In Mobile this time of year, the azaleas bloom. Its not just like, “Oh look, I think I see some azaleas”. Its like, BAM-in-your-face-hot-pink-light-pink-humungous-everywhere azaleas.
The weather got warmer and then all of a sudden these pink explosions started happening all over the place. Mobile is very proud of its azaleas. This could explain why there is Azalea Road, Azalea Dental Group, Azalea City Plastic Surgery…You get the idea.
We even ran the 34th Annual Azalea Trail Run 10k. I couldn’t believe how HUGE this race was. But it was a lot of fun.
As soon as the azaleas come out, so do these:
The first time I saw these ladies, I tried really hard not to stare. I couldn’t figure them out. (I should mention that the first time I saw them was at a The Shed so you can imagine my confusion.) Someone finally explained to me that these are fine, upstanding young women who entered a grueling selection process and endured multiple rounds of interviews to become an Azalea Trail Maid. They are all good students, good citizens, and all around great young women.
According to Wikipedia, fifty high school seniors are chosen to be the Maids, and they serve as the “Official Abassadors” for the city of Mobile. They are to wear these antebellum-style dresses and use mannerisms from the era. They greet foreigners and dignitaries as they enter the city, they are to know all about the city, landmarks and history. The Azalea Trail Maids are to be a living example of “Southern Hospitality”. They even attended the inauguration of president Obama.
These lovely ladies show up at events, festivals, etc. just like Miss America would. I had the pleasure of running past these ladies at the Azalea Trail Run. They had them set up at one of our turns as though they were traffic cones. All dolled up, donning their bonnets and umbrellas, they were waving to all of us sweaty, smelly folks and cheering us on as we ran around them. One man just ahead of me cut right through the line of Maids to cut the corner we were supposed to run around. The pink Azalea Trail Maid said, “Hey! You’re supposed to run AROUND us!” then a little more quietly to her blue maid friend she said, “Oh no, he didn’t”.
Don’t mess with the pink Maid.