By Jennie Montgomery


It was Kids Night at Lake Olmstead.

The WJBF News Team was passing out Frisbees at the GreenJackets  gate. Even the Super Heroes, like Superman, Spiderman and Captain America joined us.

The Hulk was standing beside me. (I quite liked it! One of the rare times I found myself standing beside a figure that made me look “petite!”) Sports Director Matt Zahn’s two little kids walked up. Two-year old Zach was excited…until The Hulk moved toward him.

That small gesture set off a meltdown you could hear clear on the other side of Lake Olmstead.

Zach froze—dropping his ticket and his News Channel 6 Frisbee—and his eyes flew wide open. Instantly, Matt swooped up his kids and dashed away from the line of costumed characters.

I laughed and remembered a time when I was introducing a Sesame Street Live show at the Bell Auditorium. The promoters had invited me to come early and bring my three little kids backstage so they could get pictures with a character. Two-year-old Sky Baby was so excited! All day long she kept talking about Elmo. She wanted to meet and hug Elmo more than anything! (Remember the “Tickle Me Elmo” craze?) I thought the character who came out would probably be Ernie—or maybe Big Bird—so I really kept trying to build Sky’s enthusiasm for the other Sesame Street characters…but that little girl was holding out for Elmo.

Much to my happy surprise, it was indeed Elmo who came through a side door backstage to greet my kids! Much to Sky’s surprise, Elmo was not the size of her toy. Nope, he was a good six feet, head and all. Just picture that six-foot tall, ALL RED, BIG HEAD Elmo reaching for the baby I was holding on my hip.  

Sky turned bright red and screamed her head off!

She was bawling—I mean tears streaming down her face, flailing little arms and legs, pigtails bouncing all over the place—it was a disaster.  She wanted NOTHING to do with Elmo. She just wanted me to hightail it outta there!

Our keepsake picture is of a beet red, TERRIFIED kid leaning far away from the giant red Elmo standing beside her.  

It’s simply perfect!

This article appears in the July 201 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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