Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hail to the Chief

On this lovely, excuse me, on this Super Tuesday we're having, I can't help but remember the most exciting day I ever spent at the gym.

I know how that sounds, but stay with me people. You could use a break from the election coverage.

On a weekday morning in college a few years and two iPods ago, I was keeping with my usual routine of exercising at the Rec before class. I was probably listening to Justin Timberlake and watching SportsCenter, as was my pastime, when something odd caught my eye. It was a man dressed head to toe in black; complete business formal. He disappeared behind a column, and I became more distracted by watching the murmuring and pointing other students were suddenly doing. Had someone passed out on the thigh abductor?

That's when I saw the man in black again, only upon further inspection, this time I noticed he was also wearing a clear earpiece. I had seen Independence Day enough times to know what an earpiece and a black suit meant. Things clicked into place and I knew why he was there. The man with the earpiece moved around to reveal none other than former President George H.W. Bush. At the gym on campus. Lifting weights. In his work out clothes. His Presidential library is at A&M, and though he was in College Station often, he was usually at the Bush School and not in the middle of campus.

I'm sure many Americans will see a President, in person, at some point in their lives. But how many will randomly run into one, unexpectedly?

I knew he was in town because that I already had tickets to the forum he was holding with Coach Mike Krzyzewski later that week, and I somehow managed, through all of this, to stay running on my treadmill without tripping or having to push the Emergency Stop button. I watched, and ran, fascinated and wondering what I should do.

I was sweaty!

People were supposed to be wearing sweater sets and Jackie O hats and dainty gloves when they were introduced to Presidents!

How was I to proceed?

Eventually he made his way near me, until he finally ended up on a stationary bike in front of me, startling the girl he sat next to as she had been too engrossed in her US Weekly to notice his arrival.

The entire time he was nothing but gracious to every student who sheepishly passed and said hello or reached out to shake his hand; never in a hurry and never ignoring anyone. I ended up skirting past him, his guard probably had to laugh at how strangely nervous I was, and said "good morning!" in a cheery, unnaturally pitchy voice. He returned the gesture, we both smiled, and I kept walking.

And that was it.

I met an American President in Nike shorts and lived to tell about it.

"I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God's love is truly boundless."
-George H.W. Bush

1 comment:

tootie said...

Ha! That is too funny. At least he was in workout gear, too! What a cool memory.