Monday, February 18, 2013
Take A Look
When I was a little kid, sometimes things were awesome. Sometimes, they weren't. But, no matter what kind of time it was, there were a few things I could count on. Some of those things happened to be on TV. They were Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek.
In 2003, the year after I graduated high school, thereby finishing up some of the worst years of my life, Fred Rogers died. I had always wanted to write him a letter about how much he had meant to me but I missed my chance.
I resolved to write a letter to LeVar Burton. I wrote it. I printed it. I even found the address for Mr. Burton's agent. But, I never sent it. It's in a box somewhere, still packed up from one of the seven or eight moves I've made since then.
This weekend, I had the chance to see Mr. Burton in person. I paid to get my picture taken with him. I shook his hand, turned to the camera, and smiled. The camera flashed and I was still seeing spots when I exited the photography room and realized I'd missed my chance to say anything to him. That's when I burst into tears. The whole experience was too overwhelming for me. All of the sudden, I felt like that same little kid. I felt like I had no control. I felt like I was at the mercy of every other force in my life but my own will. I couldn't even get my mouth to say in one sentence about how much he had meant to me.
I walked out into the sunshine and got a grip. I was at a Star Trek convention. I was doing something really cool. I just had my picture made with an awesome guy I'd always admired. I was standing next to the awesome guy I'd married. I wasn't a little kid. I was a grown-up and this was my day.
A few hours later, while we were sitting at a picnic table during some downtime, Mr. Burton happened to walk past. Without thinking, I stood up and said, "Mr. Burton, I'd just like to say that Reading Rainbow meant the world to me. Thank you." He said thanks and walked away. I sat back down and looked at my husband.
"I did it," I said. "I didn't miss my chance."
But, you don't have to take my word for it: