barbara bush kindly trying to cajole sophie into speaking (without success) at the houston ballet
we're just back from our most beloved texas; we all had a fabulous time that was capped off by a tremendous visit to the houston ballet. we bought tickets to "the nutcracker" months ago and totally splurged for the most-central, front-row, founder's box seats we could get. i had already bought sophie a snow princess dress, which she looked absolutely adorable in, and even gus was excited to see the ballet and the orchestra. rich and i always love the houston ballet...it is just absolutely the best in the world. anyway, our seats turned out to be almost as good as a former u.s. president's and his wife's--george and barbara bush were two boxes away from us. it was announced before the start of the ballet that they were in the audience and we were shocked to see how close they were.
after the intermission, we were headed back to our seats when the secret service approached us in the narrow hallway before our box. the guy barked "nice dress" at sophie then a more forceful "move aside" to us all. we did. george bush came around the corner with a few people, and before he got to his box he slowed down, looked at sophie, and said, "are you one of the ballerinas? what a beautiful dress!" sophie smiled a little and then, of course, hid behind me. we were thrilled--a former president spoke to our family! then, a few moments later, barbara bush rounded the corner and stopped, made a big surprised face, and said, "what a lovely little girl!"...and walked over to us! she gushed about sophie (who was still trying to hide behind me) and kept trying her best to get her to talk to her...but then she diverted her attention to gus.
"who is this even more lovely girl standing behind you?"
oh no. she didn't. she didn't just mistake gus for a girl.
i looked at rich who appeared to be frozen in shock and obviously incapable of speech (he likes his social interactions one hundred percent in his control, after all, usually with the assistance of anesthesia), sophie was still hiding behind my skirt, gus was standing there completely non-affected by the comment (as this is probably the 100th time he has heard it), and mrs. bush was still patiently waiting for an answer...so it became painfully obvious that i was going to have to be the one to speak to this. after momentarily considering introducing gus as my eldest daughter, julia, i very calmly told her that, "this is sophie's older brother, gus."
"well OF COURSE it is! if i had looked closer i could have seen that! gus, gus, GUS are you listening to me? gus, we need to talk about that hair...you could be one of my grandsons! hair down to here! and CURLY! ugh. you could be one of mine. i try to tell them to cut it, but they won't. they don't understand what it does to a grandmother!" i tried to explain that gus had been living in new mexico for a time (i was so rattled that i momentarily forgot what state i lived in) so he was a bit rougher than usual...but all was well. all was more than well--all was glorious. thank god for houston social graces.
the ballet itself was absolutely note-perfect, spot-on, excellence-embodied...and every other extreme positive comparison imaginable. all in all a completely phenomenal evening. sophie fell asleep during the last five minutes of the performance; george bush acknowledged her again ("oh, sleepy girl.") before he left. it was quite an experience!
more thanksgiving pictures to come later...