â€œTwerp!â€ Thus was the loving sign-off my dear friend Kathleen offered as our phone conversation concluded.Â I had to laugh.
Kathleen is immensely talented on countless levels.Â And, whatâ€™s more vexing is she makes all her talents and endeavors look easy.Â Stunning cottage garden in her backyard? Done.Â Spotless house? Done. Excellent cook? Done. Perfect fingernails? Done. College English teacher? Done. Phi Theta Kappa Advisor?Â Done x 10.
I could go on, but it would take too long.
Some years ago Kathleen suggested I try my luck by entering a few photographs at the local county fair.Â To say I was reluctant is like saying Facebook might catch on.
I just didnâ€™t feel I had much to offer.Â There are days when it seems everybodyâ€™s photography is light-years ahead of mine.Â Why should I put myself in the position of being judged?
Kathleen reminded me that competition of this sort is for pure fun.Â Who cares if you get a ribbon or not?Â My eyebrow went up because I knew she routinely cleaned house when it came to ribbons for her floral entries.Â Sure itâ€™s for fun only.Â Â Mmmmhmmm.
I did enter photographs that year, and I did manage to get a few ribbons.Â Ditto the next year, and the next.Â It felt intoxicating to have people like my work.
This year I decided to try something different and entered a floral bouquet under the â€œbasketâ€ class.Â I had NO idea what I was doing.Â I even tried to Google what regulations are involved in a basket bouquet entry.Â I found nothing.Â So, taking Kathleenâ€™s words to heart about this being fun, I put together a whimsical basket involving the theme of green tea with a floral bouquet.
Since I was so completely out of my element I didnâ€™t tell anyone I was entering the basket.Â On the drop-off day at the county fair I ducked my head as the nice lady put a tag on my offering.Â She whisked it away without comment.Â The voices within kept saying I was a fool.
Two days later Kathleen sent me a cryptic email saying, â€œI have met the enemy, and it is she.â€
On Sunday, as I went to pick up my entries, I glanced at the shelves where they keep the champion-level winners.Â There, to my shock, sat my now wilted basket of flowers. Â Had hell frozen over?
Kathleen phoned a short while later.Â She was effusive in her happiness for me and recalled my early reluctance to â€œput my work out there.â€Â We also laughed about her tentative entries into the photographic category.Â (She won a blue ribbon this year for her photographic efforts.)Â Weâ€™ve both grown, and weâ€™ve both encouraged each other every step of the way.Â Earning her respect enough to call me a Twerp? It was the best part of my day.