I was pleasantly surprised when I happened on the Cynically Optimistic blog this morning and saw a unique face I hadn't seen in a number of years.
Presenting 'Miss Colombia.'
How did our paths cross?
Well, in the summer of 2005, my parents flew in from Nebraska for a visit. Their first visit to New York and the Hudson Valley.
(I know - this is gonna be good, right??)
As part of their visit, we took a Hudson River cruise on the Rip Van Winkle - an exciting outing as evidenced by the joyous, happy smiling faces here.
This is my "I need vodka - stat!" face.
The reason my mother looks so wary is that as we were boarding the sparsely populated boat, a DayTop bus full of folks in rehab pulled up and began to get off the bus.
Among this group was a rather 'colorful' and majestic individual wearing a dazzling array of fabrics, laces and what appeared to be Koosh Balls, hanging from a homemade mantilla. The crewcut blond hair peeking out from underneath appeared to have been dotted with multiple colors of those round bingo markers.
A coterie of highly effeminate men circled and kowtowed and minced their way around this strangely regal figure - fawning and calling "Ooooh - Miss Colooombia!" Miss Colombia waved royally to the others on the boat and proceeded to hold court on the fantail.
The rest of the crew from the bus was a crazy all-sorts mix - from people you wouldn't look twice at on the street to a gentleman who resembled Jabba the Hut in a sleeveless t-shirt that read "Crystal Free Sex Pig."
Hence the look on my mother's face. Brian and I were required to flank her when seated.
The group itself was highly amusing. Mostly city folk - they were galvanized by the sight of a deer - gasping and reeling with wonder - on the manicured lawn of Golden Age mansion .
Not fascinated by the mansion, mind you. By the deer.
You'd have thought it was freaking Bigfoot.
Meanwhile, Brian and I gaped at an eagle circling overhead. My parents, overrun by eagles where they live apparently, were nonplussed. But they did enjoy watching the deer revival going on in the rear of the boat.
The handlers - er, chaperones - sat quietly, apparently enjoying the first peace they'd known in a while. The gentleman seated behind us in the photo opened a book which he used to deflect and shoo the others away, whapping them with it and saying "get away - shoo - go look at some sh*t."
Eventually, Miss Colombia sat - alone. Her mincing entourage - the Colombiettes - scattered.
She seemed forlorn and sad to be alone. It must be tough to go through rehabilitation while still projecting such a positive and regal and joyous demeanor.
I guiltily snapped the photo here - and I think I captured that sadness.
So, it does my heart good to know that Miss Colombia made it through. And she has once again found that joy and that self-esteem after surviving her ordeal.
Jeff's picture made me smile.
Miss Colombia is A-okay.
I can't wait to tell my parents.