25 November 2021
Uncle G’s FUN Thanksgiving Memories
Topic: Meeting Charlton Heston
Words and Photo by Gary “Uncle G” Brown
It was in the year 1992 on Thanksgiving Day, that the city of Houston, which is located in the great state of Texas, had themselves a fancy Thanksgiving parade. Could be an annual thing? It may have been broadcast on television. The theme was Hollywood and the floats were all themed with Tv shows and movies. A lot of fun to witness. It was obvious that a shit-load of people, worked hard, putting the parade together. From my viewpoint, I would say that it was a success.
In Houston, even in the month of November, the weather could be fairly nice. One of the best months to visit, as far as temps and humidity go. More tolerable, as compared to being there during the summer months. The Astrodome had a roof on it, for a reason. The sun beats down on the city, and when it rains, it’s akin to taking a shower that offers no relief at all. As a matter of fact, it can make matters worse as far as the discomfort level goes.
Sitting in a sleek-looking convertible, was the Grand Marshall of the parade. The weather actually acted like it was from up north; windy and very chilly. Temperatures in the 40s (I believe). The man of honor, actor Charlton Heston sat raised in the back seat. He was keeping warm in part by wearing a black coat. He looked the Hollywood star, and he was. People were going ape-shit when his car would pass them. As popular as could be.
Almost three decades ago, I was a cigarette smoker. As a matter of fact, it will be another year that I quit, right around this time, in 2007. In 1992, I was smoking up to three packs a day. I quit briefly and went back when starting to go through divorce number one.
After watching the parade for a while, I decided to find a place a tad warmer to go smoke. I was in downtown Houston. Tall buildings all over. I ducked onto a side street and found a high-rise office building with an old-fashion entrance. Nobody seemed to be around. When I was a teen back in the 1970s, we would call something like this a cubby hole. Standing in the space near the front door would provide some kind of shelter from the elements; wind and rain. When in downtown Denver in 2016, I noticed the homeless sleeping in cubbies. The best temporary shelter they could find, probably. Always sad to witness. Is bad for business and is understood that tolerance is sometimes difficult. I imagine, unimaginably rough having to deal with personally, on a daily basis. An old saying; But for the grace of God, go I.
So there I was, having a cigarette, trying to stay warm. The sun shined on where I was. I glance to my right, and all of a sudden I see something that is blowing my mind, and it’s heading right for me. A couple of weeks before this, I watched the movie, The Ten Commandments. It stars Charlton Heston. Here comes Moses.
The rest happened so fast. I just happen to have a ballpoint pen and something for him to sign. We exchange greetings. Out of nowhere, this middle-aged caucasian guy appears next to me, and Mr. Heston. He is the one who asks for an autograph. He signs for him and gives the guy back his pen, in which he takes it, gives thanks, and walks away. The legendary actor takes my pen and signs the back of one of my business cards. It’s the only paper item I had on me, besides money. Charlton signs and no ink is coming out. Some fancy pen I got at Office Depot. He tried again, and the same thing happens. Because he had a heavy hand, you could see the traces of the signature. He advised me to get another pen, and just go over the outline. Pretty cool. Saying that he noticed, as did I, a group of people heading our way. He can’t be any kinder to me. The man pats me on the shoulder and says he got to go. I acknowledge and he disappears after entering the building. As do I, as I find myself back to the group of people that I was with.
I never outlined the signature as Mr. Heston recommended. I did hold onto it. When life wasn’t that good, I sold it to a collector. I hated doing that. I’ve been collecting autographs since I was a child. It’s a good hobby, and one that I learned can get me out of a jam, from time to time. I always hope that never happens.
I would have published other personal photos that I have of the parade if I had them available to me, here in Las Vegas. I have a storage unit in Pennsylvania where these are. Presently I am trying to gather up funds so I can make the trip to the other side of the country, empty the unit, and bring my belongings here, back to Vegas. You can contribute and or even sponsor the round-trip by making a donation in my tip jar, which is found here on my website. I appreciate it.
End of Story
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