I had the priviledge to sweat for Sarah yesterday along with about 60,000 other people who came from near and far to catch a glimpse of this little lady as she came to our neighborhood. It was worth it. Here's a few observations on the day.
It was very crowded. More than was expected showed up to this party. Many came hours early to get a good spot only to find themselves in a very long line that snaked around the town for about two miles. When we biked into town at about 1:45 with our tickets in hand, we said "forget it, I'm not getting into that line."
We found out later one of our friends stood in that line for three hours showing up at 10:30 am only to find out that many who made it past the screenings got in with no tickets. I found out tonight that was because there were so many people that showed up they didn't know what to do with all these people. They expected maybe 15,000 or so. They had no expectation that about 60,000 would show up. On the news they said that was about 30 times what Biden has been drawing for a crowd.
Speaking of Biden, I heard a rumor that was going around while we were there. It seems there's some talk that Biden may end up with some sort of medical condition and Hillary would then be called back to duty. I find this totally ludacris and as far as I'm concerned, a dead end for Obama if he resorts to such a tactic. It would certainly mean death to his campaign if he tries to pull such a stunt.
We walked around taking in the many sights to see. The movie theatre erased their featured movie titles and put up a Sarah Palin welcome instead. Many were dressed in patriotic colors and cutsie theme outfits. There were vendors selling their wares. I wanted to buy a campaign button but was too cheap to fork over the five bucks for it. When I inquired about a cute pink lipstick hat they said $20 and I passed on that as well.
We walked around dismayed we couldn't get in close to the action without standing two miles away in a very long line so we opted instead to scope out a good spot outside the barriers put up just for this occasion.
All aound the square they had big screens for all those on the outside and many came with their chairs and were content to sit right there on the sidewalks facing these screens. So we continued scoping the place out. It was about 2 pm and Sarah was scheduled to show up at 4:30.
I found a spot that was about 150 feet from the stage but from the outside of the barriers and not too crowded. Well not at first. There was a cop standing there and he said I couldn't go past him as he was securing the spot behind him. So I stood right there in front of him and made myself a little family with those around me for three hours while I stood there.
It was hot. Not unbearably hot but quite warm. I was dressed in white shorts and a black sleevless Nike top and sandals so I was ok. I had a water that was not going to make the duration. Near the end because so many had passed out during the afternoon they started passing out thousands of dollars worth of free water and cokes. Hands were eagerly stretched out trying to grab either the bottled waters or the large cups filled with ice cubes and water. I was able to stand on the metal fencing and reach over and get two cups. I passed the first to my right to a lady who said she was faint and I shared the second with a lady on my left whom I had never met before that day. Normally speaking I would have never done such a thing but the two of us started up a friendship that continued today when we met to go line dancing together. Later story on that.
As I said, many people were passing out during this time. The Rescue people were busy but it was hard for them to manuever with their stretchers in and out of the crowds trying to reach someone who was down. I noticed, as they were carrying the people away, that they were not dressed properly. Many of the ones who passed out had long pants on, many of them in black pants. Most in some sort of long sleeves as well. I saw one woman in nylons! Jeepers I didn't even know they made them anymore especially down here. We had one lady go down behind me. Others were piling water and ice all around her head and neck area.
While all this was going on, secret service and helicopters were buzzing around. It's a dead giveaway when you see a man walk by you talking to his cuff links.
During the three or so hours while we were standing around waiting many speakers got up to give their rah rah speeches to stir up the crowd. We had a country music star, Aaron Tippin play for us.
My husband actually talked with one of the representatives running in our district today at work. She was one of the featured warm up speakers before Sarah and said she was very intimidated up there. It wasn't just the very large crowds that unnerved her but the snipers on all the rooftops. She never spoke under such circumstances before. So can you imagine Sarah standing there cool as a cuke during her speeches?
Finally when it was becoming unbearable to keep on standing in one place the excitement grew into a frenzy when on the very large screens we saw the bus arriving with Sarah and her family. Within a few minutes, after a slew of press came out the door, her daughters first emerged as they were first introduced. Then it was her husband and then finally Sarah. She stood about a 100 yards or so from me, turned and waved in my direction and then headed right into the crowd and up to the podium. The only way I could see her when she spoke was to watch the screen because people were standing on something in front of the stage that blocked our view.
She wore a long sleeve tan or beige little suit jacket with a skirt that may have been some sort of dark denim. We all thought she must have been roasting. Her girls and husband stood up there alongside her and Piper spoke about going to Disney yesterday. Piper thanked everyone for letter them come to Florida.
In 23 minutes it was over. She didn't say anything new. She spoke about paying taxes and patriotism. She spoke about McCain being the only candidate for President who actually has fought for us. She spoke about government being held accountable and being given back to the people. You know, the usual.
Then it was over but she spent alot of time signing autographs and shaking hands. It must have been awfully hot for her to do so for as long as she did. So we turned and started towards our bikes.
We checked out the vendors again passing them by seeing they hadn't come down on their pricing and headed for our locked bikes as everyone else headed for their golf carts. Boy you should have seen the long line of golf carts all over the place. Other people who drove from great distances had to walk miles just to get there since they were only allowing golf carts for the most part. We whizzed by everyone on our bikes. It was great!
As we unlocked our bikes I asked my husband, "so what do you want to do now?" Do you know what he said?
"I'd like to recapture the last four hours of unproductive time I've lost."