October 08, 2008
Dateline: Pensacuda, FL Tuesday, October 6th ~ The Weather Outside was FRIGHTFUL
We'd had thunderstorms since 0230 and over 6 inches of rain by 1000 and it was STILL pouring, but no matter. Getting inside seemed tantalizingly deLIGHTful.
And we weren't disappointed. The stage was set...
Happy, HAPPY fellow Veterans for McCain volunteers were practicing cheers (and grateful for the days of volunteering that had us inside at 1030 instead of waiting in line since 0730, like some faithful had, bless their hearts)...
...while others were snapped modeling really Swill "Sarahcuda" t-shirts (Which were also mentioned in the local fish wrap this morning!!!!) !!
Check out the seats filling as folks trickled in through the tight security. Two hours later and nosebleed is lookin' to be the only seat left. And they went FAST
Lights down! Camera! Action!!
Medal of Honor winner Bud Day strutted through the throngs, took the stage and started firing up the crowd. He ended with a rousing Pledge of Allegiance. ( I hope I look that good in FIVE years, less mind at his age.) Local congressman Jeff Miller, whom with I have never been truly enamored, took the stage next and...well...DAMN! That boy was fire and BRIMSTONE good! He had a great voice and terrific delivery, opening up by asking if there were any "bitter gun and bible clingers in the Civic Center?"
The answering roar was astonishing. I was laughing out loud. Thinking, "So THIS is what 'that old time religion' feels like!"
Dead time ensued, but we were hyper by then and hardly noticed. Someone's husband had relayed via cell phone that she'd left Jacksonville and then someone else heard she was at the airport, and THEN...? As one of the 3000 people still outside, my sweet Ebola texts me simply...
...as he sees the motorcade drive up. Everyone ERUPTS as I shout the news. And I'm crying, because I know he's not going to make it inside. I'm just sick.
"Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH!!"
About 3 minutes later, lights down, spots up and Charlie Crist works the crowd on his way to the stage. He's pretty damn great in person, too, but you know what? We're all suffering brain freeze because we. Want. SARAH!! And then we hear "...the governor of the great state of Alaska and the next Vice-President of these United States ~ Sarah PALIN!!!"
She is stunning. Oh, Lord, girl crush hits HARD. In every one of the 10 or 12 THOUSAND hearts in that arena. She's gracious and shaking hands and then climbing on to the stage and waving her heart out. I don't know why but "neat as a pin" pops in my brain. And I want her shoes. Next to us, some of the ARC Gateway staff and kids were sitting with beautiful, yellow "Give Trig a Kiss for Us" t-shirts. Somehow, she saw them and stopped. She clasped her hands to her chest, then kissed her fingertips and offered them in the group's direction.
She got to the microphone and, eventually, got to the stump speech.
DAMN. She's good. And sly like a fox. The delivery's amazing. She didn't really seem to use the teleprompter. It was all on yellow legal pad and she hardly needed it at that.
Holding up the cell so Bingley can hear. And wish he was me.
Obama and Ayers took it on the chinny chin chin...
"HUH?!?! He didn't know he'd launched his career in the living room of a domestic terrorist? He didn't know...until he did know. And then he continued to be in anyway associated with that person. The story keeps changing and the claims keep getting more and more curious."
...or just Obama.
"Our opponent doesn't seem to get the economy problem we're in. He wants more spending and more taxes. But HOW do you get out of the hole you're in? You STOP digging!
It was simply captivating and her local touches were perfect.
"Man, I LOVE you, Florida! You guys just GET it!"
Roar of the crowd explodes and how the walls stay up, I have no idea. This place is crazy wit d' Palin heat.
Then she was through, waved bunches and hotfooted it down the stairs to shake as many hands as she could. First at the foot of the steps and then around every inch of the stage, starting with the side furthest away from us. And do you know what else she'd done as soon as she'd finished the speech? She sent the Secret Service up to get the kids next to us and bring them down to her. Organized them herself for a group picture and the ARC staff members were beside themselves. There wasn't a dry eye left in the house.
We left then.
Only way to have been more perfect was if my baby boy had gotten to the seat we were saving for him. It was one of those moments you didn't want to be by yourself. You WANTED to have someone dear to share the excitement with. The moment with. In the middle of the revelry, one of the three elderly ladies sitting behind us ~ who had driven all the way from Panama City to be there ~ leaned over and grasped my arm.
"You know, " she said with earnest conviction, "We're part of history today."
Posted by tree hugging sister at October 8, 2008 08:26 PM
Ah, what a lucky person you are! You and Major Dad, I mean. Thanks for the report and the photos!
Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at October 9, 2008 12:20 AM
I am sooooo jealous!
Posted by: Cindermutha at October 9, 2008 02:09 AM
major dad couldn't go, Jeff. It was just me, not that Ebola didn't try mightily, but got off work about 1/2 hour too late.
Posted by: tree hugging sister at October 9, 2008 08:16 AM
I am so jealous!
Jen and I want to see her, but I doubt she is coming to Georgia any time soon.
Posted by: WunderKraut at October 9, 2008 08:29 AM
Wow! That sounds great!
My jealousy is boundless. Since I am the last Republican left in San Fran, and I don't have enough money to be invited to a Silicon Valley fund raiser, I won't get to see my 5th favorite lady in the world! 1 wife + 3 daughters...sorry Sarah, but you *did* beat my mom. Fair's fair...I think my mom likes Sarah more than she likes me too. :)
Your description was awesome. Really caught the vibe. I think I teared up at that end bit. What a gal!
Posted by: Joe Libson at October 9, 2008 05:32 PM
Yay, you got to see her! Thanks for the firsthand account, and thanks for representing. :)
Posted by: Kate P at October 9, 2008 09:16 PM
I enjoyed reading that.
Time as with all things dims excitement, I thought the same for Sarah Palin. But as you've proven she is still energizing many people. This race isn't over as long as this type of excitement exists. It will be an interesting next 4 years for Sarah whether she's in the White House or not.
Posted by: PunditFight at October 10, 2008 10:27 AM