Through the years, I have come in contact with famous people and it has caused me to perform "random acts of foolishness."
All etiquette went out the window when I met Richard Nixon, prior to his presidency. I was in the Washington, D.C., area on vacation at that time. His presence attracted a small cluster of reporters and fans. With my heart pounding, I broke into a circle of flashing camera lights and microphones, thinking, this could be my one and only chance to get close.
As Nixon was conversing with a fellow Texan in the crowd, he extended his arm to shake the man's hand. That's when I interceded. Let this be known, "I am not a crook." Well, maybe just a little, because I stole Nixon's hand right then and there. While his hand was still in midair, I grabbed it and shook it instead of that poor Texan.
I'll never forget the dirty look the soon-to-be president of the United States gave me. I cannot tell a lie, I left embarrassed by my actions, attributing it to being "caught up in the moment." And when Nixon became president, and Watergate broke, all I could think of was pardon me -- pardon you.
Another encounter happened in the early 1980s, when I met Burt Reynolds. He and Goldie Hawn were filming the movie "Best Friends" in Buffalo. After work, I just happened to show up at the movie set hoping to get a glimpse of Burt. I was able to take a photo of him in the distance. A few weeks later I had the picture with me when I revisited the movie site once again. No, I'm not a stalker.
As luck would have it, I caught Burt and Goldie coming out of a house separated from the fans by only a flimsy piece of yellow tape. I felt like a schoolgirl high on hormones. I immediately bypassed Goldie and ran up to Burt. You must take into consideration that I was in my 20s and single. Surely Burt would come to his senses and realize that I had more to offer than Dinah Shore, Sally Field and Loni Anderson.
I pushed the envelope and asked him for a kiss. He leaned in and I planted one on his cheek. It was a memory-foam experience because my lips literally sank into the softest skin texture I have ever felt. A close second would have been a baby's butt; no offense, Burt.
Not satisfied with one kiss, I craved more. With the picture of him in my hands, I asked him if he would sign the back of the photo. He said, "yes" and smiled. Shaking, I rummaged through my purse and came up with a pen. As Burt proceeded to sign, he looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "Honey, your pen doesn't write." My life flashed before me. Well almost.
Then Burt came to my rescue by announcing that he would take the photo aboard his RV and return it to me with his autograph. Soon afterward, a man brought the picture out to me signed by Burt. Well, I hoped it was really Burt's autograph and not the van driver's.
At any rate, I kissed the back of the photo, which left a huge red lipstick mark. Now, I had a permanent impression of Burt along with his DNA sealed with a kiss and bragging rights. And I let it be known to all my friends, especially my next date, that Burt Reynolds was the last person I had kissed.
To this day, I can't recall that date's name or his kiss. But I'll never forget kissing Burt.
Karen Adragna Walsh, who lives in Orchard Park, admits to being a little star-struck.