Good Evening, Mr. Presidents

I practiced all week.  The proper inflection, correct annunciation, strong handshake (trying practicing that by yourself), and friendly smile.  The follow-up witty comment.  The polite good-bye.

I worked on that witty comment for hours.  I asked friends and strangers.  I contemplated websites.  I dreamed endlessly.  And for naught.

When the time came, I barely managed to squeak out a proper greeting.  And I know I sounded like a raving idiot when I told him I was a big fan and he was the first president I ever voted for.  But it was all worth it, because he gave me a huge grin and a quick hug.

Hear that?  I got a hug from President George W. Bush.

But I guess I should start from the beginning.  It was a star-studded event.  I worked the registration desk where the first person I checked in was Jerry Springer.

He gave me his name, I asked for his photo ID, he repeated his name like I was an idiot, I repeated that I needed to see a photo ID for security purposes.  He hands me his ID.  I look at it.  I finally look up at him.  Yep, Jerry Springer, well, actually Gerald Springer which is why I had such a hard time finding him on my list.  Good start to my evening, right?

Then I offered to help usher attendees into the event.  Which meant that I got to stay and listen to President Clinton and President Bush.  It was awesome.  Not only did I get to see (LIVE!) two past Presidents of the United States of America, but I got to hear reflections on their presidency and ideas on issues facing our nation.  I was content.

But the evening was not yet done.  I worked the photo room where certain guests received a photo with President Bush and President Clinton.  At the very end, a couple of staff members, including myself, jumped in line for our chance for a photo.  I was going to be cool, collect, like I meet famous people every day.  But I started babbling because I got to meet a man I truly admire.  Who kept us safe after 9/11, who provided leadership in the wars that followed, who lowered the tax rates, etc…  And then (and I know I’m repeating but I’m still really excited!) he gave me a grin like he knew it was overwhelming and he understood.  He gave me a quick hug and we both moved on to great the next person in line!

I moved on to shake President Clinton’s (another great president) hand and I managed to get my emotions under control.  I shook his hand, murmured a polite platitude, gave him a friendly smile and stood next to him for the group photo.  It was awesome.

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