“Thanks for the hat,” he said.
Joe turned around. “Hey! It’s The Kid!”
And it was. The Sundance Kid. Robert Redford. I was staring at Robert Redford.
I should back up about an hour. My boyfriend Joe and I were having dinner at our favorite restaurant on Tybee; trying to comfort the owners, Alan and Jackie, who had just put their 17 year-old dog to sleep. It was kind of a sad night, when the hostess came over and whispered in Alan’s ear.
“Robert Redford’s coming in,” Alan said.
“You’re kidding me,” I said.
“I’m not. He’s on his way here right now.”
As far as I’m concerned, there are only three movie stars in this world who personify ‘cool’: Kris Kristofferson, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford.
“Seriously? He’s not really coming here. You’re kidding, right?”
He wasn’t kidding.
Sure enough, five minutes later, in walks Redford with a friend, both with baseball hats pulled down, as they inconspicuously headed out to the dock for dinner. No one even noticed.
After they finished eating, Joe asked the waitress to send Redford and his companion a couple of Joe’s Tybee Bomb Squad baseball hats. And as they were leaving, Redford and his friend, still incognito, walked up to us. “Which one of you were kind enough to send over the hats,” he asked. I pointed to Joe.
After a brief conversation Joe thanked him for coming to Savannah and Redford, hat still pulled down low, said, “Well, we love Savannah. We were here about 10 years ago for ‘Bagger Vance’.”
”I remember,” I said. “My friend works for the paper and she took a picture of you on set. She sent me a copy. You were my screensaver.”
“I was your screensaver?” And with that, he tilted his hat back, and looking me square in the eye was Robert Redford. The Natural. The Great Gatsby. The Electric Horseman. The Sundance Kid. Wow. And then came The Smile—that smile we’ve all seen a thousand times on screen—that smile, was there before me, in real life. Needless to say, it was incredible. It made my year. Thanks, Joe.
Back to design and restoration next week…unless Kristofferson or Willie Nelson happen to be in town.