Me (calling my mother’s sister in Duluth, Minn.): Hello?
Aunt Helen: This better be good, “Beaches” is on.
Me: Helen, it’s Nicole. I just wanted to let you know that mother passed.
Helen: Oooh Nicole. She was a tough cookie, that gal.
Me: I know and she was ready to go, it’s just that everything is so foreign without her. I can’t cook, or watch a movie or put on a dress without thinking about her opinion.
Helen: She shoulda had more than one. You two were too close.
Me: It’s gonna be weird to celebrate her birthday and watch the Miss America pageant without her.
Aunt Helen (in Minnesota): Oooh Nicole. Yah know one of her best friends was Miss Minnesota.
Me: I know. The one who married the fried chicken magnate.
Aunt Helen: They married each other for breasts and legs.
Me: Ha. Now they’re all bones.
The Miss America Pageant never disappoints and the 2016 Atlantic City extravaganza was no exception. From an interpretive dance to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to a dramatic monologue about “Alzheimer Joe” all the way to a Matrix mambo — the talent portion of the evening was a study in camp. But the highlight of the pageant was the opening segment of the show when contestants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were given the chance to sum up their home turf in a short sentence. Miss Wisconsin, Rosalie Smith, stole the show with her quip, “Representing the Dairy State, come smell our dairy air — I’m Miss Wisconsin!” I only wish the other 51 contestants had been so bold.
North Carolina: We don’t pay our teachas, but I’d sure like to meet cha!
South Carolina: We lost the rebel flag, but we can still make you gag!
Georgia: We invented Southern sprawl, come see us y’all!
Alabama: Civil Rights — it tweren’t our fight — but don’t raise your noses, just cuz we used hoses!
Colorado: We have weed!
Kentucky: We’ve got more barrels than Christmas got carols so raise a glass on our bluegrass!
Tennessee: We ruined country music!
Virginia: Jefferson set the precedent for all our philandering presidents!
West Virginia: We’ve got mountainous desire and set our couches on fire!
District of Columbia: Not really a state, but our museums are great!
Delaware: We’re so tiny, how’d they even find me?
Maryland: Our founding father shoulda been John Waters!
Pennsylvania: We’ve steel got it!
New York: Sex and the City was never that pretty, but you can still find a hooker, you just have to lookah!
New Jersey: Land of Chris Christie and the turnpike, we’re the Garden State but you might have to hike!
Connecticut: Commuters love us for our land but when it comes to property taxes, we don’t take a stand!
Vermont: Where cold hippies go to seed!
Maine: Home to lobster and LL Bean, you might see a Bush or maybe Stephen King.
Montana: ’Scuse me while I kiss Big Sky!
Ohio: Buckeye born and buckeye bred, it tastes gross but we’re all well fed!
Florida: We invented Hooters!
Texas: It’s like Germany next to Mexico!
Oklahoma: Tornados don’t skeer us, Arkansans fear us!
Arkansas: We gave you Bill and Hillary. S’all we got!
Kansas: I’m not in Kansas anymore, thank god!
Nebraska: Warren Buffet sits on our tuffet!
Missouri: We’re the Show Me state! Bet yer 12-year-old can’t Show Me on a map!
Idaho: We ski and stuff! Also, potatoes!
Iowa: Writers come here because there is nothing else to do!
Indiana: We’re pretty good at sports and stuff!
Illinois: We built a city in the plains but we’re still midwestern Janes!
Minnesota: We have a lotta lakes, and Swedes and flakes!
North Dakota: We like the Vikings — or the Packers — but never both, we might have to smack ya!
South Dakota: The men here are made of rock, ya know!
Wyoming: We’re home to Yellowstone, but the wifi sucks so you can’t phone home!
Washington: We gave you Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. You’re welcome and sorry.
Oregon: We’ve become a TV show where hipsters go!
Nevada: Whatever happens here, never fear, just pay your tab and prebook rehab!
California: We drink vino in Encino, ’cause there’s no agua north of Tijuana!
New Mexico: Georgia O’Keefe and killer spleef!
Arizona: It’s hotter than Hades for gents and ladies!
Hawaii: We’re an archipelago in the Pacific, we grow a lot of weed that’s really terrific!
Alaska: In the land of Sarah Palin, you might cruise by, but no one’s stayin’!
Michigan: We screwed up Detroit!
Mississippi: We may talk funny, and we may talk slow, but when we say, “Crooked letter, crooked letter I” don’t you kind of want to know what the hell we are talking about?
Louisiana: Let the good times roll! If you are rich, that is!
Utah: We’ve got Mormons and good skiing plus there’s a lot of wholesome inbreeding!
Massachusetts: From where the Kennedys hail, we have Cape Cod and chowdah to sell!
New Hampshire: Hard New Englanders to the core, will eat a fluffernutter tho, that’s for sure!
Puerto Rico: Stop trying to deport us — we are still a territory!