But, I must say, I am usually the one in the family with bragging rights. It’s normal for me to call home and tell my family about things I saw in Paris, Corfu, or even Calabria. Well, there’s a first time for everything. And, that time was last week when I made my daily call home.
“Bill Clinton is in Lufkin tonight,” Mom told me. “We’re going to go!”
Being the yellow dog democrat I am, I couldn’t control my excitement. I didn’t sleep a wink, and even considered calling home in the wee hours of the next morning to get a full recap.
I not so patiently waited until mid-morning their time to talk to my sister, Charlee.
“You are going to die,” were her first words to me.
“What?!? Tell me. Tell me!”
So, she begins her “Bill Clinton’s in Lufkin, Texas review” with all of the drama and anticipation one would expect from a former One Act Play “Best Actress” nominee.
“We waited in line for two hours to get in, and we stood the whole time!”
“It was amazing!”
“He looks just like he does on TV…”
She then tells me about the post-speech mingle, where the president meets and greets with, who he hopes will be, his wife’s supporters.
“I pushed my way to the other side, because I knew he’d walk over there, too. I made Cole come with me!”
“People were pushing, and stomping. It was actually very scary. There was a big steel bar, and people kept pushing Cole into the bar. They even rolled a man in a wheel chair out the way…poor guy! He’d roll himself up. Someone would roll him out of the way!”
Well, apparently Cole was in near-hysteric tears because of the force of the crowd.
“Can you put him on the other side of the gate?” Charlee asked a security guard.
“Can you please ask people to stop pushing. He is scared!” She asked a civic center employee, who glanced away and averted her question.
Two arms, clad in an expensive black suit, reach over the gate and pull him to safety…just as my sister’s camera batteries die.
“Hey there…are you ok?” The soothing political voice we’ve heard so much over the years asks.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” bellows Cole.
“Are you scared?”
“YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS,” he roars, again.
“Ok,” Bill continues (you see, we are on a first name basis now that he saved my nephew). “Everyone step back. This little boy is scared!”
In the midst of this chaos, Charlee hears my mother in the background…
“That’s my grandson!”
(Charlee assumed Mom thought Cole was lost, and was trying to rescue him. Pep and I are convinced she was bragging to onlookers, which she later admitted was, indeed, the case.)
A few seconds later, Bill looks at Charlee.
“Is this your little boy?”
“Yes,” Charlee smiles.
“Well, why don’t we get a picture?”
My sister’s reply was no less mortifying than Baby’s “I carried a watermelon,” or Forest Gump’s response upon meeting President Kennedy… “I gotta pee....”
“My batteries are dead.”
“You can’t miss this opportunity,” a good Samaritan exclaims as he hands over his own batteries.
“Here, Steve. Can you take this for us?” Bill asks his guard.
All in all…a good day. Cole recovered from the trauma of his first political rally, and my sister has her picture for next year’s Christmas cards.
And, then, to add insult to injury…
I’m missing it, again!