From the pier in Jacksonville Beach this afternoon, I took the following pictures:
Then they hurried inside and disappeared behind the black curtains that ensconced the private, book signing area situated in the middle of the bookstore. All the media were ushered to the coffee shop, while the hundreds of fans lined up in the store like one very long airport security queue. I hung out with the on air anchors Diane Dimond of Entertainment Tonight and Darren Kavinoky of Inside Edition and their camera crews; all of Jacksonville’s local network news stations and print media and their online counterparts; freelance photographers; and two very accomplished high-school journalists, including my colleague, Nick Lulli, from 2News Now. (His assistant Megan Moser was denied inside press access and was made to wait outside the store.)
Piper was sitting behind her mom at the book signing table. So poised, and patient, just watching the people pass by, until finally, she was bored, got up and moved around the area, and was just being eight in a crowd of adults.
I tried, we all did, to get clear shots of Palin unobstructed by her fans; or engaged with a particular one. It was a challenge, dodging outstretched arms, and darting between the bodies of the people who’d waited so very long for their few moments of face time. Palin was friendly and seemed very approachable if not for the handlers that moved the 600 or so people past that signing table in two hours time.
I was there when a nine-year-old girl, who was dressed as a Sarah Palin ‘mini-her’ approached the table. She presented her book, and a nicely homemade card describing her admiration for Palin, featuring a her photo, dressed as Sarah Palin (again) for Halloween and explaining that her mom is the chairman of a Draft Palin 2012 grassroots organization. I’d spotted her earlier, in the crowd, outside, before the event. She did bear an uncanny similarity to her grown-up hero. Take off the glasses and side sweep the bangs, and she might have been Piper, actually.