A couple of years ago I was playing around with baking and making new recipes for cookies. I shared the fruits of my labor with my friends, because, I may be fat, but I couldn’t eat all the cookies! (Yes, I could, but this time I didn’t.)
I came up with a cookie so num-num-nummy, that my dear friend, Shirley, suggested I enter it into the Montgomery County Fair’s Baking Contest. She assured me it would be fun. She assured me I had nothing to lose. She assured me I would place or maybe even win! How could I refuse?
Hey, I’m not immune to ego-stroking. I’m only human.
So with a light in my eye, I tightened my apron and got to work. I followed the fair rules and instructions, made the cookies, entered them, and held my breath. Never before had I pitted my abilities against anyone else in this arena. It was a mite scary, but I wasn’t daunted.
Days later, as we waited for the judging to come, doubt crept in. I mean, my cooking really wasn’t about quality so much as it was about quantity. Maybe I was only setting myself up for rejection. I mean, come on! It’s not like I’m trained or anything. I just know what makes my gullet happy, not necessarily a judge’s. Shirley’s encouragement faded to a distant memory.
And then the call came.
Shirley said I had placed! My Oatmeal, pecan, white chocolate chip, butterscotch, cinnamon cookie had actually placed in the fair!!! Sure, it was 5th place, but it was a place, none the less! I could now tell people I was an award-winning baker! How could I have doubted myself? I’m a darn good baker! I have the backfat to prove it! And now I would have a ribbon to prove it, too! I wondered what color my ribbon would be. My ego puffed up so much, I had to wear my stretch pants. (Though that may have been gas; I’m still not sure.)
My Captain agreed to take me to the fair to see my cookie in its case, and to pick up my ribbon, and my check for $4.00. (That was the prize amount for 5th place, you see.) I was so proud, so elated, I was walking on air. (Actually, that might have been gas, too.)
This is what we saw in the Judging Barn:
In between the second and third places, and a little behind, were my beloved Oatmeal, etc., cookies. And on my entry tag was written “5th Place” on the top corner……but no ribbon.
Someone had stolen my ribbon! I was incensed! I ranted about how wrong it was. What kind of psychopathic criminal would steal a person’s ribbon? That’s like stealing candy from a baby. Oh the judges would hear about this! Why weren’t the cases locked, for crying out loud? Unacceptable! I would get my ribbon somehow, come Hell or Highwater! I had already made space for it on the wall at home. What was society coming to that a woman’s baking contest ribbon wasn’t safe?
Troy surveyed the glass case with a furrowed brow, distracted. Why wasn’t he listening? Wasn’t he as irate as I was about this? What did he think? Say something!
After deliberating a moment, he turned to me and said gently, “Honey, there aren’t 5 entries.” What? “There are only 4 entries. Someone has made a mistake.”
Lemme get this straight….I got fifth place and there were only four entries?
I snapped my mouth, which had dropped open, shut, climbed down off of my soap box, straightened my hair, and mumbled that I didn’t really want the ribbon anyways. What would I do with a stupid ribbon? Only children want ribbons. Not me.
I never liked the Fair.