Yours truly recently had the elite pleasure of meeting former first lady Laura Bush.
Now, on such an occasion as meeting a first lady, one must remember to dress accordingly — unless, of course, you first have a date with the Secret Service at the crack of dawn. I shouldn’t be sharing this, but I went in my pajamas to Van Wezel. I walked, still half asleep, through the stage door dressed in my Victoria’s Secret Super Model Essentials pink fleece hoodie and pants and handed my Nikon over to the men in black.
Marjorie Floyd, who’s in charge of public relations for the Ringling College Library’s Town Hall Lecture Series, at which Mrs. Bush was speaking, happened to waltz through the door (I hate to use this phrase) — bright-eyed and bushy-tailed — smiled pleasantly at me, stuck out her hand and introduced herself. She didn’t recognize me.
“Ohhh … ” she said to me. “So this is what you really look like.”
I chuckled, mentioned I went to bed with wet hair and that it must have gotten stuck in a light socket during my slumber, and headed out to get coffee.
Now, back to my original point …
Mrs. Bush was everything I thought she would be — a sweet, charming, cute and nice Southern belle. She was chattier than I expected and quite funny, too!
My two favorite moments are as follows:
1.) After her grand entrance into our little camera room downstairs at Van Wezel, where at least seven cameras were pointed in her face recording her every word and movement, she smiled at us and said: “I know they told you absolutely no questions, but I don’t mind.”
2.) During the post-lecture luncheon, Mrs. Bush and Kristine Nickel, chairwoman for the lecture series, were seated before us on a little stage. Mrs. Bush started telling us about her favorite national parks and asked if we knew that the White House gardens is a national park? This led into a few hiking stories, and she recalled one time when she and her best girlfriends and their daughters went hiking. Although it took the daughters four or five hours to hike the park, it took Mrs. Bush and her friends much longer. (I think maybe seven hours.) All she could think about while making the trek across the park was something to the effect of, “Oh great, here’s the first lady being carried out of a national park on a gurney!”
Now, if the Secret Service comes back to town for another special event, someone please tell them I don’t do mornings. Unless it’s breakfast with Mrs. Bush — then I, too, will somehow manage to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. â˜º
About Last Night is a twice-weekly online column by Black Tie Editor Loren Mayo. Share your own stories with Loren at [email protected].