Bryson City Seasons — Miss Flame (Part 2)

This is from the forty-third chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


As the Miss Flame contestants were paraded out together on the stage, the town must have agreed. The laughter and applause were deafening.

One by one, like sheep to the slaughter, we were escorted down the aisle between the crowds by fire chief Monty Clampitt. Monty was laughing as hard as anyone else. When I walked down the aisle, the crowd erupted in catcalls, whistles, and laughter. I tried to keep my chin up and flash a smile—but it was pretty dif- ficult. Not as difficult as walking in stiletto heels, mind you, but difficult nevertheless.

After we all had been paraded before the crowd, Monty asked each of us a question. Most of the questions were humorous, and the answers only added to the laughter—especially since the voices of the Miss Flame contestants were so very testosterone deepened.

As Monty approached me, I began to feel a bit nervous.

“Miss Waltina,” he began, gawking at the size of my upper torso to the chuckles of the crowd, “just what size cup do you have there, ma’am?”

The crowd howled, which gave me time to think.

“I don’t use a cup for my coffee, Monty,” I responded. “I use a mug.”

Monty smiled, again gazing at my padded anatomy. “Indeed, Miss Waltina, you have very admirable mugs.”

The crowd roared its approval.

“One more question, Miss Waltina.”

I nodded my approval—as if I had any choice at all.

“What would be the best and the worst thing about becoming

Bryson City’s first-ever Miss Flame?”

I tried to smile, but it felt so forced. “Well, Monty, the best thing would be for the rest of the contestants—who wouldn’t have to bear this, uh, incredible responsibility for the next year.”

The femininely dressed men standing next to me applauded their approval.

“And the worst thing?” Monty asked.

“Having to dress up like this next year to crown next year’s Miss Flame.”

The crowd both laughed and applauded. Now the pressure was off, and we had to stand and await the decision of the judges. It had finally come time to name Bryson City’s inaugural Miss Flame. The only reward I would obtain by participating was that I’d never have to compete again—that was the one guarantee we contestants had in writing from the fire department.

Thus, when the announcement was finally made that one Waltina Larina Bustmoore was the city’s first Miss Flame, I nearly cried—and if I had, they would not have been tears of happiness,

I’ll tell you that!

That evening, after putting the children to sleep, Barb and I slipped out back to sit on our bench and look across the mountains.

“I’m proud of you,” Barb whispered as she nuzzled under my arm.

“Barb, today was so embarrassing.”

“I know, honey. But it was for a good cause. It really was.” “I guess so. At least I have the solace of knowing that Rick’s going to have to enter next year.”

Barb laughed. “Yes indeed. In fact, Katherine and I are already talking about how we’re going to dress him up. The only problem is going to be his beard. We’ll have to figure out something to do about that.”

“Well, I’ll tell you this, Barb. I have a lot more respect for women—what with the wig and makeup and bra and high heels. It’s just too much.”

Barb chuckled.

“Honest, Barb,” I said. “If I had to dress up and get made up like that every day, I think I’d want to cry.”

Barb laughed softly. Then she pushed away from me and turned to face me. “Oh, I forgot to tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

“Do you remember walking down the aisle after being named Miss Flame?”


“And do you remember wearing your tiara and carrying the bouquet of kudzu vines and waving to the crowd?”

“Regrettably I do. Why?”

“Well, your son was sitting on my lap, and he turned and asked me, ‘Mom, who is that lady?’”

“I said, ‘Son, that’s your dad.’”

“And?” I asked, sure that my son would have been so proud of my sacrifice—of my donating my body and my reputation to such a worthy community event.

Barb paused and then sighed. “Well, Walt, he began to cry.” “Are you serious?”

Barb nodded.

We sat in silence for a few moments.

Slowly Barb began to chuckle. Then I followed.

Before we knew it, we were both laughing and hugging—Mrs. Larimore and the new Miss Flame, embracing on a bench over-looking one of the most special of towns in one of the most special of places, a place we now called home.



  1. Dead Man Standing (Part 1) (Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. Eyes Wide Open (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. Auspicious Accidents (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. Answered Prayers (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
  5. Rotary Luncheon
  6. Death by Emotion (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  7. The Invitation (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Barbecue and Bacon (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. A Touchy Subject
  10. Family Time (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. Chicken Pops(Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Swain County Football (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Hospital Politics (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. The Bobcat Attacks (Part 1)(Part 2)
  15. Dungeons and Apples
  16. A Tale of Two Surgeons (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  17. Tanned Feets (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  18. Wise Counsel (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. An Anniversary to Remember (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Mrs. Black Fox (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. The Littlest Cherokee (Part 1)(Part 2)
  22. Christmas Firsts (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. The Silver Torpedo
  24. Another New Year’s Catch
  25. Turned Tables
  26. Doctor Dad (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  27. The Phone Tap (Part 1), (Part 2)
  28. Labor Pains (Part 1), (Part 2)
  29. Staph and Staff (Part 1), (Part 2)
  30. The Ribbon Cutting
  31. Mountain Breakfast
  32. Walkingstick (Part 1), (Part 2)
  33. One Big Fish
  34. Memorial Day (Part 1); (Part 2)
  35. The Parade of the Century (Part 1)
  36. Lost Boy (Part 1); (Part 2)
  37. Facing the Music
  38. Flesh-Eating Bacteria (Part 1); (Part 2)
  39. The Best Medicine
  40. The Blessing
  41. The Runaways
  42. Great Scott
  43. Miss Flame (Part 1), (Part 2)


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)  

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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