In 1991, then Tennessee Sen. Al “I invented the Internet” Gore was in town to commemorate an Air Force Base anniversary. Being the seasoned local newspaper reporter, I got the interview. Our only opportunity to speak was in his limo on its way to the airport. Afterward, I was unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road.
I worked for a time at a thrice-weekly newspaper in rural Middle Tennessee. The paper served an area that included Arnold Engineering Development Center, Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma.
Gore and Sen. Jim Sasser were special guests at a 40th anniversary commemorating the opening of the base. I was to interview Gore for an article about the event. He was traveling to Chattanooga immediately after the ceremony, so I had a very small window of opportunity.
I knew he was headed to the airport, but had not been told how I was supposed to get back to the base. To say I was distracted during the interview, would be an understatement.
Just before the interstate on-ramp, the limo driver pulled onto the gravel shoulder, turned around and just looked at me. Gore also sat there simply staring at me, not saying a word. I was expected to know this was my stop. Dumbstruck, I got out of the car, all alone in the middle of nowhere, and watched as the car drove off.
This was before cell phones, so I had no way of calling anyone to tell them where to pick me up. Just when I was about to start walking the five miles back to the base, in a dress, in heels, another car pulled up. A Gore staffer got out and opened the back passenger door of car for me to get in. I didn’t say much on the drive back, but my poor husband, who was waiting for me at the base with our two-year-old daughter, certainly got an earful.