Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My visit from Lena

A little over 25 years ago, I worked my way through high-school and eventually college, as a cashier in a very swanky high-end supermarket on the Upper West Side. Two of the best fringe benefits of the job were 1. Hookin up my homies with free deli and 2. celebrity sightings. The latter was commonplace and no one really phased me that much...until the one day when Lena Horne strolled in.

With the exception of my homemade Jackson 5 autograph book that I crafted when I was around eight, I wasn't really the type to ask for an autograph. But this was LENA! My dad, just like Mr. S-A-N-F-O-R-D (period) above, was a huge Lena fan and so by default, that made me one too. So I said to God when word got to me that she was in the store, "Dear God...If Lena Horne gets on my line, that means you WANT me to ask for her autograph"...and my prayer was answered. Much like Fred in this video, I lost it, but on the inside. My hands and voice probably shook, and I have no idea what I said, but when I snapped out of it and Ms. Horne left the store, I looked down and saw her almost indiscernible, scribbled, pleasantries and alas the signature on a piece of brown paper bag, that read "Lena Horne".

Light, Peace, and Progress to your spirit Lena Calhoun Horne.

P.S. - If you'd like to fast forward, go to 5:12 minutes in for Fred's reaction. Hilarious and classic Fred!

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