Have you ever gotten all gussied up for a special event? Better yet, have you ever been the honoree of a special event and dressed the part because you had to appear in front of dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of people whose eyes all would be on you? Brides, some of you can relate to this one. I remember coming through those sanctuary doors, and I hadn’t realized until everyone stood up and looked right at me that I was the star of the show. For me, that was intimidating, but it may be invigorating for some wives-to-be. The wedding ceremony is much like the ceremony for the priests in this chapter. It’s a rite of passage. It’s a ceremony celebrating the entrance into a new roll, a life-changing roll. I debated on whether to compare this to a wedding ceremony or to another event in my life at which I was the honoree – Cherokee High School Homecoming! How superficial is that? It’s true though. For me, transforming into a “wife” didn’t really resonate with me as much as transforming into a queen did. Snort. After four marriages, go figure! Anyway, I was remembering what an honor it was to be chosen one of three homecoming queen candidates from our class. Ok, we only had five girls in our class, which made me sad for the other two girls who didn’t get nominated, but they did receive other honors for their gifts and talents and personalities our senior year. I had some awesome classmates, and I am grateful to this day that they chose me for what was one of the most nerve-racking, exciting, wonderful moments of my life. I had watched growing up all the other homecoming queen candidates before me, but I had never considered what it felt like to be one of them. That whole day was an exercise in almost uncontainable excitement coupled with almost unachievable humility. First, we got to don a pretty dress (I chose my sister’s formal from when she was a homecoming queen candidate in 1983) and ride through a parade atop a convertible of our choice. I rode in Rocky Schanbacher’s red Camero, as my sister had as well. I’d been in the Cherokee Homecoming Parade before but always in a group or sitting inside a fire truck – never as a main spectacle myself. The parade took place in the afternoon, and the ceremony, where they announced the queen, happened at half time of the evening football game. That’s when my pits really started sweating! All three of us candidates were driven around the track, which encircles the football field, as the announcer read our profiles and life goals over the audience. “Korina wants to attend college and major in paralegal.” That’s what I remember from the entire announcement. It made me sound so dumb. The emcee also read about our escorts, who met us at the end our loop around the track and escorted us out onto the football field. My escort was Rod Jantz. He was tall and handsome, but all I could think about was how awkward it would be to kiss him, which was the customary thing to do when the king crowned the queen. Rod and I had started kindergarten together, and other than the time we “went together” in seventh grade for about two weeks, we’d always just been good friends. In fact, I couldn’t imagine kissing any of the homecoming captain candidates, and doing it in front of hundreds of spectators was even more intimidating! As the six of us stood in the center of the field surrounded by members of the Cherokee Marching Band playing the traditional homecoming music all around us, Rod whispered to me, “Are you ready to be homecoming queen?” My heart raced at the thought, but all I could do was smile and try to keep my lip from quivering from nerves. The announcements stopped. The crowd got silent. The announcer (who I believe was our youth director Sid Sperry) said over the loudspeaker, “And the 1989-90 Cherokee Homecoming Queen is … “
A little longer pause for even more dramatic effect.
Not quite yet …. I thought I would pee down my leg before he said it.
“… Korina Dove!”
Like seriously, I wanted to wet my pants. The announcer then named Brian Shafer as Homecoming King, so Rod escorted me to the center where the new queen and king took our places, and the ritual to crown me began. (The boys didn’t get a crown or anything. Being the queen was the great honor here.) Brian placed the traditional cape around my shoulders and put the huge bouquet of flowers in my arms, and after placing the tiara on my head, there was only one more thing to do – seal the deal with a kiss! In the past, I’d seen Homecoming Kings plant seconds-long kisses on queens. Sometimes it was the only opportunity in the world for that guy to kiss that girl. I’d also seen nice quick pecks from shy young kings who didn’t take advantage of the moment. I had been wondering for weeks about what kind of kiss I would receive if I were to end up in those past queen’s shoes. And there I was, feet wedged right in them! Brian looked me in the eye, our faces about two inches apart, the audience staring on in wonder.
“What do you want to do?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said panicked.
“Part of me wants to, and part of me doesn’t,” he said.
“Same,” I said, as he leaned in toward my mouth.
Our lips were so close, I could feel the tickly little hairs from his undergrown mustache. Would he? Did I want him to?
And at the last second, just as we could have, we both turned about a quarter-inch in the opposite direction, and Brian planted a sweet little kiss, just above my lip on my right cheek, and I returned the peck on his cheek as well. I had never been so relieved in all my life.
After the ceremony, the captain and his crew went back to playing the second half of the football game, and the queen and candidates got to sit center stage on the track to watch the game from a platform built just for them. All kinds of people took our photos. We posed with kiddos and relatives, and even my dad, step-mom and little sister attended the show. I felt like a star, and while I didn’t have to wear formals and a crown to school the rest of the year, I did get to carry the title of Cherokee High School Football Homecoming Queen for the whole school year. Can you imagine, though, if I had been tasked to take on the roll like a Miss Universe or Miss America winner? This is how I was imagining Aaron and his sons to feel as Moses slipped on their gorgeous robes while the entire community of Israel looked on. Sometimes I wonder why all this pomp and circumstance was necessary, but I remember how I felt as I was being prepped for maybe becoming and then honored as queen. If my principal – or Rod Jantz – would have just come to me and said, “Hey, we voted you homecoming queen,” and that was all there was to it, I’m not so sure the honor or the roll would have meant much. That’s why it was so necessary to annoint Aaron and his sons through this ritual and royal robing in front of the entire community of Israel. God had already told Aaron that he would become the chief priest, but until he was honored in this way, he probably would not have realized what a substantial designation that was.
Writing prompt: honored
Have you ever been honored for a special occasion? Write about the moments leading up to the big moment, how you felt as your name was announced and what changed about you afterward.