My wife left me and my daughter as close as we could get to the Rockets stadium to walk the rest of the way around road blocks. We stood in line for about 40 minutes to get past security. Large bags filled with garbage dotted the area left behind, I guess, by the overnight and really early-birds. That's some serious dedication.
The crowd wore mostly blue-jeans, polo shirts and “message” tees, with some business casual mixed in. It looked like a cross-section of America. At the very least, it appeared everyone had bathed before coming. This ain't Occupy Wall Street or an Antifa demonstration. We all work for a living.
I’ve never seen this stadium before. It’s not like the Astros stadium where there’s actually room to move around. I’m not afraid of crowds, I just don’t being stuck in the middle of people. I AM, however, afraid of heights. Sara and I got on an escalator that rose 100 feet. An usher unpried my fingers just before we got off, and we barged through more people to find two seats behind the podium near the top. We shooed away some birds and sat down.
Why did I go? Well, how often does one get to see the president of the United States? This makes three for me – before, after and during his term of office. My first was Gerald Ford who came to Victoria to stump for someone running for Congress during Reagan’s term. George W Bush came later while running for governor. I may have caught a glimpse of Clinton when the missus was running for president the first time (yes, I went on purpose).
Of course, I wanted to support Ted Cruz who appears to be in a dead heat for his reelection to the US Senate. I could’ve done without a few other speakers who preceded him, like a campaign manager, the daughter-in-law and son, but above all the lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. I wish he had been next to me on the way up so I could push him off and watch a satisfying splat.
A deafening roar greeted Trump who waved to the crowd behind him, strode to the podium, and greeted everyone in front. The box seats were empty as was a section that would have been unable to see him anyway. The place was otherwise filled, with another 50 thousand outside who couldn’t get inside. I nudged Sara and said, “I guess we just made it!”
And then we left. Well, not right away. We listened to some playful banter and humor at the Democrats’ expense, and some more campaign fodder, then figured we’d done our civic duty. I had to brace myself for the escalator ride down, and this time Sara peeled my fingers off the handrail.