Speech at Governor’s Mansion

I never thought I’d utter these words, as I turned to Cheryl:

“What do I wear to a tea?”

She dressed me, and offered one command: “Don’t slouch.”

At the event I stood before five dozen attendees in the Governor’s Mansion, mindful of Cheryl’s command, and told stories of my drive along every mile of every Missouri road. Even though I knew the roads and the stories backwards and forwards, I felt butterflies, because this wasn’t the customary civic club speech. Missouri’s First Lady had invited the Tuesday Book Club to the mansion for my talk. Among her guests were civic and business and religious leaders, and the former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.

It wasn’t the titles or the stature of these attendees that made me more self-conscious of etiquette and propriety. It was because they are readers. Avid readers.

Oh, and one more thing. Many of these ladies knew my mother, who often attended events at the mansion. She has been gone for years now, but in this room her friends and her spirit surrounded me.

I delivered my lines, and tried not to slouch, and we had a lively discussion, then adjourned for tea.

I had a blast. The tea had a robust flavor. Most important, Mom, I didn’t spill anything.

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