The Senator and I attended the Speaker’s Ball. We have always gone to the Speaker’s Ball, even back when he was first elected and his particular political party was not in charge of….well, anything. Never mind that it was actually a very partisan event and hardly anyone from the minority party ever dared to show up. But we did. Call us fun, adventurous or just plain stupid, we thought this was something everybody attended. I mean, why wouldn’t they? The Speaker’s Ball was described to us as sort of the ‘back to school bash’. You know, that party at the beginning of the year where everyone is excited to see all their old friends and anticipating the busy time ahead. Sounds like fun, right?
Anyway, 8 years ago the other side of the political aisle controlled the House of Representatives (well, both chambers for that matter), and they were in charge of planning the party. And let’s just state for the record that they know how to have some fun. There was always a festive reception where all the politicos, lobbyists and people who work in that arena had a chance to network and enjoy one another. This was almost always followed by a lovely dinner and dancing. The incoming Speaker would get up and thank the crowd for attending and then the games would begin. I will note that even though the Senator and I were like fish out of water at that first Speaker’s Ball, translation: most everyone in attendance was of the “other party”, we still had a great time because we enjoy meeting new people and we had a babysitter and our children were 3 and 6 and we had a babysitter….
Fast forward a few years when the other side of the aisle took control of the House of Representatives. This was historic for our state because it was the first time this had ever happened and it would be their first time to plan a Speaker’s Ball.
And, it was, uh…interesting?
That particular Speaker’s Ball began with a reception, minus the cocktails and hors’doevres which left everyone wondering where the reception was while they stood in a long receiving line to meet and greet the new Speaker. This was a nice touch, but standing in a long line that doesn’t move was not exactly festive, especially when you thought you were missing out on a reception that was supposed to be taking place!
Then the crowd proceeded to sit down for a long dinner and a speech by the incoming Speaker which was rather awkward considering the crowd thought they were attending a Ball as opposed to a political rally or lecture. After his speech, those who had not already escaped upstairs to buy a drink at another event (yes, this was a dry party) did so at this time.
Lets just say that this Speaker’s Ball was definitely one for the record books and people are still talking about it. They are, I promise.
This year’s party….well, it was just plain interesting.
No, it was awkward.
No, it was backwards. Backwards in the sense that the lineup for the evening was all mixed up. The reception followed dinner which followed a very weird period of time when those in attendance wondered what in the world was going on and what they were supposed to be doing. I’m pretty sure not everyone was as ignorant as I am, but I like order and a sense of organization and I was having little of it at this time.
Thank goodness we had a really fun table and table mates. We were sitting with the face man for AT&T Oklahoma, his people who work the Capitol for that company and a former Oklahoma politician, turned political talk show host…and if I can get past how BIG my arms look in that picture I would add that he interviewed me once and I lived to tell about it!
Great guy and the Senator got to sit by his lovely wife who is now my new favorite person. Well, she’s my new favorite person because I think she makes a positive difference in our community and at her church and I admire her for that, but she also stumbled upon my little blog and wasn’t afraid to tell me. I would be afraid to tell me!
Anyway, we managed to have some great table talk about diets, about community events, about parenting…until the speeches started and that’s when it all went south. Well, almost. The highlight was my newly elected Congressman’s introduction of the new Speaker of the House. Not just because he is my Congressman and I voted for him, but also because is just a super guy…and humorous…and extraordinarily well spoken and I adore his wife…. and, that was as good as it got. The Speaker gave a speech, a short one which was mostly about his wife who then joined him on the dance floor where they danced a little dance like it was their wedding reception. All by themselves. They danced all by themselves… in front of everyone. Obviously, I’m having a hard time with that…..
Moving on….after the first dance, well, everyone moved out into the lobby area for the actual reception where they had a cash bar, a dance floor, some music and you get the picture. The party actually started, I think?
On our way out we did run into some of our favorite people and I asked the Senator to snap a few photos.
I don’t know where he was going with this one. Maybe for the dude in the background? Lets pretend he’s my bodyguard because I’m going to need one soon, I think.
Then he captured one of me with a former Representative’s wife. She has young children and teaches theater at a local college which makes her totally crazy busy and fun. Just love her!
And, that’s when the Senator decided to put on his Senator hat and started talking to the Governor and the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of State and some constituents and I told him I was going to make a run for it…..
To be continued….