Being Miss Maumee Valley

Friday, January 06, 2006

Belated Blogging... From Miss to Mrs.

Back on Friday, December 30, 2005, (2:36 a.m. ) I wrote the following...

As I sit here in the mystical land of no internet and five television channels (my parent’s house), where my laptop becomes of little use beyond Microsoft Office and solitaire, I am reminded of one of the last times I was home. No, not a few days ago to celebrate the holidays, but rather a little over a month ago to celebrate the nuptials of Pam Roessner and Neil Ranly. I’ve been meaning to blog about this since it took place, I even asked the bride for permission! So finally, here goes.

For those just tuning in, Pam is a two-time Miss Ohio competitor, who is remembered for her rockin’ swimsuit body and being a flutist. I met Pam when she was selected the successor of my first pageant title, Miss Lake Festival, back in ’02. I believe it was her first pageant, ever. After a year hiatus she returned to the Miss Ohio stage as the inaugural Miss West Central Ohio. (Well, not actually the inaugural… but she represented a new franchise with a long abandoned title.) Her second year in Mansfield Pam very deservingly received one of the Herlihy Spirit Awards for her always wonderful attitude. She is one of those people who is free-spirited and adventurous enough to go skydiving, as well as being one of the most focused and determined people I’ve ever met. These and many other wonderful attributes were noticed by fellow Fort Recoverian, Neil Ranly.

I am not certain what their dating track-record was throughout high school and college, but upon both graduating from the University of Dayton, Pam decided to forgo further Miss competition and traded the sparkle on her head for some sparkle on her finger.

She went from Miss Roessner to Miss Lake Festival to Miss West Central Ohio to Mrs. Ranly.

I was delighted to be invited to the wedding and took my mom along as my guest. The service took place in a beautiful catholic church in rural Mercer County. I have to admit, this was my first catholic wedding and I was terrified! But it wasn’t as long as I feared. :) In fact the priest was quite interesting to listen to. I mean absolutely no disrespect, and I probably only noticed this because I’m a speech team nerd and watch too many TV reruns, but his speaking patterns (tone, inflection and pauses) reminded me a great deal of the recurring rabbi character on Seinfeld.

He spoke a great deal about both Pam and Neil’s love of music, and of course, of each other. From their meetings, he relayed an endearing quotation from Pam, it was something to the effect of “even when he makes me mad, I love him even more.”

Truly, that’s the way two people committing their lives to one another should feel. Throughout the ceremony Pam and Neil were wonderful to watch, smiling to each other, singing to the music and simply radiating. An especially touching moment was watching them gaze up into the balcony where her mom and his dad sang one of the final songs.

A great deal of the songs were impressively performed by former multiple Miss, Julie Imboden. Impressive because she is not catholic and did a great job learning and performing the denomination specific music. Unfortunately, like Pam, Julie is forgoing her last year of Miss Ohio competition and is engaged to her wonderful long-time boyfriend, who accompanied her. It will be odd in June without both of them… I digress… this is to be about Pam’s wedding.

Although after the ceremony, my mom and I stood on the church steps speaking with Pam’s dad about pageantness and the growth it instilled in his daughter. He had such ease about him, a demeanor not characteristic of a father-of-the-bride. The easy-going attitude continued at the reception. I recall telling my mom that I “want to spend the holidays with these people… they know how to throw a party!”

It couldn’t have hurt that the Buckeyes beat Michigan the same afternoon. The table my mom and I originally sat at got filled with Neil’s friends before Julie or titleholder Marisa Minor got there. These were male friends, my age, who had just come from watching the game at a place of libations. It was hilarious to listen to one of them repeatedly curse then embarrassedly realize my mom was still sitting there.

We let Marisa and her date have our seats when they arrived because they had gone to school with those at our table. My mom and I then sat with Julie and her fiancé. It was great to catch up with her and meet her beau. (FYI, Julie always had fabulous clothes when she competed, and now she’s looking to sell them if anyone’s interested!)

As the reception progressed, typical cake cutting, bouquet tossing etc… took place. Then, things got interesting… First they played a hilarious “Newlywed Game” [seen on the left] hosted by the Maid of Honor and Best Man (I think). The questions were great, like who and where was Pam’s first kiss? Answer, not Neil! And if Neil were to compete in a pageant, what would be his best phase. Answer, swimsuit, of course. Actually, they poked fun all night at how unexpected Pam’s pageant participation was.

Then it really got crazy- I’m talking square dancing! Tragically, Julie and I were sitting at a table right next to the dance floor. As it began one of the guys from my original table asked Julie to join him. She was like, um, this is my fiancé. So the next thing we know Julie and Tim and me and I-don’t-know-who were square dancing. For a series of turns and twirls, it’s really difficult! I wish I remember the calls, they were hilarious, like “oyster through the hole” or something like that. I felt badly because one of the couple in our group knew what they were doing and got pretty frustrated with us amateurs. Then, when we had almost mastered our group of eight, we had to form one whole circle. We’re talking like 75 to 100 people.

At that point I decided that square dancing is purely sexist! The women had to spin from man, to man, to man all the way around the circle until we reached our partner again. In the process I lost an earring back, my breath, my balance and was impressed by the fact that Pam’s brothers knew my name! When I finally returned to my nameless partner, I hugged him. I’m not even using that for comedic effect. I said “oh thank goodness” and hugged him.

If that wasn’t indicative of rural Mercer county, then the next thing takes the cake… Speaking of cake, I never had a piece, what’s up with that? :( Okay, if you’re not familiar with southern Mercier county, let me paint a picture… corn field, corn field, soy beans, hog barn, cow, cow, cow, corn field, bar, football championship, hog barn, wheat field, corn, corn, bar….I’m from northern Mercer county, Parkway High, who always got its butt kicked by southern schools in sports. So up north we nurse our wounds by believing that southern Mercer county athletes suckled directly from the cow and were fed only beer and soy beans from birth to develop their super human abilities.

Anyway, back to Pam’s wedding. There’s a tradition in southern Mercer county that if siblings marry out of age order, an older unmarried sibling must “dance in the hog trough” at the wedding of a younger sibling. So after the square dance we all shuffled outside into the cold to watch one of Pam’s older brother stomp on a small wooden trough until it broke. We were told they built it as sturdy as possible to increase the difficulty of the task!

On the drive home I pondered that even though I grew up in rural Mercer county, I clearly missed a whole culture somewhere along the way. I also wished my boyfriend had been able to be there with me so we could stay well into the night dancing, but my mom was a wonderful guest, and more appropriate since she’s watched Pam grow and compete over the years. In a box for marital advise, she told them to “alway stay as in love as you are today.” Thanks mom, that’s one I’m remember for myself.

Kudos to Pam and her mom for throwing a truly great bash! The bride wasn’t pouting, the groom wasn’t terrified, the parents weren’t frantic… it was one of the best wedding’s I’ve ever been to!

Though I’ll miss pageant-Pam, I wish her and Neil all the luck and happiness in the world! Who knows, maybe someday she’ll be Mrs. Ranley and MRS. America!

[Unfortunately, my Blog is being difficult about uploading photos so go to My Webshots for a few more.]


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