She Went Above and Beyond
When Kathy Dugan dies during a bank robbery, she wakes up at the Pearly Gates. There, Gideon, an angel, asks her to reflect on her past life. Her childhood is a tale of abuse by her parents and a stint in juvenile hall. But when she lands in the home of a rich doctor and his wife, things take an abrupt U-turn. Despite Kathy’s part in an attempted robbery at her new home, the doctor and his wife refuse to press charges.
Her life takes another turn, this time for the better. She is reunited with her sister, helps with funding for research for Cerebral Palsy, and after joining the army, is wounded. Kathy may have gotten off to a bad start to begin with, but she has tried to live a life to help others.
But will the good deeds she’s enacted be enough to convince Gideon to open the gates for Kathy to begin her eternal life?
When it came time for the announcements, the name of the fourth runner up turned out to be Miss Mississippi, not me. Unbelievable. My nerves ratcheted up a notch.
Okay, I’ll be the third runner up. I’m sure of it.
Wrong again. That was Miss Ohio. And Miss Georgia was number two. It now came down to Miss Washington—my friend Leanne and me.
Wow…okay…this is it. I’ll never be higher than the first runner up. I just know Leanne will win. She deserves it.
The next thing I knew, someone dug hairpins into my scalp, securing the Miss Black America crown on my head. It was heavier than I expected, and Leanne hugged me. “Congratulations, Kathy.”
I couldn’t believe it. I’d won. Not only were my tears falling, but my nerves were dancing a mile a minute.
With all those bulbs flashing in my face, and blinded by my own tears, I took the traditional walk down the runway in a daze. It’s a wonder the flowers I was given didn’t shake apart.
The next few days sped by in a blur. I don’t remember how long it was before I had time to relax. One day, I was in a hotel room with my new chaperone, Annie, and turned on the TV to a talk show. Nipsey Russell was one of the guests.
He said, “I had a question for the new Miss Black America as she headed for the queen’s chair, but my microphone cord got caught on something, and it wouldn’t let me get close to her.”
He grinned. “You don’t ask a queen to come to you.”
He referred to me as a queen. This made tears ran down my face. It made me so happy. No one had ever said anything that nice about me before. And, he did it on national TV.
Annie had been in the bathroom at the time. She hurried out when she heard me crying. “Kathy, what’s wrong?”
It took a moment before I could explain.
Annie hugged me. “Kathy, I’ve only known you for a few days, but Nipsey’s right. You are a queen. And a beautiful one at that.”
My waterworks came on again full blast as I returned her hug. “Thank you, Annie.”
“You’re welcome. Now, get busy. You need to redo your makeup.”
I went into the bathroom. The mirror showed more mascara on my cheeks than on my eyelashes. After I washed my face and reapplied my makeup, I had just enough time to make it to my next appointment, cutting the ribbon to a new shopping mall in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Annie and I left the hotel.
“Kathy, you have a glow about you that wasn’t there a few minutes ago,” Annie said. “You look great.”
The tears almost started again, but I controlled myself. All I could think was: Thank you, Mr. Russell. You’ve made me very happy.