Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bill Gates (Sr.) and Me

 I live in Washington State, home to Microsoft, Nintendo and Amazon all of which are located on the other side of the mountains, as we dry landers tend to describe the route to the populous Puget Sound area. Their world is as foreign to me as a trip to the moon. In other words, I do not hang with the rich and famous. At least that’s what I thought. Turns out, I’m too clueless to know when I’m actually rubbing elbows with said famous people.

On Saturday, March 7th, I had the honor of attending a celebration of International Women’s Day at Heritage University. I joined a number of women artists and writers who were the featured guests. For those of you not from this area, Heritage is located in the lower Yakima Valley, nestled in the middle of hop fields, vineyards and apple orchards. Its mission has always been to offer education to the underserved. Over 70% of the student body is comprised of women, mostly Hispanic and Native American. Many of them are single mothers. The event on Saturday was a fundraiser for scholarships to the childcare center and the featured speaker was Jackie Bezos, mother of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.

When I arrived Saturday morning and took up my position behind a table displaying my books, the room was buzzing with energy fueled by hundreds of wonderful, supportive women taking part in the event. After handing out cards and answering questions, I joined my sponsor at her table to listen to the speakers. Several introductions followed. A particularly lengthy one listed the many accomplishments of Mimi Gates, seated at the table next to me, along with a distinguished white-haired gentleman. As she got up to speak, the neurons in my brain finally began to fire and form a pattern like a connect-the-dots puzzle. I whispered to the woman next to me, “Are we talking about that Gates?”  She grinned and nodded.

When the speeches concluded, I hurried back to my book display and that’s when it happened. Bill Sr. stopped by my table, chatted to me about my books and picked up my business card! Squee!
Back at home, I related the incident to my husband. When I mentioned Gates was accompanied by a young man who stuck to him like glue, my husband said, “Private security. Bill Gates Sr. is the father of the richest person in the world. What do you think would happen if he was kidnapped?”

His comment put it in perspective for me. One pays a price for fame and fortune. Loss of privacy is at the top of the list. With that in mind, I'm grateful for my anonymity, my lack of fame. I'm free to bumble along, writing my books, enjoying friends and family, without the constant presence of a bodyguard. Yes, life is good. 

 No doubt my business card is now residing in the depths of an extremely pricey garbage receptacle, but that’s okay. Bill Gates Senior, you’re a nice guy and, in my humble opinion, niceness counts for a lot. You certainly made my day!

1 comment:

  1. Marilee, thanks for sharing! Now that sounds like quite an experience, one you own't forget for a while!