WHERE I WENT TO LUNCH TODAY

Today was the Genesis Women’s Shelter‘s Mother’s Day Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, and the Sewell Family of Dealerships, who were Gold Sponsors of the event, were kind enough to invite me to sit at their table. The keynote speakers of the luncheon were Barbara and George H. W. Bush. More details after the jump.

Those expecting a narrative of the luncheon should look elsewhere. I’ve got no time for transitions:

–There were about 1,000 people there. About 4/5 of them were women. About 1/2 of them have had work done. If you think that’s catty, tell that to the women who pointed it out to me.

–Not counted in my 1,000 people estimate were the 40 kajillion secret service members. One of my party knew one of them, as he was kind enough to help out with an office prank. (Flashing his badge, Secret Service Guy approached Unsuspecting Office Coworker and said there were several cases of identity theft tracked to that office and that the feds had pinpointed it to his shift. Did he mind answering a few questions? Oh boy, was his Coworker’s face red … reportedly.) Anyway, Secret Service Guy seemed very nice, but a little tip for you: if you think you can make casual conversation by asking why he had to report to duty the night before the luncheon at midnight and what all is entailed in prepping the area for the president–well that’s going to be a short conversation. He won’t talk.

–Others spotted: Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Bill Hill, SMU president Gerald Turner, Ellen Terry, Ebby Halliday, Margaret Keliher, and, like, 982 others.

–Jane McGarry and Mike Snyder were the Mistress and Master of Ceremonies. It was fun to watch them fill time before the honored guests arrived. Mike pointed out how lovely Jane is and how he’s “the luckiest guy in the world–[he] gets to sit next to her every night.” Talk about non sequiturs.

–Enter Barbara and George. Standing o.

–You know what else is fun? Watching Mike Snyder ad lib. He was hawking raffle tickets (though he might have sold more if he continued to call them “raffle tickles” as he did at first). “Who here has already bought a ticket? Raise your hand.” Then, “One thousand, two thousand–oh, wait, this isn’t an auction.” You taking notes, Tim? That’s gold at your next public speaking engagement.

–Sarah L. Lee did a great job of singing “God Bless America.” While she did, I noticed George lip sync’ed (“sanc”?) at the same time that he checked the program, checked his watch, and looked over his notes. Homeboy can multitask.

–The Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson from Highland Hills United Methodist Church gave a rousing invocation. More on that later.

–Sharon Popham, the luncheon chairman, was a Debbie Downer and reminded everyone that every 12 seconds a woman is battered. Genesis is there to help, and it’s an excellent cause.

–Genesis Executive Director Jan Langbein gave a good, though some might describe it as a touch lenghthy, intro of the Bushes. She also spoke about the good work of Genesis and how they were honored to be no. 929 on Bush’s Thousand Points of Light. She also announced Nancy Ann Hunt as the recipient of the 2006 Jane Doe Award. Apparently, Nancy Ann does not enjoy the spotlight.

–Then, Babs. She told everyone how important it was for them to be there. So important that she and George might fall asleep during it. Not for lack of interest, you see, but because the two of them left Paris, France, last night at around 3 in the morning. And they’re getting old, she admitted. She then quoted Phyllis Diller, who once said she had so many new body parts, she was worried God wouldn’t recognize her. Big laugh. But there were more laughs to be laughed. First, an inspirational story about Charles Plum. I won’t go into detail (I’ve got to leave in, like, 15 minutes), but the moral of the story is we’re all parachute packers. Seriously. Barbara then told the audience that George is threatening to jump “out of a perfectly good airplane” again on his 85th birthday. She then quoted Ruth Graham, wife of Billy. Apparently Ruth was once asked, “As a Christian, have you ever considered divorce?” “Divorce, no,” she replied. “Murder, yes.” Big laugh. She nodded sternly at her husband. Bigger laugh. She wrapped it up with some glowing terms for her hubby.

–George’s turn. He thanked everyone and praised the invocation, saying it was so good it might make him a Methodist. [Laughter.] “I’m one of the Chosen Frozen–an Episcopalian,” he said. Another laugh. “You might make my son a Methodist,” he said. “I don’t know what he is.” Yet another. We were putty in his hands, people. He then quoted a Phyllis Diller line of his own, the one about all of their friends dying in alphabetical order. [Reading the obits in the paper] “Oh, no. Jim’s gone.” … Maybe you had to be there. It was funny. He talked about Genesis and the Hunts and some serious stuff. “How can a man be so cowardly to raise a hand in anger toward his wife,” he wondered aloud. “I’ve thought about it,” he said. We laughed at that one too. Without transition (must be the theme of the day) he said, “Many of you in this room are no doubt wondering what I’m doing with Bill Clinton.” He said, over still more laughter, “He has to explain it to his people and I have to explain it to mine.” He made a larger point about doing selfless work and doing something bigger than yourself, but not before telling the crowd about his favorite comic strip that was about gay marriage and had a drawing of George Sr. and Bill holding hands on the couch. Bill sent it to him with a note: “Don’t you think we ought to cool it? –B.” Good stuff.

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