Have you ever wondered what Heaven was going to look like? I have, and I think I got a little preview Thursday when I went to Sarah Palin’s book signing in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (In the following video, you will see me at 0:26 looking horrible as my friend, Veronica, a liberal – laid exhausted at my side).
The signing was from noon until 3pm. We needed to be there, with our books – by 10am to obtain a wristband. Since this was Palin’s second stop from her kick-off in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we were sure to watch the news on Wednesday; during the day, to get an idea of how early to arrive. Boy, I am sure glad we did because Grand Rapids was quite a crazy event. In fact, folks who could not get to see her in Grand Rapids due to crowd issues, took a chance and left out Wednesday night to get to Fort Wayne, Indiana in plenty of time.
A few days ago, a filling came loose in a tooth of mine. Therefore; I was in quite a bit of pain. I had planned on attending the book signing with one friend. It was so annoying that I almost decided to stay home. But as the pain grew, so did my desire to put it aside and place mind over matter when seeing that this was my opportunity to meet someone so incredible. So without a lick of sleep; Wednesday night, I met Veronica in Indiana (my home is located in Illinois just on the border).
Veronica is one of my best friends. She voted for Obama and was apprehensive about meeting Sarah Palin. Nonetheless, we’ve had eachothers’ backs through a lot more than this, so she happily agreed to the three-hour road trip getting no sleep as well.
We arrived at Meijer in Fort Wayne, Indiana at approximately 3AM. It’s a large store popular in the midwest. Thank God it’s opened 24 hours because her and I brought blankets and pillows to camp out in “Karen” (my Lexus) with the heated seats to keep our bums from freezing. With luck, we went into the store and the folks in Fort Wayne were so nice…they allowed us to bring our pillows and blankets inside and to join the already multiple crowded aisles of folks who had been there since 9pm Wednesday night.
We then settled in “our aisle” and quickly noticed the vast crowding of folks outside. (We apparently got there just in time to get a final indoor waiting spot). People didn’t care. They brought blankets, coats, and even though we were all deathly tired, people kept smiling and chanting for “Sarah!” In some cases, people from the inside would temporarily switch places with someone from outside to allow small children to warm up, etc.
As I sat in the aisle (pictured below) among other people, a news reporter (who is also responsible for these images) approached me and talked with me about Palin and why we drove from Chicago to meet her. As a result I was quoted in her article covering the event.
Nearby, Stephen Flesher from Chicago leafs through the book as well.
“I think Sarah is very cool. She knows how to bring a lot of good people together. I think she is inspirational,” he said.
Speaking of media, many correspondents were there from Fox. Also, Norah O’Donnell from MSNBC was trolling around the crowds with her cameramen and microphones. But, since we all knew what she was up to from the day before in Grand Rapids, we were certain to chant Sarah! Sarah! Sarah! every time she came by our aisle trying to interview interrogate folks. Good Morning America was running around and Andrea Mitchell from Today was there as well.
The connection we all shared was amazing. I was thoroughly impressed with the store and its management. We were treated free coffee and refreshments and were allowed to save spots for one another so that people could go outside and smoke, use the restroom, etc. Out of thousands of folks who turned out, there was not one altercation or incident which confirms what I said: “Sarah brings good people together.” People were polite, smiling, and though we were all tired, we shared stories and ideas and talked a lot about politics and government. It truly was a nice time meeting other Palin fans in and of itself.
As Sarah Palin entered the building, everyone stood up and applauded loudly….tears streaming down faces of military wives who were holding portraits of their husbands who are overseas fighting for our country, little girls dressed up hand-in-hand with their parents, and some standing with gifts and flowers they had brought for the Governor.
Miraculously, MSNBC and Norah O’Donnell had disappeared before reporting that part of the event….the rest of the media were still there.
Palin immediately began signing books. We were all told that she would be able to sign two books each and had 20 seconds per person. This was not the case. Palin insisted on asking everyone’s name, asking where they were from, shaking hands with every admirer and sending well wishes as folks left.
…and whenever a military wife would approach, Sarah would always reach out for a hug and a kind word…
As I saw Sarah Palin hugging these various military wives, I thought of our very own AFW and noticed the raw emotion of these women. This was their time to shine and be noticed. They deserved it because of their selflessness they grant to us everyday. So AFW, again, thank you for your selfless contribution to our country!
As I approached Palin myself, I grew weak in the knees. However; Sarah made up for that with a surprisingly firm handshake and a smile. I told her I had driven from Chicago and she asked how long it took. I then told her I was so grateful to her for everything she’s done and how she had a lot of support in the Chicago area whether she realized it or not. She smiled and said “thank you, that is so encouraging” and said she was amazed I had driven three hours. She then ordered me to go get some sleep. (I must have really looked awful! 🙂 )
No matter where Sarah Palin goes, I feel in my heart that it’s upward. She’s brave and she speaks our language. This day in my life was very special. I met some terrific friends and for about 10.5 hours total, I was reminded how peaceful and happy large groups of people can really be – especially when we all share a hope for something better. I then for two seconds wondered if this is how conservatives felt when they first discovered Ronald Reagan. Perhaps.
So, do I really think this encouraging day of mass familiarity was an indication of what Heaven is going to be like?