My Walk with the President

Dateline: July 2002

by Jason Bergseiker

The major star of the Portland cookie jar show was Don Winton, a legend in the sculpting business who is staying strong at 81 years of age with his wife Norma. This is the guy who designed the Emmy award, and the Mickey Mouse phone that many of you have seen over the years.

Mr. Winton (or D.W. as we like to call him) came to the show with his last one-of-a-kind, hand-sculpted cookie jar ever. It was to be auctioned off with a starting bid of $1000. So on went the auction and a bid of $2000 arose from a gentleman in the back. This bid was a shock to the cookie jar community, because no one had ever seen him before, and these folks are a tight group; some would say they’re like cookies, in a jar. Another bid went up. $3000. I’m choking on the excitement by now waiting for the unknown man to bring it to another level. Sure enough he drops a Four G bomb on it. That is right, Four Thousand dollars. I’m sweating now. Going once, going twice, sold to the mystery man.

After exchanging pleasantries and a 4k check, the man needed some help carrying his other bags to his car, so, being the fine young gentleman that I am, offered my services and we headed for the parking lot. It was now my duty to find out who he was. Luckily I didn’t have to do much work to find out. After explaining my background in two minutes he said, “I work for Nike. I’m the president.”

At that point I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. I thought about crapping in my drawers, but settled on saying the classic statement, “That’s cool.” But in reality, I was thinking “Dude, I am walking the president of Nike to his car. “I kept my cool though, never breaking a sweat, I learned he had Michael Johnson’s Gold shoes, from the ’98 Olympics, hanging in his office, along with Renaldo’s chrome shoes from the very recent world cup final match in which both goals were scored by him. Sweet, I said.

We were approaching the last leg of the longest walk to a car in parking lot ever, and I was waiting for a Bentley or a vehicle of similar stature, when he said “Tomorrow I’m meeting with Michael Jordan.” And with no hesitation I replied “We’re here until Monday if you need someone to eat lunch with.” He never said yes, but then again, he never said no either. I figure it had to do with his schedule or something.

The walk finally ended with the approach to his yellow Saab. Modest. Like the man. He had to leave the show because he didn’t want to be late for his son’s soccer game. I wasn’t going to keep him from doing what he had to do, so I shook his hand after he mentioned his appreciation and he said “Well good luck to you.” Honored, I was, so I felt I could return some inspiration, so calmly I responded, “You, too.”

You, too. Good luck to the president of Nike, I said that and then walked off. Now that, is sweet.