Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This year I wasn’t missing that autograph; I skipped the lecture. My copy of The Prince of Frogtown rested inside my backpack while I played red light, green light on the promenade of the Legislative Plaza with my wild kids. We were third in line. I didn’t care how long the line grew behind me. Eventually, the big double doors opened and Rick Bragg strolled out, several hundred people following behind and falling into the line. No bossy redhead tracking him this year as he took his place behind the table. After a short wait, I was face to face with my favorite writer again.
"Hello," I took his hand, shaking it, “I’m a big fan of yours.”
He was jovial and appreciative. He gave my hand a lively shake, and thanked me for being there. I told him how I saw him last year, and he charmed me by telling me he remembered me. Then he proved it.
“You’re a writer. I never forget a redhead. I had my heart broken by a redhead once.” His voice glided like a biscuit around the edge of a plate, sopping up the last drops of honey.
I offered him my business card, because what ‘emerging author’ doesn’t want to say their favorite writer has one of her cards? He put it in his pocket with a vague promise to look at my site. Keeping his promise isn’t important; that he was kind enough to say it to someone who aspires to his craft is the important part. We joked another minute about the evils and joys of redheads. I watched him think and then scribble something in my book. We said our goodbyes, and I let him move on to his next “number one fan.”
What a great guy! Everyone ought to get to meet their heroes. If you’re lucky, you’ll both turn out to be fairly nice, normal characters, even if you do share the same screwed up background.
It wasn’t until later that night that I got a second to look at the title page:
“Dear Myrna, I love Redheads! -Rick Bragg"