Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My lunch with Irish president

Normally I hate working on a holiday, but how could I resist accepting the invitation of Congressman Richard Neal – thank you sir – and attending a luncheon to honor Mary McAleese, the president of Ireland.

Here is what Forbes had to say about her last year.

McAleese made quite a swing through Western Massachusetts this weekend and Neal had about 150-200 local well wishers gathered at the Barney Carriage House at Forest Park for the meal.

Mayor Domenic Sarno if Springfield told me he was very impressed with the president and her husband – who is both a dentist and an accountant – and said that at an event the previous night at the MassMutual Center had shown a down to earth quality one doesn't naturally associate with someone carrying the title of "president."

What fascinated me was the mechanics of the event. Well before her arrival there were several Secret Service agents and advance staff members working with Neal's staff. When her motorcade arrived, more staff preceded her entrance and security agents stood around the large tent as well as in the audience.

I recorded her speech with my Kodak flip camera – pardon the shakiness but I didn't bring a tripod.

I left as dessert was being served and by then, as she ate her own strawberry shortcake, some people were coming to her table to say hello. I didn't feel comfortable doing this as I knew by speaking with one of her advance staff that she had to be in Worcester by 3 p.m. for an event. She had less than an hour to make it at that point, but I'm sure the state police escort would ensure her swift and safe arrival.

Besides let the lady eat her dessert!

© 2009 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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