By Ashley Lodato

From the Brush with Fame department comes this story. My friend Danielle Micheletti was recently on a Horizon Air flight from Medford, Oregon, to Seattle. She later told me “A famous actor who is 80 years old sat down beside me on the plane. Can you guess who it was?” I responded immediately — and somewhat hopefully—“Judi Dench?”

“Everyone guesses Judi Dench first,” Danielle replied, dashing my dreams of being the most astute and perceptive of people polled. “No, it wasn’t her.” It turns out that Danielle was seated with Jane Fonda, who apparently looks amazing (“I’ve had some work done,” Fonda freely admits) and was wearing dark glasses, presumably to protect her anonymity. Because nothing screams anonymity like wearing oversized dark glasses indoors.

But this ubiquitous Hollywood disguise actually worked, and Danielle was at first stumped by her seatmate’s familiar yet indistinguishable visage, but she eventually identified Fonda through her distinctive voice. Fonda broke the ice at some point and she and Danielle chitchatted, with Danielle playing it cool, never once slipping up and calling her Barbarella.

Fonda has long been politically active and at 80 shows no sign of slowing down; she was on her way to Seattle to attend a fundraiser for Pramila Jayapal, who is running for a U.S. House of Representatives in Washington’s 7th Congressional District.

And because you want to know as much as I did, Fonda was wearing designer leg-stripe sweatpants and high heels — oh, the daring sartorial choices of the fashion-forward! Fonda took advantage of Horizon Air’s free drink policy and had white wine with sparkling water and lots of ice. And when the plane landed, Fonda jumped up with the agility you might expect of the former aerobics queen, scampered to the front, and was the first to de-plane.

My own brush with fame happened in the waiting room at Confluence Health in Wenatchee last week. As I was confirming my address and other information with the receptionist, she said “And your primary care physician is still Ann Diamond?” I told her that no, Dr. Diamond had retired, and that I was now with Dr. Fitzgerald. The receptionist made the change and then looked up from her computer screen and asked “Wait, isn’t Ann Diamond that politician?”

If enough of us submit the mail-in ballots that the state of Washington so thoughtfully provides for our convenience, and if we vote for the candidate who understands rural living and the challenges facing working people in this country, in one week the answer to the receptionist’s question above can be a resounding “Yes!”

I think this week’s Halloween column marks my 10-year anniversary at the Methow Valley News. A full decade of prying into people’s personal lives and making them public! Scary, huh?


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