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Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Potato Queens’

SOL #28

SOL #28

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Tulips from the grocery store.  A gift for my mom.

Tulips from the grocery store. A gift for my mom.

I am at home. My parents are surrounding me and my friend, Cathy, with love, kindness, and laughter. I love seeing my parents through her eyes. We are eating breakfast this morning having lively conversation about personality types and stories. The stories! I hear stories again that I have heard before, but with my friend, the stories have new meaning. I am celebrating friendship and family.

Last night we ventured out to an oyster bar to hear my brother’s band play. What live music does for the heart and soul should be celebrated. One of his band members, Monty, has been playing with him for 36 years. I celebrate my brother, his music, and Monty.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

Cathy and I are in Jackson for the Sweet Potato Queens weekend. The theme this year is Braveheart, so we wore plaid tutus to the Big Hat Brunch. Cathy made the skirts as well as our hats which reflect our own personal theme of “birds of a feather.” I celebrate Berry Queens, friendship, and Cathy’s creativity.

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

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Slice of Life Day 24.  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slice of Life Day 24. Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I am home exhausted and happy from a delightfully fun weekend with my fellow Berry Queens in Jackson, MS. for the Sweet Potato Queens Weekend. I am a Diva in the hierarchy of our membership in New Iberia. The Berry Queens (so named because the nickname for New Iberia is “The Berry”) have grown by leaps and bounds since I joined in its inaugural year, 2008. Now we are up to 100+ members. We were easily one of the largest groups at the SPQ weekend with 30 women.

On Friday, my friend Cathy and I dressed in black petticoats topped with golden tree skirts. (Cathy is so creatively clever.) We attended the Big Hat Brunch with hundreds of other women dressed in crazy costumes and big hats. After the brunch, we shopped around Fondren, an area in Jackson that has been revitalized as an arts community.

Cathy and I stop off at Brent's Drugs, a location used in the movie, The Help.

Cathy and I stop off at Brent’s Drugs, a location used in the movie, The Help.

One of the blessings of this weekend was going to the lake. My parents live north of Jackson near a lake, so the first few nights we stayed there. We had time to visit some with Mom and Dad and enjoy the peacefulness of the lake, totally different from the very crazy active time with the Sweet Potato Queens.

Friday night, Cathy and I became a spectacle downtown in our matching wigs. The buses for some unknown reason did not run from the hotel, so not many queens appeared for the Bouffants concert. Everyone around wanted to take pictures with us. We are probably all over Facebook on strangers’ pages. Even the Bouffants themselves noticed us and called us up during one of their songs. We felt famous!

Cathy, Lory, and me at the Bouffants concert.

Cathy, Lory, and me at the Bouffants concert.

On Saturday, I joined my fellow Berry Queens as we represented New Iberia in the RAD Color Run for Blair Batson Hospital. Here are a few of us squeezing into a hotel bathroom to put strawberry tattoos on our cheeks. I’m the one in the tutu.

tattoos for color run

The run was so much fun. I walked, of course, but while I did, I got to know two of our new members (known as virgins to the Sweet Potato Queens). At the end, I was covered with color and feeling great. The day was a glorious 70 degrees.

Saturday night was the big Zippity Doo Dah parade. I walked the 5K route again, and this time I was wearing a strawberry dress, a wig with light-up noodles, and boots. This time there was a huge crowd to throw beads and strawberry Tootsie Rolls to. What a blast!

A selfie with our Boss Queen Jerre at the parade.

A selfie with our Boss Queen Jerre at the parade.

Jill Connor Brown is the brilliant woman who created this whole kingdom of Queens. She believes in the inner beauty of every woman. She closed the weekend with a touching speech at the Bathrobe Brunch. Here she honored Vietnam Veterans for whom the parade was held. She shared stories of her childhood and had us all in tears when she talked about her friend who had gone off to the Vietnam war. She spoke of forgiveness and the need in all of us to forgive, not for the other person, but for ourselves. Jill Connor Brown is a hero. I thank her for creating a time for having just plain fun for the sake of fun, and for empowering us to be beautiful, inside and out.

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Read other Slice of Life writers at The Two Writing Teachers

"Real Queens are not MADE~They are BORN!"
~Queen de Bling, Berry Head Boss Queen
and Her Royal Hi-ness, Queen of the Berry


I am a Berry Queen Diva.  The Berry Queens are the brilliant invention of Jerre Borland.  I met Jerre five years ago when we were both lobbying for the National Writing Project on Capitol Hill.  Jerre told our representatives that she had two passions, the Writing Project and Habitat for Humanity.  When I first met Jerre, I knew she was someone who wanted to make a difference.

Jerre had three goals for the Berry Queens: to raise funds for Iberia Habitat for Humanity while having fun, and, in the meantime, allow women to “wear a tiara and act up a little.”  We do all three.  This weekend I am in Jackson, MS for the Sweet Potato Queen Weekend.  Groups of queens come from all over to enjoy a weekend of fun: the Big Hat Lunch, the Big Hair Ball, Zippity Do-Dah parade, and a Pearls & PJs Party.

Being a Berry Queen gives me the opportunity to step out of my everyday teacher persona and be someone new.  I can put on a bright red wig, false eyelashes, and blingy jewelry and celebrate being a women, all the while raising funds or rather “fun” for Habitat for Humanity.

It’s easy being Queenly in the Berry!

Queen Puss-n-Boots (my friend, Cathy) and Queen of Good Will (me)

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