writing, Kendra! The character-sketches of your sisters painted in swarthy verbs – ‘Emily sailed’, ‘Julia lamented’. The adorable satire in ‘I really didn’t need a gun’, and the totally unrelated thrift shop pile – an enjoyable read. Thanks for yet another peek at your lives.
Wow! I consider this high praise coming from a gifted writer like you! Thanks for making my day ☺️
the ‘gifted’ writer is the one who writes… I would say!