The results were in: she had earned "third runner up" honours.
"Top five ain't bad!" Jeff said encouragingly.
"It's four spots worse than good," Melanie grumbled. "I don't want to be 'not bad'; I want to win something! I want to be recognized!"
Jeff sighed. "I recognize you," he reassured her. "I recognize you more than anything else, or anyONE else, in the whole world. Why do you think I married you?"
"Chocolate trifle," she sniffed.
"Well..." he grinned. "Ok. You got me. I married you for your chocolate trifle. But AFTER the trifle, you're the most important thing in my universe!"
The corner of Melanie's mouth twitched as she tried to swallow a smile.
That evening, after Melanie had drifted into sleep, Jeff got up, went into the sewing room, and sat down with some ribbon and paper. When Melanie awoke in the morning, Jeff was gone to work, and there was a blue ribbon hanging on the bedroom door. It said "#1 Woman."
She shook her head with a smile, stepped into the bathroom, and began to plan her next contest entry.