The mood again was festive. We are so busy we rarely have time to get together. We joked and laughed as we took the stairs to the ground floor and walked through the cafeteria to the reception hall. We had planned a time earlier in the day - I was the ringleader calling and reminding everyone of the 4:30 event.
As we walked in it was immediately apparent that the crowd was smaller, but the event was still young. Our goal was to mingle and dole out our congratulations then get back to work. I was trying to find the new COO - I used to live down the street from him - he is a boyishly handsome man with a nice smile that shows in his eyes more than his mouth. I located him and noticed with a partner that he wasn't as surrounded as the new CEO. "Let's go surround him" I said, and marched in his direction. My partner agreed and followed me.
As I walked up to shake his hand and congratulate him he introduced the guy standing next to him, who frankly dwarfed him and myself and most of the room. "Of course you know Keith Jackson." I was within less than a foot of him, and cranked my head up to peer into his face. I tried to place him but couldn't, and I felt embarrassed. Where should I know him from? I hadn't seen him around work. I smiled and shook his hand and introduced myself. My megalomaniac sports loving partner and jazz musician laughed behind me. "You really don't know who this guy is, do you?" He apologized to the man. "She doesn't know sports at all. Please forgive her."
Then my close girlfriend partner walked up and unknowingly added salt to the wounds. She reached out to him to introduce herself and shake his hand. "I don't follow sports and I'm not from Arkansas but I of course know who you are and it is my great pleasure to meet you." I was dumbfounded and chagrined. I started laughing, what else could I do?
He was so calm and gracious in his reaction to my ignorance. "Around here I am known best for being my Mother's son. She worked here for 30 years. It is a pleasure to be here and to meet you." He turned to my partner. "I'm happy to meet you too. Where are you from?" She smiled and told him, "Virginia Beach."
On the way out the door, after we greeted and congratulated and ushered in the CEO, my jazz/sports partner was laughing so hard he was annoying me. "I hate these things but that was so worth it. I can't believe you had no idea who he was." I replied, "Well, I don't know sports at all. I feel bad that I didn't represent." He said, "Oh, don't worry, he is pretty laid back, I'm sure you didn't ruffle his feathers. But did you notice the Superbowl ring on his hand?" Ribbing me, laughing again.
"So I guess that means he is/was a football player?"
Caption: Keith Jackson
Sleigh Bells: Comeback Kid