That Time I Ran after Tony Bennett
We all have those moments. Those memories, when looking back on them, even now, I cover my face in embarrassment though I'm the only one in the room. THIS was one of those times.
Spring Break, New York City.
The temperature was a cool mid-50's and overcast. The wind was swirling in from the North. I wore jeans, a turtleneck, a sweater, and wedge boots. (yes, I remember, and it does impact the story)
We had decided to wake early and explore the city that day. We traveled with good friends (who have boys), and our sightseeing included a lot of sports stores, tourist areas, and food. The boys loved the excitement of the big city, such a departure from our small town. The trip was fun, laid-back, no significant breakdowns - as long as my family had food in them, including (especially)me.
My watch indicated that I had already walked about 5 miles, and I was feeling the unfortunate decision of wedge boots. I was also feeling the acid in my empty stomach as we lingered aimlessly on the crowded streets.
Are we stopping for lunch? Anyone?
The other family, with their three boys, were already standing in line for hot dogs from the food truck stationed at the opening of Central Park.
FYI - I'm not a food truck kind of girl. (I know! I know! Missing out and all that, but I admit my flaws, ok?) I don't eat at festivals either. It's just not my thing. But, I digress.
My stomach clenched from only having two strong Starbucks all morning, and the looks of desperation on my boys' and husband's faces clinched the decision that we were eating from a food truck in Central Park. Yay!
Hot dogs in hand, we leaned against the concrete wall, the boys sitting on the steps, and ate like we hadn't seen food in days.
That's when I spotted him.
In a green tracksuit, white stripes up the pants and down the sleeves, the collar of the jacket popped up and zipped to his chin, all-white sneakers. I noticed the flash of silver hair first. He sped by, arms pumping to the rhythm of his gait, practically speed-walking down the avenue adjacent to where we sat. Everyone else oblivious to the sighting.
I lept off the ledge and jumped down two broad steps, landing with a wobbly thud on wedged heels. I steadied myself like a racer before the starting gun and took off.
I threw my hot dog to the stoop. (regretting that considerably when I returned)
I could feel the blisters ripping open at my heels, but I didn't care. I clomped down the sidewalk like a carriage horse without reins.
Man, he was fast. I mean, I'm no runner, but I could not catch up to him. I couldn't even close the gap.
His arms swung faster, the white stripes a blur of movement. I looked at his sneakers to see if they were motorized. Nope.
"Can I have your autograph?"
I was out of breath. My ankles ached. The wind whirled around my face, and I brushed the out-of-control hair from my sight.
I don't know why he's not stopping.
I lifted my knees higher, trying to gain speed. The sound of my boots stomped on the uneven pavement.
I was closing in.
"Mr. Bennett, my grandfather loves you!"
My out-of-breath voice swept away in the wind.
Could he hear me?
The toe of my boot caught raised concrete, and I hurled forward. Flailing to keep my balance, I looked ahead just in time to see him wave before he rounded the corner and was gone.
He never missed a beat.
Yes! I got a wave.
I bent over with my hands on my knees, gasping for air.
I was amazed at the half a block distance I trekked - in heels.
I limped back to the boys, who sat there wide-eyed, mouths agape, hot dogs still in hand.
"Mom, what was that? I've never seen you move so fast."
Tears formed in my husband's eyes from laughing.
"That was Tony Bennett, didn't you see him?"
"Ok, Mom, sure it was. Did you get an autograph?"
I took a sip of the drink I had left behind.
"No, no, he was in a hurry. But I got a wave."
I definitely got a wave.
Maybe I'll have better luck next time.
Love and Luck,
Disclaimer: I am a huge Tony Bennett fan (obviously). He really was one of my grandfather's favorites. And, I don't think I would have stopped for me, either. Also -- my food truck hot dog (all that I ate of it) was fantastic.
Thanks for requesting a funny story on today's blog. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.