The best usher I ever knew

Robert Duncan in News By Us:

KurtvonnegutNearly 18 years ago friends suggested we make the relatively short trip from Nampa, Idaho to the big capital of the state, Boise – the occasion being the yearly Hemingway Conference. Besides thinking of Hemingway in terms of my future move to Spain, in this case the event was especially attractive since the author Kurt Vonnegut was to be the main speaker.

As things would have it we arrived late after having lost our way in the big city. After dashing about like only hicks on a big-town-university campus can do, we reached a large auditorium – only to see that it was packed tight. If I remember correctly there were some heated words, when suddenly a gentleman in a tan corduroy jacket came up behind us and made some comments about how filled the place was. After a bit of banter to the respect, he told us to follow him.

He led us past the entire audience, then grabbed two chairs from off the stage, placed them firmly in the front row and told us to sit down … and then walked to the center of the stage and began to speak. It was only then I realized that it had been none other than Kurt Vonnegut who had been our usher.

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