Fifteen minutes of fame. (A Rising Stars Assignment)
|I got started a little late on college. I took a few semesters at the local community college, decided I liked it well enough, and transferred to a school in the south. At first, it was all culture shock and learning the difference of being at a large university. By Christmas I was comfortable, and joined a fraternity, even though I was older than any other pledges.
Every Greek house has famous alumni, but by the time summer rolled around, I found out an interesting fact. One of our brothers was heir to a multi-billion dollar food industry. He also was young enough to enjoy a good party, and every now and again, the brothers were invited out to the “lake house.” That’s an understatement. It was an enormous mansion that had everything. Every amenity you could want and enough toys like boats and other watercraft to keep any young man busy. There would be times, though, their young buck shenanigans got tiresome. I’d just retire to the library, which was my favorite spot. It was a huge room with a big fieldstone fireplace and comfortable leather seating, and that smell that only comes from books. One instance, I’d just sat down with a favorite classic and a couple fingers of incredible whiskey, when one young brother came running in.
“Bill’s here!” He yelled. “Dude! Bill’s here!”
“Okay, I’ll bite,” I replied. “Who the hell is Bill, and why should I care?”
“He’s the Governor!” He looked at me like I had two heads. “And you'll see why!”
“Well, I’m glad you’re so excited, but…” He was gone. Probably headed back to the party on the dock.
I’ll admit I was a little curious, so I stood and walked over to take a gander out the window. Sure enough, there was a motorcade in the drive. The other rather odd activity was a line of vehicles behind the limousines and trooper cars. Regular people didn’t just show up on the property, but when some of the most stunningly beautiful women started popping out of them, it made sense. I wasn't told until later, but they also enjoyed sunning themselves in the nude by the lake. I could understand my young brother’s excitement. I just left them to it, and went back to my book.
About an hour later a gentleman walked in. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know anyone was here.”
“C’mon in,” I said. “Plenty of room.”
“Thank you, it’s my favorite place here.”
“Mine, too.” We were quiet for a bit.
“Hemingway?” He chuckled. “A little light reading?”
“One of my favorites, actually.”
Then the oddest thing happened, we had a nearly hour long conversation about A Farewell to Arms. This guy could literally quote passages -- eidetic memory I was told -- and we laughed about a book that isn’t funny. Had I known then what I know now, that this man would be President of the United States, I may have chosen a different topic.