Governor Sarah Palin….it is said that you either love her or hate her. I had the opportunity to shake her hand last night at a book signing and got to witness her genuine personality firsthand. For most of the day yesterday, I really didn’t think that would happen. It was an unexpected opportunity and I almost didn’t embrace it.
I had attempted to get a wristband early in the morning only to find the line wrapped completely around the shopping center. Slightly disappointed, I headed back home to finish getting ready for work. Thirty minutes after my initial attempt, I stopped by the bookstore once again. The wristbands were gone and only a small group of people were huddled by the store’s entrance.
I said to myself, “well, I tried” and steered my car toward work. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bummed. Fast forward to 4:15 yesterday afternoon. My cell phone rings and it’s a friend of mine asking if I was in line for the book signing. I gave her a recap of my morning attempts and said that I was just headed to the basketball game after work. She basically told me that I’ll regret it if I don’t go back and at least try to see her. She was right. An hour later, dressed in 3 layers including a down vest, I was standing behind the barricade at the bookstore. My friend who prodded me to embrace this chance kept texting me for updates. I met up with a nice mother and daughter from Okemah, OK. We chatted easily which helped take our mind off the cold temps. Gov. Palin arrived earlier than expected….as the bus pulled around the corner, the screams began and phones and cameras immediately went up in the air. The crowd outside hoped she’d say a few words but she shook a few hands and went inside with her son Trig balanced on her hip.
As the throng of people with wristbands filed in, we stood patiently…..hoping for a chance to get inside for an autograph. I was amazed each time the bookstore staff would come out and say, ‘If you’ll just be patient, she’s still signing. We’re going to try and get everyone in. We feel good about this.” Our chance came about 2.5 hours later. My new friends and I got our wristband and were now in the line right outside the entrance. Clutching my copy of ‘Going Rogue,’ I looked at Gov. Palin’s picture, silently saying, “I can’t believe I’ll get to meet her.” We weaved our way through the line inside and then I was finally next for an autograph. She looked up and made eye contact with me as she did each person. I said what I wanted to say, ‘Governor, you’re a breath of fresh air. Thank you for that.” She said, “Oh that’s so nice. Thank you.” She asked my name, shook my hand and said, “God Bless.” I walked to the side, picked up my signed book and looked back at her and just smiled thinking how cool it was to just shake the hand of a former Vice Presidential candidate. She was even more genuine in person as she is on television. I immediately called my friend and thanked her for making me go. Once I was safely in my warm car, I turned on the heat and then called my parents. My Dad answered and I said, “Guess who I just met?” I then proceeded to tell him about my night. Twenty minutes later I was home in bed, still reliving what happened. Despite the cold and slightly scratchy throat I’ve since acquired, I still can’t help but smile. Am I an idiot for standing outside in 30 degree weather to maybe get a book signed or a glimpse of someone? Probably….but you know what, it was a gamble that paid off and I’d probably do it again.