Brush With Greatness

Watching some of the celebration and documentary style remembrances for Bobby Bowden’s 79th birthday I was reminded that I have an Ann Bowden story. Yes, it would be much cooler if I had a Bobby Bowden story instead of a story about his wife, but it’s all I have so everyone will have to deal with the almost-meeting-famous-people-but-usually-meeting-their-spouse life. One day several years ago my mother-in-law called me and asked if I could do her a favor. I dutifully agreed and she informed me she had a friend who owned a rowing machine that she was tired of and had promised to another friend. The issue was they had no way to get it from point A to B and thought, since I owned a truck, I could help them out. (Anyone that owns a truck has heard this spiel more than once.) I agreed to help, got the address of friend A, convinced a buddy to help me and we made our way to the house to pick up the rowing machine.

When we arrived, we found out the machine was upstairs and had to be maneuvered down the narrowest set of stairs ever designed by an architect. The task was made more difficult by the 100 framed pictures lining the wall of the stairwell. Once we finally had it in the truck, the previous owner of the machine informed us that the new owner was only two houses down the block. I did some mental calculations and realized we were delivering the rowing machine to Bobby Bowden’s house. Pushing aside the ridiculous notion that the Bowden’s could not afford to buy a new rowing machine (and pay someone to deliver it to their house) I got excited. We followed owner A to the new owner’s house where we were greeted warmly by Ann Bowden, Bobby’s wife, at the front door. My friend and I carried the machine into the house and were told we needed to deposit it upstairs (of course, although her staircase was wider). Once we had the machine in place, Mrs. Bowden asked me to show her how to use it. I reluctantly climbed in the seat and showed her the few things I knew but quickly got up, feeling a little awkward.

As soon as I was standing, Mrs.Bowden jumped on the machine and decided to see if I had taught her anything. She eventually got everything moving in synch and seemed quite pleased with herself. The rest of us stood around and watched, slowly wishing we were elsewhere. When she finally finished her impromptu workout, she looked up at me and said, “This is going to be great, especially for my legs.” At this moment she reached down to her shorts-clad legs and grabbed the inside of each thigh with her hands and started shaking the loose skin. “As you can see, I have some work to do in this area.” Horrified, I found I couldn’t move which was a shame because I suddenly had a desire to leave. Instead we all chuckled uncomfortably as she cackled and then I helped her up out of the machine. We quickly said our goodbyes and accepted her thanks. Once outside, sitting in the truck, I looked straight ahead and told my friend, “We must never speak of what we witnessed today.” He agreed but, since I cannot remember who it was that was with me, I decided to break the vow. Thus ends my brush with greatness.

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