Thursday, September 17, 2009
A Little Obsessed
Okay, I admit it. I've had a crush on him since I was really young and he had a black and white television series on TV. A rough and tumble Western called "Rawhide!" Westerns were big in my house as my father was a huge fan. Bonanza, Rawhide!, Big Valley, Wagon Train. (I beg you, don't google the dates. You'll only be sorry you did. It was a long time ago, okay?)
Anyway, my bedtime was always (for some unexplained reason) too early to watch these shows. But that didn't faze me. Especially where Rowdy Yates was concerned. I had to watch. I had to. Somewhere in my mind, I thought he'd know about my betrayal if I missed it. I don't think my parents ever caught me. I would creep down the stairs and somehow our black and white TV was oriented exactly so that the reflection of the screen showed right in the little windows at the top of our front door opposite the stairs. So I could sit out of sight and watch the show with no one the wiser. And listen to...sigh...Rowdy. Seriously. He was cute. Just look at that face! (Yes. I said face. What else would I be talking about?)
He had this whispery kind of sexy voice that always made me hold my breath to really hear him. I thought he was all that. Someday I would marry him!
Anyway, I never stopped loving him from afar. Play Misty For Me, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Dirty Harry ... I loved them all. Because I knew, you know, we were meant for each other. I became an actress, secretly hoping I'd get cast in a Western with him in it. Didn't happen. Besides, as I arrived in Hollywood, he dropped out for a while and became Mayor of Carmel, CA. And played golf.
Then, (after I caved to reality and married my husband) when my daughter was in Kindergarten, she became friends with another little girl whose mom, it turned, out was CLINT EASTWOOD'S PERSONAL ASSISTANT! I know! Kismet, right? One degree of separation? Alas, no. I never met him. For some reason she was weirdly protective of him. Strange.
Clint became a director and did one of my favorite movies--"A Perfect World" with Kevin Costner, where he played a crabby, but sympathetic FBI agent. He had aged, but beautifully. He was still hot.
"Unforgiven" was a work of art. And a western. That won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Maybe my husband didn't totally understand why I cried when it won. Maybe he did.
Anyway, I pretty much resigned myself that it wasn't meant to be. I couldn't seem to work out how it would happen. I moved on. Had a life. Raised my kids. Wrote western romance novels that I secretly dreamed he'd make one day on the big screen. (What? I don't recall ever saying I was a realist, okay?)
One night, a year or so ago, my husband and I were walking down Ventura Blvd. in Studio City after dining out. We ran into an old friend of his who is a well known stand-up comedian. So we're blabbing, saying hi and our friend is on his cell phone intermittently, because he's waiting for someone outside this restaurant who's meeting him to discuss some charity golf tournament he's organizing. But he sort of encourages us to hang there with him by blabbing about this and that. Nice, nice guy. We were happy to hang out with him. His dinner date was late.
Suddenly, he turns and goes, "Oh, good, here's Clint."
Did--? Did he just say--?
I swear, it all went into slow motion at that moment. Because who is walking toward us, with that loose-hipped confidence in comfy old clothes that look like they've hung in his closet for thirty years--not in any hurry, but moving toward us with movie star-ish authority?
IT'S CLINT EASTWOOD!!
THE Clint Eastwood! Rowdy Freaking Yates!
My mouth kind of drops open as our friend graciously introduces us and Clint reaches-his-hand-out-to me.
And just like that? I touched him. I took his hand, smiled up at him and burbled, "I-I'm a huge fan of yours, Mr. Eastwood."
He smiled a twinkly smile back at me and said, "Thank you very much. That's very kind of you. So nice to meet you both."
We exchanged a few more words that, frankly, are a blur now and said good-night. Afterward, I couldn't stop smiling, doing little bunny hops down Ventura Boulevard beside my sweet husband. Destiny had vindicated itself. Clint was gracious and lovely and sweet. Everything I hoped he would be. And a camera really wouldn't have been appropriate. No, that would've been tacky. But that picture of him reaching his hand out to me is settled comfortably in my mind.
And that's right where it belongs.
I heart you, Clint. Just in case you read this.