A while back… I went to Mexico City to compete in the World Championship (shotguns). I was privileged to be a shooter on the American Team and most of us, as well as the other competitors from the U.S., traveled on the same plane from LA. There wasn’t the security problem we have now. There were enough privately owned guns on that plane to start a revolution! All each of us had to do was present our guns, safely in their cases, to the Steward and he would take them to the Pilot’s compartment. At the end of the flight, we would personally reclaim our weapons. Smooth. Ammo went through “Luggage”. Since this was a World Competition, each Country sent their shooters the same way. America’s greatest competition was the Italian Team. They arrived wearing matching coats, hats and ties! We all spent the next two weeks trying to sabotage each other at restaurants and parties…with champagne and mariachis and other impractical jokes! Parties?….Oh Yes….remember this gathering was on a World Scale… Royalty, Political Leaders, International CEO’s, Celebrities, and me. I was happily single. One of the most memorable evenings went as follows….
The President of Mexico, Miguel Alemán, invited many of the most prominent competitors from the U.S., Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico and England to a very elegant party at the Museum of Anthropology which houses the famous Aztec Calendar and other Mayan and Aztec treasures. There was an Orchestra and we all wore our best formal clothes. After a magnificent dinner, the President asked me to dance with him… of course, I accepted. El Presidente!!! We danced a slow Fox Trot first… then he, very dramatically, put his fancy sombrero on me and the Orchestra started to play a Mexican Folk Dance. Fun! Except, just then we were interrupted by a very classically handsome Gentleman. The President was a little startled that someone would have the nerve to “cut in”. The Orchestra suddenly stopped….everyone else did too. The Gentleman offered a polite excuse…got down on his knee….took something out of his pocket…and said to me….”I want you to marry me and become the mother of my children”…then he presented me with an exquisite antique diamond ring!!
What an impossible situation! Yes, I knew who he was…he, elegant and silver-haired… was a well known Italian Count! He had attended many shooting competitions all over the Western States in which I participated. These included a lot of social events. We had been introduced and he had watched me shoot in competition. I remember his name to be Luciano. I had no idea that he had such intentions. No, I did not accept his proposal or his ring… much to the disappointment of the romantically bent audience. Of course, I was honored… but I hardly knew the man and there were so many other adventures awaiting… though I have often wondered what my life would have been like… as a countess!
During the 10 days of competition, I managed to maintain a 4 way tie for first place. On the last day I whiplashed my neck during practice. The team doctor couldn’t do anything for me. Drugs would have disqualified me. I had no ability to move on a quick shot to the left, and unfortunately that’s what I got and missed. Individually I finished fourth in that World Championship. The American team placed second, beating the Italians. Hah!