By RHONDA SCHROCK
THE GOSHEN NEWS
It’s the season for celebrity sightings. Not that I’ve seen any, mind you, but folks I know have had some excitement.
In our small town, we’re not exactly overrun with celebs. It’s not Aspen, after all, where you can’t walk two feet without stepping on someone famous. Here, we solemnly observe the arrival of fall by erecting a pumpkin tree encircled with hay bales in the main square. Where Tom Cruise isn’t skiing and Taylor Swift isn’t snapping up the last 3 feet of real estate.
It was out in the big, wide world where people aren’t driving around pumpkins handpainted by local schoolchildren that it happened. There they were, family members. And there he came, moving along the greens.
It was President Bill Clinton and his entourage. Photos showed the smiling former president with my cousin’s wife and daughter, also smiling, as the Secret Service hovered, unsmiling, in the background.
Then recently over breakfast, a couple from church reported a celebrity sighting of their own. They’d gone to Mackinac Island, taking the ferry over to do some sightseeing. Suddenly, right before them appeared Gov. Mitt Romney and members of his family. Whipping out his phone, the quick-thinking fellow reeled off several shots, capturing their Mackinac moment with the man who could become president.
I couldn’t help admiring his composure. That he’d actually captured the governor on camera was, I felt, remarkable. I knew good and well how my pictures would’ve looked, and they wouldn’t have looked like his.
Instead of a smiling, relaxed governor surrounded by his family, my photo album would show several blurry shots of horizon and sky. The next five frames would feature close-ups of my right eye. If I didn’t drop the whole kablooie in the water, of course. And that quick, the moment’s gone, I’ve missed the shot and blown the chance to do what I really wanted to do.
My blasted excitability factor’s what that’s about. After that whole juggling show, there’s nothing “smiling and relaxed” going on in my camp. That’s all over on the Romney side, leaving me on the shores of Lake Huron with my questions unanswered, phone full of useless photos.
Would I ever have questions for the governor. And I’d have even more for his wife. While every reporter on the planet is talking about Medicare, Libya, jobs and the economy, I’d tackle the big stuff. I’d ask the hard questions and get the answers that Americans really want to know. Like these.
“Governor, Mrs. Romney,” I’d say. “You raised five boys. And lived to tell about it. How did you do this?”
“Since your sons are all grown up and accounted for, they’ve lived to tell about it, too. How did you do that? Is this a clear indication that you oppose infanticide; i.e., the eating of one’s young as seen in the animal kingdom?”
“As the mother of four sons, Governor, I’m aware of how much, um, physical interaction there is between boys. Since the Romney kids all survived without killing each other, please tell us what tactics you used to broker peace and ensure domestic tranquility. How would you apply this experience to the hoodlums overseas who are shooting folks and blowing stuff up? And how would you use these talents in the halls of Congress where domestic hoodlums squabble routinely?”
“On environmental issues, Mr. Romney, you’ve cleaned up your share of pollution, spills and messes. You know, like milk spilled on the counter, muddy handprints on the walls and globs of jelly that stick on your fresh tube socks? Do you favor a top-down approach (washing ‘em down, top to bottom, with a fire hose) or the extra-rinse option?
“If Ann’s got a large-capacity front load, she’ll know what I mean. That’s where you throw in two highly-soiled, medium-sized boys, hit extra rinse and clean it up. Which of these alternatives would you use on, say, oil guys who make great, big messes in the Gulf, hmm?”
“On a lighter note, Governor Romney, you’ve had experience with the Olympics. Tell me, what are the chances that you could lean on your buddy Jacques over there on the IOC and get him to add diaper changing to the roster? Do you know how many women worldwide would light up like Christmas trees at their chance to be included? If you’re wanting to draw women voters, this could do it.”
After picking the governor’s brain on other issues, including crime (“how do you handle cookie thieves”), illegal immigration (“hey, you had no permission to invite the football team”) and health care (“no machetes allowed — period”), I’d let him go on to his next big interview.
Meanwhile, Ann and I would have plenty to discuss. While Mitt’s stumping in Ohio, we’d talk survival techniques, what raising boys does to one’s prayer life and where we hide the ice cream. I’d ask her which villa in the south of France she uses when things get rough, and then we’d take some pictures. Someone else will have to do it, though, because I can’t be trusted.