The National Employment Lawyers Association Gala 2017, held in San Antonio, TX this year, honored Teri Chaw their outgoing Executive Director with speeches and music. It was my honor to be a part of this celebration.
To pull it off as a surprise, was a little challenging. I had to hide in the hotel a day and half before the event. No problem. I went down to the River Walk in San Antonio. What a great place. I don't know what I expected, but it was not that. The city has this wonderful sidewalk along the banks of the river running through the town. Its set below the city streets covered by trees, beautiful bridges and sidewalk cafes filled with locals and tourists. Clean, inviting and friendly, it was still HOT. I looked up in the sky and saw huge grey clouds and thought, "Hmm, in California those clouds don't mean anything. Maybe a little fog. Wait a sec, I'm in Texas." And the rain came down. Not just little California raindrops. BIG Texas drops. Like someone plopping a small balloon on your head. I was soaked within a minute and decided, hey, I can't get any wetter, and sat at an outdoor cafe and drank a delicious beer. No chips.
Back at the hotel, the evening of the gala I had to be careful not to run into the guest of honor. I sat in the back of a large convention style hall at the table with other NELA people. The guest was in the front of the room, seated. The program had started so she wouldn't get up. Right? Wrong, she walks straight back to the table I'm seated at to talk to her group and was headed straight for me. I just slid off my chair and hid under the table until she left. Nice roomy area. Kind of felt like a little kid again at a wedding reception hiding under the table.
She finally goes back to her table and now its time for the large group on stage to exit. My turn to enter. With the crowd moving, the idea was to blend in and get on the stage. Just as I am about to "blend", Teri gets up and starts heading right for me. There was a tall man leaning up against the wall. So I grabbed his elbows from behind and used him as a human shield. Moved him so he faced her as she walked by. I said thanks and left him standing there.
The performance was great. The band rocked all the songs that were selected as Teri's favorites. "Let's Stay Together" opened the set followed by "Don't Stop Believin" with the NELA words in place of the original lyrics (thanks Journey). The show was brought to a peak when my sister, Colleen Goodin took the stage and sang "Love Me Like A Man" with me. She is awesome!