About 8 years ago I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter and visiting my parents for Christmas. My husband and I went as my father’s guests to his weekly Rotary lunch meeting. I would have preferred to have a drink or two and find an open bar. Or get a six-pack in the liquor store and drink it in our car.
Midway through the presentation, an old man sauntered in with a cane. He sat down and laughed at the inside jokes and clapped his way through the meeting. He was eighty-six, and the years had been a friend to him. Same thick coiffed white hair. Same boundless energy.
As my Dad was getting our coats, I ran and touched him on his sleeve. I wanted to introduce him to my husband, the man who keeps me warm and safe and dry.
Who, by the way, is no stranger to doppelganger confusion. He’s often mistaken for golfer Phil Mickelson. Although he likes to say he’s been told he looks like Hugh Grant. And I’ll concede that point. I was there when a fall-down drunk told him that. Once.
“Congressman! I don’t know if you remember me. Tracey Helhoski. I was one of your interns…” Just for a moment, I was back at school.
He didn’t recognize my face and with a big politician smile said, “Oh, I am always so proud of my interns,” and I watched him run away.
I stood there lost in my embarrassment.
“He just blew you off!”
My husband laughed until he cried.
Screw auld lang syne. The man at the center of the stories I tell on repeat didn’t know who the f*ck I was.