I'm sure the C4P Meet-up Committee will have something to say about the ordinary barbarians' descent on Chicago, but in the meantime, here's my story.
This was my first meet-up, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was a little nervous about meeting the people behind the avatars, but that nervousness dissipated when I ran into Nicole as we left to go have pizza. "What's your name?" she asked.
"Kelsey--" No time for anything else. She was already giving me a big ole' hug. And the whole experience just got better from there.
We walked to the pizza place. Sapwolf brought some of his huge Sarah posters and walked with them prominently displayed down the streets of Chicago. Gotta admire that guy's boldness. He let me have one of the post cards he had picked up from a Sarah Palin's Alaksa screening, so that was really cool.
There were at least a few PUMA's in our midst. Nicole, being a recovering democrat herself, was very excited to hear that. I ended up sitting across from Ron Devito and Nicole, and between hrh and someone I'm calling, "the Vegetarian." I run screaming from vegetables so it comes in handy to have a vegetarian in the vicinity. They can eat all the stuff that I refuse to touch. ;-)
S.E. Cupp was there signing books and we were all eating and chatting happily away, when a guy in another part of the restaurant realized that we were Palin supporters. He started yelling something to the effect of: "Sarah Palin's a moron!" The first time we ignored it, but he did it again, if not three times. Not surprising. It was Chicago, after all. I'm actually kind of shocked that no one else backed him up on it. He was a lone heckling wolf.
Well, Nicole being the spunky lady that she is jumped to her feet and pointed to herself and others around the table yelling, "Former Democrat! Former Democrat! Former Democrat!" Somewhere along the line the rest of us burst into a short chorus of "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!" It all died down quickly.
After the dinner, Mia found the guy. He said that he just likes to cause trouble. Not wanting to leave the place with any hard feelings, Mia offered to buy him a drink. I believe he accepted.
We walked back to the hotel and who was standing outside? Tammy Bruce. We informed her of what had happened and she told us to answer with, "We believe in the Mayan calendar. The world is going to end for liberals in 2012 with two words: President Palin."
Dr. Gina Loudon stayed up with us in the lobby that night just talking about Palin and telling us her own theories about how the 2012 race will shape up. She repeated much of what she said in her speech, and I'm sure someone will post the speeches, so I won't reiterate it.
All of the speakers were amazing and so great for coming. But at the end of the day, there's no doubt that Tammy was the barn burner. (Side note, I got to ride in a cab with Thomas of Palin Promotions, Nicole, and the one and only Tammy Bruce. How cool is that?)
Saturday night we had dinner in a separate room of a restaurant. Tammy was the last speaker of the event and man, she let everybody have it. I get the feeling that she's not too fond of Karl Rove. Just a wee bit of a feeling. ;-)
Tammy picks up on the almost instinctive (dare I say, Providential?) nature of this whole thing better than anyone else I know. When the speeches are posted, you have got to watch hers, at least. Hers and Loudon's were my faves, but they were all great.
I kept an eye on the waiters during Tammy's speech. They didn't have much to do at that point, but a few of them hung around the back anyway and you could tell they were listening. It is Chicago, so I wasn't sure how they were taking it, but after she was done they clapped like crazy. I didn't see the next part, but I've heard from others that when Tammy went up to buy a drink later, the guy told her that it was on him. Maybe there's some hope for Chicago yet.
After dinner, this barbarian hit the hay, but I hear that many of my peers stayed up well into the wee hours of Sunday morning chatting in the lobby, and that Tammy stopped by to chat for awhile herself.
I don't have time to go into all the great people that I met, or the Governor's call (yes, she called in). If there's anyone I didn't say "hi" to, I apologize. I'm not the most outgoing person in the world, but if I hang around Nicole long enough, maybe some of her personality will rub off on me. :-)
Oh, and I met a fellow Norwegian, an actual true Norwegian who was born in Norway and moved here. Sweet.
Let's just say that it was definitely worth it and my hat is off big time to the people who put it all together. If at all possible, I'll be at the next meet-up, that's for sure. Gotta hang with my fellow barbarians.