My Favorite Moment from 2008

During the Miss Universe pageant in Hanoi, Vietnam in July, Miss USA experienced the kind of fall that every woman has nightmares about on a daily basis.  Dressed in a beautiful beaded gown, Crystle Stewart slipped in front of the world on a stage where beauty, talent, and grace are intensely judged.
When I was in seventh grade, my mother instructed my sister and me to walk the 10 blocks to church on a Sunday morning since she was home sick in bed. It was the late 1970s when disco shirts, polyester skirts, and platform shoes were in style.  I strapped on my wooden shoes and teetered out the door, feeling a bit like I was attempting to balance on a stack of Legos under each foot.  Things went great for the first nine blocks, but as the sounds of the church choir singing and bells ringing became louder, I abruptly rolled my ankle and landed in a heap of gawky clutziness in its finest form on the sidewalk.
My sister, always concerned for others instead of herself, kept walking while I lay helpless on the cement, my disco shirt and skirt splayed about me–my platform shoes still somehow strapped to my feet, but twisted in such a way that the bottom of the shoe rested on the side of my foot.  As I yelled for her to stop, she acted like she didn’t know who I was or why I would be calling after her. A few cars slowed as their drivers yelled, "ARE YOU OKAY LITTLE GIRL?"  I nodded, straightened my glasses on my nose, readjusted my wooden shoes, and tried to daintily get up off the sidewalk without showing anyone that while still half asleep that morning, I had accidentally slipped on my underwear marked "Tuesday" instead of "Sunday." By the grace of God, I made it into church in time for the start of the service, but did manage to mutter in my sister’s ear, "You’d better pray I don’t catch you on the way home!" to which she replied, "Good luck in those shoes!"
When questioned about her fall this year, Miss USA said, "Sometimes you fall in life–not just in the pageant, but financially or emotionally. It’s not about the fall but how you pick yourself up."  No one was on that stage to hold out their hand to Crystle to help her up, but she did it all by herself, with a smile and the grace of a woman who knows that this moment in time will eventually fade into the past, replaced by many moments when she makes it over life’s hurdles with ease.
I just bet she’s thanking her lucky stars that with that slit in her dress that she was wearing the right day’s underwear.


About Vicky DeCoster

Award-winning humor writer Vicky DeCoster is the author of "From Diapers to Dorkville," "Husbands, Hot Flashes, and All That Hullabaloo!" and "The Wacky World of Womanhood." She has been published in over 60 magazines, books, and on several web sites. Vicky lives in Nebraska with her husband and two children where she loves to laugh every day. Visit her at
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