A White Linen Suit

Back somewhere in the middle 1990s, my fraternity held our Spring formal at a Holiday Inn in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana.

It was late in the evening - more likely early in the morning. One of the ladies in our group wanted to get back in her room since her beau was busy doing "whatever" and still going strong. A few of us escorted her back to her room only to find she didn't have a key.

As we waited in the hall for someone to come back with it, I noticed a figure get off the elevator in a rather slowly animated fashion. The figure making its way toward us, I was the first to notice what turned out to be a man in a white suite. A few more steps and it dawned on me exactly who this was. White wavy hair and mustache, rumpled white linen suit, a brown paper sack in his right hand which clutched the open end of the bag by something solid within.

It was Mark Twain...THE Mark Twain!

Even the most inebriated illiterate recognized the figure as he politely, if not unsteadily, excused his way between the half dozen of us in the hall. I have no idea how I knew it, but as he passed through, I respectfully addressed him with a "good evening, Mr. Holbrook." He seemed slightly surprised - indicated by his tossing his head back open towards me - that someone would call him by his real name and not his character. A slight smile preceded a gentle and friendly "hmm" as he found my eyes. Then he stumbled on a few more doors and disappeared within.

He was in town giving a performance as the illustrious American "state"-sman. The meeting was fleeting and long ago, but not many I venture can say they met two celebrities on the same night wearing the same rumpled white linen suit!


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