And so it begins. This wonderful adventure I never dreamed would happen. It's all about books I wrote that were not best sellers, a TEDxTalk I gave that was not in the millions, times I've gone to speak and thought no one knew about it. Those kinds of things. Someone was watching! I'm getting an award tomorrow night with my son, husband, granddaughter, and two friends in attendance. We're on our way to Washington D.C. where the award will be given from the Alliance For Aging Research. The email came like a bolt in the blue inviting me to accept this award. I couldn't be more excited. It was given at a dinner function in front of 300 people. I will receive my award along side three other award-winners and then me––I will close the evening. It will be torture to wait throughout the whole evening, but oh, what an honor.
Tomorrow we are having a small brunch at Martin's Tavern, and then naps, and then maybe hair... maybe not. I'm wearing a black tux-jacket, full pants, a white shell under the jacket, and of course: high heels, but not too high. Six o'clock festivities begin. I will go on at 8:45. After Washington, we will go on the train to New York for a few days. I will continue this on the train: think good thoughts. I think I have my speech down... TBC...
We are now on the plane on our way home from New York. I didn't write on the train. I talked all the way in a quiet car, and enjoyed myself after two exhilarating, thrilling,nerve-racking, tiring days I will never forget. The Washington weather was just leaving summer but not quite. A warm, lovely sun with a little breeze fell on our shoulders. We all went on the same plane the day before and all arrived like Alice did in Wonderland.
Washington is different. Even though it was a Bipartisan affair, they speak a different language here and think different thoughts. They are not concerned who wins the Emmy's or who was nominated for an Oscar. We checked into the Watergate Hotel, where we were generously put, dumped our clothes in the room, and all ran to the rooftop bar to beg for food from the managers (who had just shut down food services). But the show was the view. The river, the moonlit buildings, it was breathtaking. My son Jim prevailed and a plate of cheese and crackers showed up. We had a drink, toasted each other, and off to bed. The next morning, Bob had a brunch for our multi-generational group. We ranged in ages from 21 to 85 all taking place at Martin's Tavern, a quintessential Washington eatery. All the while, there were butterflies in my stomach. Would I mess up my speech? Could I stand to be the last one awarded? I didn't have a choice. These were the thoughts running around in my head.
The group went shopping after brunch in Georgetown, and Bob and I went back for a nap where I could practice my speech for the zillionth time. Should I let this hair salon do my hair? Mine wasn't that bad... I settled for a comb-out. Before I knew it, it was time to get dressed and go. OMG. I was so nervous. First there was a reception where we could meet each other. They were all senators, congressmen, health-workers,People interested in health and aging. and They were all very friendly: Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC), recipient of the Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging; Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award; John F. Tisdale, M.D., recipient of the Silver Innovator Award; and VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H.,The Surgeon General of the United States! recipient of the Daniel Perry Founder’s Award.
I was proud of my family and friends. My speech wasn't my only worry. My husband was not quite up to par health-wise and had fallen twice during the last few days before we left. I was on high alert for him at all times. I had two and a half hours to go before my speech. The building, Institute of Peace, and the room itself were breathtaking. As each person spoke, I was floored by how important they were, what they had to say, and what a thrill it was to be put in this group.
Calvin Schmidt, the Vice chairman of Johnson and Johnson, introduced me and I was on. I thanked him and was in the zone. I did well. I had it memorized and luckily didn't forget anything. I received a standing ovation. What a thrill.! then It was over. They handed me The 2019 Perennial Hero Of Health Award. Photos were taken. I met some wonderful people. .
And now, the next day, we went on the train to New York for some R&R with our friend, Bobbi. My husband did so well on the entire trip. We ate good food, saw a couple of plays, and the talk insists on still going round and round in my brain.
If I had the choice, I'd do it all over again.
Thank you Alliance for Aging Research.
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