Did I ever tell you about the time I molested Ray Bradbury? No? I guess I was still waiting for the police to show up at my door. I think it's safe now.
My husband is a huge fan of Ray Bradbury. He was a little kid taking Ray Bradbury books on boy scout camp-outs to avoid death by boredom/frustration. It's a very real ailment, I assure you. For years now my husband would out-of-the-blue announce that Ray Bradbury was having a speaking engagement at this or that place. Then he would say he really should go. He would not go. I would feel kind of guilty. It was for a good reason like needing to spend the money on gasoline or electric bills or sugar-free Popsicles. Or good chocolate. Chocolate gets its' very own sentence. Or two. Or three. Make it stop!
Last month my husband announced Ray Bradbury would be speaking at Sierra Madre High School in Sierra Madre, California. This is where I pull down the map of the United States and count the states from Ohio to California like Tom Hanks did in Sleepless in Seattle. Ohio and California are not so close. But for some reason this time I did not help him get discouraged about the possibility. Instead, I spent many hours researching hotels. I found us a great deal on a hotel/air combo (GooooooooOOOOO Priceline!) and we shot off to Los Angeles.
We decided to get to the high school two hours early. Nothing was going to go wrong. We walked around the enchanting little town of Sierra Madre. We made some new friends (hi Karen!) and went back to the school to get our seats. There was hardly anyone there when we first got there, but after a while the place was full to capacity. Ray came out and talked (you can read more about this on my other blog.)
After the talk people stood in line anxiously to get their book of choice signed. And I say anxiously because they had announced he would only be signing a book for the first 100 people. We had some helpful reassurance from John of the Dragon Lapel Pin Tribe, and I stood around making friends in front of the stage while the Lion stood in line making his own friends. Today I wish I had thought to share information with some of those lovely people.
My husband got up on stage and I took pictures of him with Ray. A really nice lady took some pictures of both of us with Ray. At some point, and this is where it gets good, I grabbed Ray Bradbury's hand and forced it open. (And I really did have to force it open - it was not an easy task!) Then I kissed his palm and thanked him profusely. Then I started crying. I'm not sure if I cried from embarrassment or pure emotion.
As far as I know I am not banned from further speaking events.
As a matter of fact I think it was well received. We got to walk him to his car. And nobody else got to do that!