JENNY B. JONES is the author of A KATIE PARKER
PRODUCTION series. Though now an adult, she still
relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. Jenny is
thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her
previous claim to fame was singing the national anthem
in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, mule jumping capital of the
world. You can visit her at www.jennybjones.com.
Yes, I sang the Star Spangled Banner at a mule jumping contest. (But I sang with a few other girls. I recently saw the movie Dream Girls, and I saw a LOT of similarities. Coincidence? I don’t think so.) So anyway, I was REALLY stressed. “Pea Ridge” really wasn’t supposed to be on there. I didn’t think they’d include that part. But, um…they did. And so then I flipped out, concerned that an entire town would rise up in revolt over what they might construe as an insult to them and their good mules–who jump–for sport. (Also a really good place to get a fried Twinkie, but I digress.) I mean, these folks had a Civil War battle a long time ago. They are not afraid to take up arms and defend.
I ran this bio by many people. Here’s my friend Sheila’s take on the whole scenario, taken directly from her email response. (But also keep in mind this girl talked to salt and pepper shakers in junior high, so what does she know?)
OMG! That is funny and embarrassing and I want to laugh but then I think that I shouldn’t! I’m so confused!!!! Offensive to Pea Ridge? Not to the people who will read the book!
Some mule jumper might get his tail feathers ruffled, but what are the odds he’ll be reading your book?
Then again, Pea Ridge may decide to give you the key to the city and declare a Jennifer Jones holiday. They’ll erect a billboard for the sole purpose of putting your face on it! Your books will be on display everywhere. Then, just as you are about to be crowned Honorary Miss Pea Ridge (Jen here: That would be SO cool. I’d get a CROWN! ) , someone will discover that your book’s back cover mentions Pea Ridge in a manner that might be construed as disparaging or derogatory. There will be mass confusion since there will be a lot of people who don’t know what either of those words mean.
The United Mule Jumpers Association (or UMJA for short) will create a petition that calls for your book to be banned. Signed by 734 people the petition is successful, but due to a typo, the petition actually says your book should be burned. Not wanting a riot on his hands, Mayor Crabtree complies and all copies of your book previously displayed in town are taken to the city park (where the mule jumping competition is held every fall) and burned. You will call me in hysterics and I will call my mother who will then contact her old pals at the Northwest Arkansas Morning News. Before the fire has even begun to die down, CNN and the ACLU will show up. (Jen here: WHAT?? Where is Jesse Jackson? It would totally be worth it if he and Al Sharpton would show up.)
I think you know what will happen from there.
Think of all the publicity you’ll get from this!!!
I just can’t believe you actually admitted to singing the national anthem at the mule jump…
Yes, so there you have it. Insulting to the good people of Pea Ridge or not? And more importantly, will this be hurting the tender feelings of hundreds of mules? You know how sensitive they are. Okay, maybe you don’t…but I’ve sang for them, and I can confidently say those little dudes are soft hearted.
Off to watch Ugly Betty.
And pray my hometown won’t rip my senior picture out of the composite in the gym.