December 14, 2008
Remember the Titans! How could we forget them? They wrote their names on Erin's head with permanent marker.
What kind of mother lets total strangers with Sharpies mark up their daughter? Me, I guess.
When we made it over to the Marriott after Saturday chemo, we caught the hotel personnel doing some spiffying up: sweeping the front sidewalk, polishing the lobby brass, etc. They also had velvet rope strategically placed. We noticed folks loitering about, including a lot of hotel employees that ordinarily would be occupied at that point in the afternoon. We could tell they were expecting company, but no one would tell us who.
On the way up the elevator, the hotel assistant GM, who Erin had befriended on an earlier stay, let her in on the secret that the Tennessee Titans would arrive around 5:00. With help from a small, but mightily generous, crowd of Titan fans (who really knew the ropes about getting autographs), Erin found a strategic spot on the rope line right at the top of the escalator and waited. Her first triumph: an autographed copy of the photo of 6' 6", 320 lb. Albert Hayneworth that appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
A short time later Vince Young (former UT quarterback and multiple award winner and record setter) came up the escalator.
His designer suit: $1200
His tasteful jewelry: $5000
The look he had on his face when Erin asked him in a very small, very polite voice if he would please sign her head: priceless
Not only did he sign her head, but he was gracious enough to sign two more times so that Erin's friends Jackson and Aaron (who in contrast to Erin, actually know who Vince Young is) could each have their own autograph.
Over the course of the evening, Erin scored many more signatures--some on her head, some on paper, and some on the clothes she had on. Lendale White was my favorite--not because he told Erin that he would put her photo in his locker for inspiration (although that did weigh in his favor), but because he took the time to talk to her and get to know her. Donnie Nickey gave he a strawberry kiwi G2 gatorade along with his autograph (which really helped my campaign to keep Erin hydrating herself to avoid the kidney problems often associated with cyclophosphomide). Even Coach Fisher took the time to meet and sign (I think maybe he's rethinking that wasted two minutes in light of the Titans one-point loss to the Texans this afternoon).
I can't say enough about the efficiency of the in-patient staff to get us in and out smoothly both Saturday and Sunday. We barely had time to run down and visit our buddy Hans (who was restricted to the 7th floor waiting on his severely low potassium to recover). The short time we were there was made even sweeter by having Jackson along. He is the most cheerful helpful middle school kid you would ever want to spend time with.
We got home this evening and Erin had a plan. Since 5:00 she has been in her self-styled, self-built tent fort--reading, munching popcorn, and snuggling with Teddy. I barely had the heart to make her come out for supper.