Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meeting Clint Eastwood

I should really be more careful--after passing along the "Kissing Sophia Loren" story, my BIG STORIES may not be so important after all. That has never stopped me yet, so away we go.

This story isn't so much about Clint Eastwood, although dropping a name like that in the headline got you to read a little, didn't it? We were living in San Carlos, California, I worked at the old Navy airbase in Alameda and Linda worked in Silicon Valley and then in "the city." My boss was asked to attend a Republican fund raiser sponsored by Clint Eastwood at his Tehama Country Club in Carmel-by-the-Sea. He couldn't go (or didn't want to, which is more the case) and asked us to attend.

We paid our ridiculous price and stood around making small talk to people who we would never see again when Clint Eastwood entered the room. All the women (and these gals were no spring chickens) bee-lined for him and you expected to hear squeals like in high school. FYI, Clint is really, really skinny and he looks old. Really, really old. Wish I had another word for "really." His face is lined, and then there is that tall, really, really, TALL skinny body. And this was in 2002. Can't imagine what he looks like now. Probably still skinny and TALL...and old.

He didn't stay long at the party, so the girls settled down and we were seated for dinner. Linda sat next to a gentleman who owned a chain of facilities that provided physical therapy and I sat next to his wife. I was not involved in much of Linda's conversation, but she found him to be interesting, charming, Greek and rich. His wife was...well, she was just drunk. Really, really drunk.

One part of the conversation I overheard was him telling Linda about the secret of his marriage. "Oh?" "Yes, it's what I do for her in bed." "OH?" "Every morning," pause, "I bring her a cup of Turkish coffee in bed." "oh".

He told her about building his house on Seventeen Mile Drive which wraps around the famous golf course, Pebble Beach. He complained about the cost of the door hinges, which was probably justified as he quoted something along the lines of $200 apiece...not per door, EACH!! And he was upset because they wanted him to decide whether to use 4" or 6" hinges because, justifiably in my opinion, HE DIDN'T CARE! The landscaping for the caretaker's house ran over a million dollars, and that didn't even start on the main house which was torn down and was in the process of being rebuilt from the ground up.

Many times, I have said, "Only in America." His story is one of them as he grew to maturity in a poor, dirt-floor shack in Greece and somehow made it to America where he gained his fortune. We think he may have been in the Olympics, but not sure on that part.

Another world, for sure, but because Linda charmed him as well, we were later invited to Easter brunch at one of their friends, another Greek man. That was a truly lovely morning, not exactly on Easter as they observe Easter on a different weekend since they use the Orthodox calendar. We enjoyed the people, the customs (like tapping red-dyed hard-boiled eggs with a partner, you get your wish if you break their egg) and dining on a whole lamb roasted on an outdoor spit. Ironically, the wife of the household was from rural Kansas. Who knew?!?

The gentleman from the original dinner party was, again, charming, sociable and welcoming. He was still rich and his wife was, again, drunk. I'm going to guess she had a problem.

Soon after all this, we moved back to Kansas City and have not seen nor heard from those terrific people. Nor have we celebrated another Orthodox Easter. Hope they are all doing well.

Like Sophia Loren who wouldn't remember the kiss, I'll bet Clint Eastwood doesn't value this episode as much as we do. Ah, yes, California.

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