slim to none....
My wife is maybe the most self-confident person I know, who takes no guff off of anyone, her stubbornness is only matched by her natural beauty. She is a woman one does not want tro let down, under any circumstances. On the night on which her favorite all time Presidential candidate is preparing to claim the Presidency within the distance of 4 or 5 well batted baseballs, I have no real way of getting her close enough to be able to say she was there.
Make no mistake, accomplishing this mission is up to me, since I am the one who enjoys bragging about how well I know this city inside and out. And to my loving wife's everlasting credit- she has yet to question me once on these matters, even on this evening.
As we walk on, travelling North and now almost directly West of the eternal spotlights - we are distracted by a large crowd gathering on Michigan avenue , the fabled six lane boulevrd is perpindicular to our position as we walk. The crowd is growing in front of the Palmer House Hilton, a grand hotel whose roof is bathed in red and blue lights. A limousine is parked in front with a well coiffed chauffer standing just outside the driver's door. Now I had heard from earlier news reports that the Obamas were headed to the Downtown Hyatt so I am not exactly sure why the crowd is packed side by side here, in front of the Hilton. As the crowd grows, shouts of "Yes We Can" are equally matched by shouts of "Yes We Did" .
Taxicab drivers can barely make it through on Michigan Avenue , as each one is mobbed by people seemingly starving for high fives. A police car drives by next and gets the same treatment, as the crowd grows little by little- this crowd has no reason to it except to shout at the top of its lungs in utter joy. Next a tricked out PT Cruiser comes and , yep- the bewildered driver also enjoys the celebrity for a few. Next a TV cameraman swoops in and the crowd is now turned absolutely upsid down with glee. Then there is wife and I - slightly confused but still enjoying the scene - we are a part of the crowd - but almost from a distance.
Soon we both realize that this is fools gold, a momentary sugar rush- there is not the sustenance here after which we hunger. Obama or Bust !! We make our way back to the park and notice a four-wide contigent of mounted policemen making their way toward the crowd. The horses seem ten foot high below the manes. These must be the finest horses I have ever laid eyes on, all four are extremely well groomed , i would go so far as to say, intimidatingly so. One of the horses is pulled up by its rider and the front legs go up in the air. This horse in particular seems now approximately 15 feet tall. The urge is there to linger and see what happens to our acquaintances in the crowd, but instead we are back onto our business.
Thankfully , this is the only time I would see the famous sky-blue colored headgear of this great city's police force.
As we march on, a foot bridge up ahead holds some promise; but as we make our way closer, this bridge too is well manned and the men in charge are directing ticket holders to Jackson Avenue. Ahhh, Jackson avenue, which is the stop I originally had planned to take. We are now well past the spoltlights , which to us and many others not in this city at the time represent the undoubted center of the universe. We have now ofiicially lost ground and we are starting to insist that we are glad we have made the effort, sice that is what is important.
My lovely has not uttered one word of reproach this whole time- not one, and she keeps this unblemished record going as we approach the Jackson avenue bridge which links Michigan Avenue with Columbus. And at last, we see the ticket takers who hold the key to the other side and an everlasting place in the history of our young nation. The area just in front of this spot is well-filled but yet negotiable , by now over 99.999 percent of the attendees are already safely inside and must by now be eagerly preparing to bask in the glow of our President-elect's next great speech.
Now is the time, the time we make our stand, we either gain entrance here or we accept our fate. I take one last visual sweep to try and find a weak spot to gain unescorted entry. I sweep and scan and scrutinize and ..... nothing. I soon realize that this event is locked down tighter than a snare drum. So, now we are resigned , as others walk by us asking us for a ticket. Smartly dressed men are making overtures to women half their age by promising to let these women be their guests and admission would be theirs for the asking. One smart dressed man rebuffed, and quickly onto the next potential conquest. Twenty-one somethings eye my wife and I up and down and ask for a ticket. We have none either, but we are too proud to ask. We stand our ground , almost trying to will our way in by ESP or telekinesis.
Now , here comes a brass band straight out of a medium to well -to-do D.C. hotel , red white and blue hats in tow playing "Happy Days are Here Again", very proficiently yet without much of the rancor for which the song begs in order to be the rousing ditty it very well should be on this night. I can understand the lack of emotion here , I feel the same way myself since we have no ticket. And as I try to avoid my wife's piercingly beautiful eyes, I hear another request for a ticket. I politely inform the latest Dawson's Creek cast member that we do not have any tickets, as she passes, I hear a voice - "Do you need a ticket?"
I turn 45 degrees on a dime and stare at my benefactor - a lady, a lady with a great gold lame jacket along with what must have been her man and another woman along for the night.
"Yes,. Thank You so much" I say , maybe the most earnest words ever spoken by myself to a stranger.
She instantly sees that my wife and I are together as one and shortly thereafter produces a second ticket from what seemed like a stack twenty deep for my love as well. This woman- I never got her name - has just turned the night and perhaps our lives straight out downside up ! We instantly turn again and gladly hand our tickets to the taker , it happens so fast .. we are now a part of the event !!! Of great and grand history......
( my birthday tomorrow, part III will be posted at a yet unnamed date )