In May 2008, Senator Barack Obama returned to Dallas for a festive round of fundraisers. I had the honor of hosting an event at the Palladium Ballroom on the South Side of town. It had been just over a year since the last time I had met Mr Obama. More people knew his name this time.
Millions had arisen from the grassroots of the country. We were a mighty army, working together in a common goal that defined the community at large. I had a deep appreciation for the women on the campaign, in particular. They instilled within me a bravery I had not known. New skills came into play as we all worked together to coordinate the ever-growing number of volunteers reporting for duty. It was a very exciting, very exhausting time.
Secret Service had a greater presence in 2008. Nothing puts stars in my eyes like well-dressed bodyguards — especially if they are posted up specifically to make sure I’m not up to any funny business. Naturally, I took this as my cue to adopt the performance duties of a USO Girl, entertaining them with a tap dance and some jokes. Thusly we passed the time until the Senator arrived, twirling and asking how I looked. The fringe around the hem of my dress tickled my knees, making me look like a hyperactive lampshade below the waist (I would make a good Leg Lamp, come to think of it). By the time Mr Obama arrived, we had all been lined up like the nice ladies and gentlemen we were all hoping to be. Before I knew, I was walking right up to him with an extended hand.
“Lovely to see you again, Senator.” I said, exactly as I had rehearsed for Agent Jenkins for the last half hour.
“I like that dress!” said Barack Obama. “You look like one of those girls from the Twenties. What do they call them?”
“A Flapper.” I said. We had been shaking hands for over 8 seconds.
“Yeah, you’re like a Flapper.” He said.
I burst into giggly shoulder work as we continued shaking hands. The photographer cleared his throat. Mr Obama put his arm around my shoulder. We smiled.
After his speech, I went immediately to a gay cabaret — being the only other place in Texas that would appreciate my sensational politico pictures. The next week Michelle fussed at Barack on Oprah about putting his arm around everyone in the country. Miss Edna on the campaign called me “Marilyn Monroe” in a most unflattering tone, and now Mr Obama is the President of the United States.