This morning for some strange reason, I started trying to list in my mind all of the famous people I have come in contact with. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that I’ve been watching the Orioles in their pennant race and listening to Jim Palmer do color commentary during the games. I once met Jim. I’m sure he remembers. Anyway, here is the resultant list of famous people who almost know me and the moments when we sort of met.
#1 – My Ah-choo Moment – One day I was walking through the mall and I heard a sneeze. To my surprise it came from Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. Now normally I would never (probably never) approach a celebrity while out with his family, but you can’t let a sneeze just hang there without a proper caring response. So, yes, I was able to give Jameer a blessing – a “God bless you” blessing. Surely that would not count as an invasion of privacy. Now since I am a fan, and I’m old enough to be his mother; and especially since this happened during the play-offs, I added, “You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. We need you to stay healthy.” He thanked me. I’m counting that as a conversation with an NBA superstar.
#2 – My Stand-Out Moment – Traveling home on a plane from Atlanta, I was in coach sandwiched between my husband and a young man of about twenty. As I engaged him in conversation, I discovered he was a close friend of Dwight Howard and was, in fact, traveling with Dwight, who was enjoying the additional leg room offered in first class. Dwight would often fly this fellow back to Atlanta with him so that they could both visit their families and friends there. I think that’s pretty stand-out of Dwight – it could only be sweeter if he flew him first class, too. As we disembarked, we saw Dwight sitting on a bench with his buddy. Dwight’s knees were under his chin. He was way too tall for that bench which was designed for mere mortals. Of course, the entire story is now tainted by Dwight’s inexcusable flight from Orlando to Los Angeles, but since I did wave goodbye to my new friend as he sat with Dwight, this still counts as Dwight almost meeting me.
#3 – My Jab-in-the-Ribs Moment – A few years ago while visiting Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the stadium of my beloved Baltimore Orioles, I was thrilled to see All-Star first baseman Boog Powell manning his restaurant under the green tent behind the centerfield bleachers. Boog’s BBQ is famous for ribs and, of course, barbeque. The big man himself was happily greeting passersby and I was able to introduce myself to him and shake his beefy hand. I spent my tenth birthday watching him and the rest of the 1966 Orioles playing at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. My mother is the quintessential Oriole fan and has pioneered the art of fandom in our family, so this was quite the day for me.
#4 – My Squirrelly Moment – Bob Ross is best known as the painter of “happy little trees” who offers painting lessons on “The Joy of Painting,” but he is lesser known as the guy to whom kids took injured squirrels. Bob Ross died in 1995, but before that time he was a resident of our little neighborhood. I did not know that he had an affinity for needy squirrels and birds, but my kids figured it out. They had witnessed him opening his front door to them with a squirrel on his shoulder. I never met him myself, but I’m counting him. We still refer to his house as “The Bob Ross House.”
#5 – My Hall-of-Fame Moment – Back in the 1983, Oriole pitcher and now baseball Hall of Fame member, Jim Palmer, endorsed Jockey Underwear. He was making an appearance at the local mall, and I made it my mission to get his autograph for my mother. I strapped my daughter in the stroller and took my four-year-old son by the hand and waited in the long line. Thankfully the kids were happy, so happy that the local news station caught us on film and we made the six o’clock news that night. “We” is an overstatement though, as it was only my daughter and I who were on the news. My son was brokenhearted as he watched and there was not a glimpse of him. I’m pretty sure that was the birth of sibling rivalry in my family.
How about you? Who is on your list of famous people who almost know you?