Thirteen People I'd Invite to Dinner if I Could
1. John Adams. I've been thoroughly fascinated with Mr. Adams, Dear Mr. Adams since reading "Those Who Love" by Irving Stone when I was a girl. Reading David McCullough's biography of Adams only reinforced my fascination with him, and I'd love to spend an evening talking with him about his view of the world, hearing about the American Revolution from someone who was so deeply involved, and finding out what he really intended for our government.
2. Mike Rowe. Let's forget about the fact that he's got a great voice that I could listen to for hours, and about the fact that he's seriously hot, even when he's swimming around in a vat of poo or crawling through poo, or doing any of the other things he does with poo every week on the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe." I'd love to have dinner with this man because he seems to have a terrific sense of humor, and there's something to be said about an intelligent man who can also make me laugh.
3. Steve Irwin, because even though I don't share the passion he had for crocodiles, I find anyone that passionate about something to be fascinating.
4. Lech Walesa, whose tireless work for freedom inspired Poland's eventual fall from the Iron Curtain. He had the courage to speak out at a time and in a place where speaking out simply wasn't done. For his efforts against communism, Walesa earned a Nobel Peace Prize, and was eventually elected as Poland's first president. In the 2002 Winter Olympics, when I saw him carrying a corner of the Olympic flag around Rice Stadium, I got tears in my eyes. I'd just like to hear what this man has to say.
5. Mary Todd Lincoln, who lost two children and a husband while living a very public life, and who lost a third son shortly after her husband's assassination. She was raised in the South, yet was married to the US President during the American Civil War. She may not have come through with flying colors, but the fact that she endured at all amazes me. I'd love to spend a couple of hours in her presence.
6. Queen Latifah, who has done it all, and continues to do it -- and do it well. She's beautiful, intelligent, and talented, and I'd like to hear what she has to say about a whole lot of things.
7. Elvis. Not because of the hips, or because of the music, or because of the fame. Actually, he's on the list despite all those things that eventually drowned out who he was and got the best of him. I'd probably prefer to invite Elvis the younger, because his true self was still close to the surface then, and because it's so incredibly depressing to spend time with someone who's self-destructing.
8. Maya Angelou, because she seems like an intelligent, grounded woman with a lot of interesting things to say. I love spending time around people with intelligence. Not necessarily education, although education is important. I'm talking about that deep, born-with intelligence that's present on a cell level. Ms. Angelou seems like one of those people.
9. My dad. One more dinner. I'd give almost anything.
10. Kurt Russell, just because he's about as hot as they come and I've had a thing for him for way too long to make a list like this and not put him on it. Besides, he's hot. And he seems well grounded. And he's hot. And he seems comfortable in his own skin -- which is hot.
11. Ellen DeGeneres. Because she can't open her mouth without making me laugh. She's a brilliant comedian, and I like her style. She is who she is, and she seems to find such joy in the small things she reminds me to do the same.
12. Victoria Holt because other than Carolyn Keene (who never actually existed) she's the first author whose books swept me away to far away places and who filled me with the desire to do what I do now.
13. Samuel Clemmens, aka Mark Twain. Not only one of this country's great authors, but a distant cousin (according to my grandmother, whose passion for family history is a legend in itself), a terrific wit, and an obviously intelligent man with a keen bent for political satire. Can you imagine how interesting he would be to talk with?
So there it is. My dream dinner party.