The fact that I got such a late invitation indicated that some more important personality had backed out and they needed someone to fill the spot.
But something told me it was going to be an interesting day.
I had some American visitors from our Boca Raton headquarters, and being who I am, I couldn´t resist telling them that I would be with the Clintons that night at the Presidential Palace. One of them, with a wink and a twinkle in his eye said something along the following lines:
"Hey Terry, do me a favor......I don´t care too much for Bill, but there is this rumor in the States about Hillary. They say she´s "butch" and I want you to try and shake her hand and see if it´s true that she´ll try and crunch it right to the bone".
Hahahahaha, but I said I didn´t think so.......we had a great laugh and I promised that I´d do my best to comply with his wishes.
At midday, I attended a large meeting where Bill Clinton spoke to the Chilean and the expatriate business community at the Santiago Teatro Municipal.
An incredibly good speaker, Bill had everybody attending at his fingertips.
At the end of this excellent presentation by Bill (NAFTA was in the process at the time), I decided to exit the theater by a side door towards the west and to my surprise and delight I saw that Clinton and his party were exiting right in front of me,
So being the gossip that I am, I followed along expecting them to climb into their cars and leave.
We wanted to see him from close up and hopefully get a handshake as he went by.
Some ten minutes later, that seemed forever, Bill emerged and came straight at us.
My groupie friends went wild, like he was Mick Jagger, yelling Bill, Bill, Bill !!!!! I must say that I got totally carried away by the moment.
Bill Clinton was, then, an incredibly attractive figure physically......or looked it to me, anyway......Very tall, thin and pale......he seemed to look down at us with impressive blue eyes and this warm and gentle smile.
My groupie friends that were surrounding me yelled at him and jumped up and down. As he passed he made a point of coming close and shook their hands.......and mine as well !!!!!
Needless to say the "picada" (San Remo) that Bill honored with his improvised visit, became instantly famous and hugely popular. Its owner cleverly kept the coke bottle, the glass in which Bill drank out of, put them on display, and changed the name of his restaurant to "La Picada de Clinton" as it is still known until today.
It was a pleasant autumn night and an excellent delicious dinner was served in the Patio de los Naranjos, outdoors.
As I suspected, when I received the last minute invitation, we were so far away from the table of honor, that I though it would be impossible to get close to Hillary in order to fulfill my colleagues wish that I could shake her hand.
But they don´t call me Lucky Cook for nothing !!!!!
After a delicious dinner, great toasts back and forth and, as usual, an outstanding speech by Bill, it was time to leave.
As fortune would have it, we happened to start exiting exactly in the same direction Hillary was taking (Bill had moved in a different direction).
She was impressive. Not a very tall lady, but her yellow dress was beautiful. Impressive was the way she gave everybody her full attention.
She looked every body in the eyes for several seconds and had a kind word for all, as she shook hands.
Finally it was my turn and she looked me straight in the eye with her lovely blue eyes. "Pleased to meet you", she said, and gave me a firm but pleasant handshake. And, without any hurry, she went on to say hello to the next person.
Next day, I was able to report to my colleague.......mission accomplished !!!!!!........and I was happy to tell him that the rumors about Hillary being "butch", were unfounded.
I was so pleased about my encounter with the Clintons, that I am sure it overflowed over to my golf game. In fact, only a few days later I made my first hole in one !!!!!!!
I shook hands with two Presidents of the United Stated of America, man and woman, husband and wife, on the same day, in two different events.
That´s Lucky Cook, for you !!!!!!!!!!
And, nowadays, on most Mondays, when I go downtown to have lunch with some of my buddies, I always try and go via calle San Antonio, and in front of the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, to have a look at the Pica de Clinton.
It brings the inevitable smile to my face as I remember that very special day.