Joy Donovan’s Blog

The Reality of Miss Texas

by Joy Donovan on July 7, 2012

Just returned from the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant. (

I went to see no one in particular, but I went just because I love the singing, dancing and beautiful clothes. The contestants are allowed to compete more than once, so I also like to see how the contestants tweak things from year to year in hopes of getting that winner’s bouquet of yellow roses. I also like to write about it, here now, but formerly for a certain Fort Worth newspaper.

This year the pageant was held for the first time in Allen. I’m definitely not a fan since I think it’s too far from the center of DFW  or even the center of the state. I think parts of Oklahoma were probably closer to it. I also thought the arena was a difficult place to view the show, and scoring a parking spot was not easy.

All of that is minor in compared to what I thought of the new pageant style with so many elements borrowed from “reality TV.” Cameramen walking on stage while the competitors modeled evening gowns, and backstage interviews with people scurrying about aren’t my idea of a lovely evening of entertainment.

The worst, though, was how the young women were treated. I’ve never competed in anything like a pageant, but I have competed for something I wanted badly and lost. It’s not fun, and the disappointment can be crushing. Now anyone who enters a pageant know the odds are against winning, so you know disappointment easily could be in your future.

But do we have to rub it in peoples’ faces when they lose?

Some of these contestants were given the news that they didn’t make the top 15, then 13 and final five while we stared at them. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, watch as young women wearing bikinis are told which two of them don’t get to move on. If that wasn’t fun enough, let’s ask them on stage dressed and ready to perform their talent,  but–just kidding–all of you won’t be getting to do that. You there in the dance costume, pack it up because you didn’t make the grade.

This is cruel. This is unnecessary. This is not entertainment.

I ask the new regime at the Miss Texas Organization to rethink how the finalists are informed that they won’t be going forward in their quest for the Miss Texas crown. Let’s be kind to the young women who have worked so hard to be on that stage, and let’s not make the audience cringe as they watch what happens on stage.

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Question About Bus Monitor Story

by Joy Donovan on June 25, 2012

The verbal taunts of teenagers who bullied bus monitor Karen Klein clearly are awful, undeserved and insulting. If it were my children involved in this incident, I’d wonder where I went wrong as a parent that my child could find such sick fun in treating a human being that way.

The video of her being insulted time and again by these little jerks has gone viral, prompting a public outcry. Shame on the students. A fundraiser which now totals a half a million dollars will pay for Klein and her family to go on a vacation. Good for them.

We can all agree those mouthy teenagers deserve some firm discipline, and Klein should never, ever have been subjected to such treatment. An additional thought, though, concerns me when I see this video.

But is any parent who has ever put a child on a school bus bothered at all by Klein’s mild-mannered demeanor? When parents leave children in the care of a bus monitor, teacher, principal or coach, there is an assumption the person in charge will possess a certain amount of authority over those students. If her job is to be the bus monitor and we see her looking out the window instead of taking command of the bus she’s supposed to monitor, is she the right person for this job? If it were a student who was being bullied by these juvenile delinquents, would this bus monitor be able to protect that victim?

You would never want me to be your brain surgeon because that’s not in my skill set. So I’m curious about what are the job requirements for a person supervising a group of teenagers. When I see this video, I’m certainly sickened by the verbal assaults hurled at Klein, a 68-year-old grandmother, but I’m also puzzled. It seems someone so reluctant to take charge, stop the bus or call authorities should never have been hired to command a bus full of rowdy teenagers.

The teens were wrong to hurl the insults, but I’m wondering how Klein was selected for this job.


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Given the Circumstance, I Love It

by Joy Donovan on May 28, 2012

Sir Edward Elgar composed a song most seniors in high school just love to hear.

Unlike a lot of people, when I get a graduation announcement, I flip open my calendar to see if I actually can go.

Oh, I know there are those who just sigh because they think they’re receiving a demand for a gift. I take it as a true invitation to an event, and if you don’t want me to ask your family to save me a seat, then don’t send me the announcement.

Yes, I love to attend graduations. I love all those students being honored for their years of hard work. I love the mortar boards. I love the gowns. I love seeing which names were popular for that age group. I love looking at the girls’ shoes.

I don’t usually love the valedictorian’s address because they all say the same thing. It usually goes something like this, “When I first began thinking about what to say to you today, I ….” and then trails off into something way too lofty for an 18-year-0ld who has never lived anywhere other than under Mom’s and Dad’s roof.

What I like best, though, is the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance.”  Sir Edward Elgar, born 155 years ago on June 2, 1857, composed the song in 1901. The name was inspired by a line in Act III from William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” that reads ”Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”

It was never intended to become a graduation tradition. Sir Elgar wrote the music. pfficially ”Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1,” for King Edward VII’s coronation. Then when Sir Elgar, being such a big deal and all, received an honorary doctorate at Yale University in 1905, it was played as a recessional in his honor. Soon it became the graduation rage, being played at Princeton, then the University of Chicago and Columbia.

Now, be it by tinny piano or full-blown orchestra, Sir Elgar’s biggest hit just the tune to which everyone graduates. Can you imagine any other tune having so many grandmothers whipping out their hankies than Sir Elgar’s grand march?

Sir Elgar was such a cool dude that he even has a website and a society devoted exclusively to him. Visit, and you’ll be filled with all kinds of details The Elgar Society has cultivated on the man whose music brings tears to eyes across America this time of year.

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Add Up the Reasons

by Joy Donovan on May 20, 2012

There are at least three reasons to see the national tour of  “Memphis,” the current offering at The Music Hall at Fair Park:

The music.

The dancing.

The history lesson.

The score by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan, the terrific production numbers and the glimpse into the U.S. racial landscape of the 1950s are all great reasons to see this show. The cast is top-notch, so you can add that as reason number four to see this show. Bryan Fenkart plays the white, goofy radio DJ, Huey, and Felicia Boswell portrays the ambitious, black singer. Both are outstanding in the two leading roles, and are backed-up by singers and dancers

Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, this national tour of the show that won the 2010 Tony for best musical runs through May 27th. Check for “Memphis” ticket information and show times.

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Happy Mother's Day

by Joy Donovan on May 12, 2012

Katie, Meg and Claire with their mom.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a special day for a lot of people.

This week I heard Martina McBride’s song, “In My Daughter’s Eyes,”  during my exercise class this week, and it reminded me of a lot of things. I wanted to leave some of the song’s lyrics here for my three girls. Katie, Meg and Claire, I’m so glad you made me a better, happier and luckier person than I would have been without you. Love you lots and lots!

In my daughter’s eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter’s eyes…

In my daughter’s eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she’ll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I’m gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I’ll be there
In my daughter’s eyes

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Not Cinco de Mayo…It's Derby Day!

by Joy Donovan on May 4, 2012

Claire Brandon, far left, and her sorority sisters are off to the races.

I love hats.

I wear one every Easter and every Mother’s Day, and you won’t have to ask me twice to wear one to a tea party or bridesmaids luncheon. Lavender, being my favorite color, is the hue of a couple of my hats, and I do have others in both straw and felt.

Many reasons I like hats–they’re pretty, they’re fun, they complete an outfit. Even better–they enable you to sleep longer because you don’t have to do your hair. For that reason alone I don’t understand why more women aren’t flocking to hats.

Saturday is a day I look forward to. Not because it’s Cinco de Mayo giving us all a reason to eat more Mexican food, but it’s Derby Day. The Kentucky Derby  (, outside a royal wedding, just may be the ultimate hat destination.

Watching the Kentucky Derby was a tradition that goes back to a time when my dad and I would watch on that first Saturday of May. He, of course, was interested in the horse race, but now that he’s gone I toast him still and check out all the hats.  

Who will have the best this year? Pass the mint juleps…let’s watch the show.

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Princess Flips Me Out

by Joy Donovan on April 29, 2012

Princess Letizia shows the flip-flop world how to wear a dress.

Count me in the group of people who are tired, tired, tired of a total flip-flop world.

efectos xenica

Love sandals vacationing at the beach, goofing off in the summer or eating at a picnic. Flips flops in church, at work or at the White House–not a fan. Pretty sure the above preferences would be identical for ball caps, in case you were wondering.

I believe in dressing for the occasion out of respect for the hosts and the others in attendance. I don’t care how expensive your jeans are, they are not appropriate for a funeral.

But there are some people who get it right. This week’s best dressed, according to Lily Lemontree (www.lilylemontree.blogspot), is Princess Letizia of Spain wearing Felipe Varela. PERFECTION.

There’s hope.

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Music to the Rotary's Ears

by Joy Donovan on April 20, 2012

A Stradavarius violin puts in an appearance. Photo courtesy Larry Mundt.

The Rotary Club of Fort Worth ( is filled with the city’s movers and shakers.

The ninth largest Rotary in the world, it was established in February of 1913, so the club is closing in on 100 years. The group meets most Fridays at the posh Fort Worth Club, and its a place you can expect to rub elbows with some heavy hitters.

Its membership totals about 500, and in that group, you’ll find some of the pillars of society. Stallions who run companies, bigwigs who run governments. People who are might have seen it all.

My guess is the program chairperson has a challenge. Finding something that interests this well-traveled, well-educated, well-heeled group could be daunting.

But Friday, April 20 a lot of them were treated to something special.  Miguel Harth Bedoya of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra brought not one, but two, Stradivarius violins.

The violins, handcrafted centuries ago by Antonio Stradivari, are considered the finest ever made. He experimented with the instruments’ design, resulting in violins with sound boxes unequaled even today. His best violins were made between 1700 and 1725, setting the standard for violins.

And the Fort Worth Rotarians were indeed in the presence of greatness. A violin like that–now that’s not something you hear at just every Rotary meeting.

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Princess? Very

by Joy Donovan on April 18, 2012

So National Princess Week, celebrated the week of April 22, is a subject I know something about.

After all, I raised three of them.

I first heard of National Princess Week while Julie Andrews was pushing with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton,  their latest literary effort, “The Very Fairy Princess” on TV. I haven’t read this book, but I instinctly know I could have written it. (If you’re looking for a princess book for your daughter, I do suggest “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch.)

As for princesses, I am a subject matter exerpt. Our home was a palace for three girls with a love of all things girly. This list of princess-like preferences has included pink, hair bows, dancing, nail polish, pearls, flowers, Barbies galore, show tunes, chick flicks, tea parties and fancy dresses. Along with this has come a certain sense of entitlement, which is sometimes not attractive.

Of course, we would curl hair every day. Of course, there was never a hair bow too big. Of course, someone would award them flowers at the end of a dance recital. Of course, we’ll run to Target at the 11th hour to buy glitter so the school project would dazzle the teacher and assorted classmates. Of course, our birthday parties were over-the-top with themes ranging from Somewhere Over the Rainbow to, ahem, princesses. Of course, we would shop for the perfect prom dress AND pay for alterations equal to the price. Of course, dorm room bedding would perfectly match our roommate’s and be the cutest in the hall.

Of course.

I guess I must have had something to do with the invisible tiaras my three blonde princesses carry on their royal heads. Hang on to your tiara; this will come as a bit of a shock.

After all, I am a queen.

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Baseball Hits a New Tradition

by Joy Donovan on April 4, 2012

April showers means a lot of things, a lot more than May flowers.

Tornadoes, bluebonnets and the start of baseball season.

As the players make it back to the ballparks this spring, they’re required to start a new tradition. As of 2012, all Major League Baseball players are restricted in their tobacco use. No longer will a player be allowed to carry a tobacco tin or package into a game or any time fans are in the ballpark.

The campaign to “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” (  is serious about this, too. Those who do are in violation of the new MLB contract and would be flying in the face of some pretty powerful groups. Supporters of the new rule include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, faith leaders, researchers and just about every “Smoke Free” state group you can name.

This is great news for parents who know their little darlings idolize ball players. It’s great news for the sunflower seed business. But, oh, the poor janitorial staff who’ll be left cleaning the mess up.

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