Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec 8 2009: Meeting Governor Palin in CO Springs

Governor Palin's Going Rogue tour hit the streets of Colorado Springs, CO this week and she seemed to have brought a slice of home with her: record cold temperatures and a respectable winter storm hit the state the day before Alaska's former governor swooped in to give her Rocky Mountain fans a chance to greet her in person.

I was among those who chose to brave the cold temperatures and blowing snow to attend the book signing event and I was happy to have the opportunity to do so. In a last-minute prescient move, I decided to make the one-hour drive to the Springs from Denver the evening before, and reserved a hotel room near the Borders bookstore where the signing would take place. It was a good move. Not only because it saved me some messy driving in the middle of the night, but because it made the entire experience all the more out-of-the-ordinary.

SIGNING DAY PART I: There's No One Else I Would Do This For

Things got going pretty early-on the day of the signing - around 4am. I awoke at the hotel, and began to evaluate each item of clothing for its warmth and layerability. Tank top under t-shirt #1, under t-shirt #2, then turtleneck...and don't forget the base layer long-johns, topped off with snowboarding socks, etc...

You get the idea.

The mall doors would not open until 6:30am, however I knew that Palinistas, being who they are, would likely show up early to guarantee a good spot in line. True to form, there were about 25 people or so at the front of the line when I arrived at 5am. So, knowing there would be 750 wristbands distributed, I waited in the car for awhile to limit my time in the sub-zero temperatures. Eventually, though, I put my multi-layered ensemble to the test and ventured out to wait with the growing crowd. In the end, I was among the first 200 or so people in line.

I was guaranteed a wristband and a few precious seconds with the Governor!

SIGNING DAY PART II: I Hope I Don't Faint

When early evening rolled around, it was time to get back in line for the final stretch of the journey and everyone around me was very excited and animated. As was the case in the morning queue, there was plenty of, "I hope she runs in 2012!" talk.

(In an informal visual poll, I can say that all of Colorado Springs agrees with this sentiment and is indeed hoping that Governor Palin will become President Palin in January, 2013)*

*The results of this poll are un-scientific but decidedly heartfelt.

Making my way from the hall and into Borders, there was an immediate change in atmosphere: from the bustling activity of the mall to the quiet setting of the store, making it feel immediately more intimate. It was an appropriate segue, I thought.

The better acoustics also gave me the chance to provide an on-the-scene report to Alaska's favorite talk radio host, Eddie Burke, live on the air at KBYR in Anchorage. Eddie is a great friend to the Governor, supporting her endeavors over all these years; and he has become a great friend to many of us who do our own small part to express our admiration for who she is and all that she has achieved. If ever there was a glue holding Palin-bloggers together, it may well be Eddie Burke! And, I was happy to provide my first KBYR report for the show.

As our wristband-designated lines snaked through the store, we could watch as small groups of people went up the escalator to the second floor where Governor Palin was signing. I actually found myself smiling as I watched the process, knowing that at the top of the escalator, the experience of a lifetime awaited each of us.

SIGNING DAY PART III: Meeting Governor Palin

When it was my turn to venture up, I was (surprisingly) not nervous at all. Rather, I had a sense of calm excitement. If it's possible to feel a sense of familiarity with someone you have never actually met, I think that's what I felt.

My main goals upon approaching the table were pretty simple:

  • Don't trip
  • Don't injure Governor Palin or her staff
  • Pass along Eddie's message of "hello"
  • Say something nice to Jason Recher because of his loyalty to Governor Palin
  • Remember to respond if she asks me a question
  • Respond to said question with appropriate info (i.e. tell her my name, not hers)
  • Don't be creepy.

In the end, I managed to achieve these goals (I don't think I was creepy, but I guess others will have to be the judge of that), and Governor Palin was as gracious and personable as I had imagined she would be. As we shook hands and started to chat, I was struck by what I'll call her approachable grace.

I can't really describe it other than to say that there is an elegance about Governor Palin that I had not picked up on from afar. It was immediately clear to me that she is a woman who is equally at home shaking hands at the state fair, or running policy meetings with foreign diplomats. She is often described as 'confident'. At this moment, I understood precisely what that means, and it was a powerful realization.

I don't really know how long we talked - perhaps thirty seconds or less. She asked how I knew Eddie, and what I do for a living. And (I'm not sure if this was polite small talk or not) she mentioned something about staying in touch when I told her I'm a designer. Had I been a shameless self-promoter, I would have had a card in her hand in seconds!

But I'm not. So I didn't. (One of you pass on my email address, would ya?)

As if all that weren't enough, Chuck and Sally Heath (Sarah's parents) were standing at the ready as each of us left the signing area. I'm typically not one to gush, but let me just say that I love Chuck and Sally Heath and I don't care who knows! I told them this in no uncertain words and requested (and received) hugs from both. When I tore myself away and headed back downstairs, I made eye contact with 'Aunt Katie' (Sally Heath's sister) and, yes, hugged her too. (She's a hoot, by the way!)

When my time with the Palin and Heath families was done, I lingered in the hallway and tried to process the day's events. I continued to watch hundreds of people stream in and out of Borders, clutching their newly-signed books, excitedly calling friends to relay their experiences, and hovering around Mrs. Heath and Aunt Katie as they spent time chatting with folks in the hall and offering their own autographs.

I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the famous Going Rogue tour bus, but due to the Alaskan weather invasion of Colorado, I'm assuming the bus remained garaged as it was easier to travel by SUV. Oh well. At least I didn't trip...

Epilogue:

December 8, 2009 was a day I will never forget.

I talked with a woman who might be the first Madame President in our nation's history. And, I met one of our country's great families - the Palin-Heath clan - and saw that the best part about them is that they reminded me of my own.

Thank you, Governor Palin, for your tireless energy and the gracious reception you have given to the thousands of people who have journeyed to see you these past few weeks. As is typical, you have given more of yourself than is required...and, on behalf of a couple thousand Palinistas in Colorado, I offer my sincere gratitude for the experience of a lifetime.

May His hand of protection be upon you and your family as you make your way back home to your beloved Alaska.


Follow me on Twitter: @TwitToNande
Read my blog: thedesignconservative.com


*LOCAL NEWS VIDEO*












*BONUS* ANOTHER COLORADO STORY

Michelle Malkin writes of her experience with Governor Palin in Colorado Springs!

PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Top photo - courtesy daylife.com
  • Michelle Malkin and Gov. Palin - courtesy of michellemalkin.com

Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Dec 8 2009: Meeting Governor Palin in CO Springs"

Post a Comment