Thank you for sharing that magical memory. His loss to our country is significant; the list of legislation he chaired through to passage comprises the most socially democratic of the current historical period.
As one of his friends said recently, when he made a speech, his heart was always in it.
I met him once at a party, Senator Ted Kennedy, that is. In hyannisPort. It was a party for him in the 1980's to mark his 25the year anniversary in the Senate. I was invited by someone who had been actually invited to the party . . in a way.
I was 19, 20 maybe. I had heard about the party the week before and decided it would be fun to go. I had been down to Hyannis many weekends and had friends there, but no one who knew the Kennedys. Still, I figured that I was sure to meet someone that weekend who had been invited. At the time, I was attending college and working part time as a legal secretary. I flew out of my law office in Salem that Friday afternoon, my suitcases already in the car and began the two hour drive. I checked into that little motel on Main street and hurried over to Harry's Bar and Grill. The Kennedy's went there sometimes, I had been told, though never when I was around for the weekends. Still,I was friends with the owners of Harry's, Eddie and Dana, and the town was overflowing for the party. I was certain to meet some invited guest, some male in need of a date for the party.
After an evening of investigation and flirting, I finally met someone going to the party . . . the caterer. He liked me a lot and agreed to take me. We had it all planned. I would go in his catering truck and then disappear into the crowd and be a guest. It worked. I sat with a group of people and explained that my date was late. I was so excited to go to the party, to the "compound." There was a large large tent set up with bars on all sides. A buffet filled with shrimp and lobster, etc. And lots of people and an orchestra and then a "roast." I had a great time. After the roast, I spied him standing talking to some people and I went up to him and said, "Hi, Ted." he turned away from his friends and looked at me, squinting at me, trying to recognize me, but, of course he didn't know me. Then he held out his hand. I did likewise. He didn't shake it, simply held it a moment and smiled into my eyes. Later in the evening, his daughter, Kara, passed me and said "Nice dress." I had only taken hours to prepare. For that 20 year old young woman, it was a thrilling evening. I wish now that I had been older, more mature, for this party, as I would have conversed with him more, discussed issues, life, philosophy. But, then again, had I been older, more mature, I probably wouldn't have crashed the party in the first place. There were no camera phones then, so I have no photos to mark that occasion, just the ones in mind.
So, thank you, Caterer. I don't remember your name. You were too busy cleaning up to drive me back to the motel. I hitched a ride with some other guests and drove home the next day and never saw you again. But, thank you.
And, rest in peace, sweet Prince, from Fort Myers Beach, Florida
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