Monday, February 20, 2012

Encountering John Glenn, On Earth

Today we will all celebrate the 50th Anniversary of John Glenn's orbit of the Earth aboard Friendship 7.

It causes me to recall my two non-orbital encounters with John Glenn of my own, here on Earth. I share these stories more for my kids than anyone else.

I was 7 years old when I encountered him first. My extended family was at Salt Fork Lodge celebrating my Great Grandmother's 90th Birthday. Coincidentally there that day, he stopped to give her regards.

The family table was mostly Republicans and Glenn was campaigning for the US Senate so the reception was cordial, but cool.

The second encounter also came during a Senate campaign. I and a crew of then-Lt. Governor Mike DeWine supporters had just wrapped up a campaign stop for Glenn's 1992 opponent at the West Side Market.

We waited at the east entrance for Senator Glenn to arrive as we had found he was coming there too. A dozen or so people clad in DeWine shirts and holding DeWine signs became Glenn's greeting party.

An incident that morning in Columbus saw DeWine nearly get doused with a bucket of mud by a Glenn supporter. The fear of retaliation no doubt entered Senator Glenn's mind when he arrived to see the greeting party for his visit was 100% DeWine blue.

After several minutes of long hesitation 150 feet away in the parking lot and after deciding we had no mud slinging intentions, he got the gumption to walk the small gauntlet. As he passed, I remember asking Senator Glenn where his supporters were and a not so pleasant exchange ensuing.

Less cordial than 1974. More cool too.

There you go, kids. Another story for the grandkids some day.

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