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Friday, December 16, 2005

My Brushes With Greatness, Part Three

I forgot one from the Rhode Island days, and it's probably the best one.

When I was a student a Community College of Rhode Island, those of us in the theater program would make semi-annual trips to New York for a day of theater and tourism. The bus would let us off near Times Square just before noon, and we would go our separate and sundry ways for lunch. The entire group would reunite for a matinee and then disperse again for sightseeing and dinner. A second show in the evening would be followed by the long bus ride back to the CCRI parking lot, where we would arrive about two or three in the morning. All-in-all, a full day.

On one of those trips, between I don't remember which shows, I was part of a small group that decided to eat dinner at Joe Allen's, a well known eatery on 46th St. For some reason, after dinner, I was the first one out on the street, my compatriots dawdling inside for several minutes before emerging to meet me on the sidewalk out front. Well, I come out into the cold winter evening and take up a position near the door under the canopy. And who is stading there not four feet away from me? It's Marilu Henner, then at the height of her fame on "Taxi," talking to some old goat while she waited for a cab.

Now, I have to say that on television she was pretty attractive. However, in person, she was downright beautiful. Actually stunning. I know this because I was stunned. Since I have a personal policy of never intruding into the lives of strangers just because I've seen them on TV, I just stood there and eavesdropped on her conversation and watched her disappear into a taxi and get absorbed into the bloodstream of Manhatten. I don't remember the conversation she had, but I do remember that she seemed very nice.

My companions emerged after she had left, but I think I kept my rendezvous with Marilu my own secret. I knew, somehow, that the beauty would have been lost in the telling.

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