The anxious little family finally made it to the front of the line that was snaking back and forth at the Desert Book store in Gilbert, Arizona. They had come to meet my son Steve Young who was signing his new book "QB: My Life Behind the Spiral," which was co-authored by Jeff Benedict.
“My boys were so excited to meet Steve," Aida Graffagnino said. "Our son, Branden, read the book before the book signing and wants to be just like Steve when he grows up.
“In his sixth grade biography, he wrote that he wants to go to BYU and play professional football," Graffagnino said. "Our son, Logan, was jumping in the line because he was so excited to meet him. He asked, ‘When are we going to get to meet him?'"
The Graffagnino family had come on the evening when the original signing was scheduled. A sudden fierce rainstorm canceled their plans as well as Steve’s, whose plane was diverted to the Ontario, California, airport. By the time the storm abated it was too late to make the signing, which was rescheduled for the following Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m.
After the signing, the boys told their parents they were going to treasure their books for the rest of their lives. Aida Graffagnino feels the lesson Branden learned from reading Steve’s book is he can accomplish anything if he works hard.
My husband, Grit, and I had missed most of the other book signings and were rewarded for coming to this final one as, with Steve’s wife, we watched his interaction with the public.
Steve has always been accommodating when it came to signing the myriad items offered up during his ride with fame, and this was a marathon of three hours.
The crowd was filled with old and young, sprinkled with some 49er fans dressed in their finest. He greeted everyone warmly, acknowledging their comments and leveling out their praises. Even after writing his name well over 800 times, he patiently signed onward.
Deseret Book store manager Kirk Tenney had the forethought to present all the rain-outs with a purple card for a return Saturday to a special line. Their wait was still long.
Short of staff because of the change, Tenney enlisted his wife, Susette, to ready the signing page while his teenage son, Blake, took pictures on request. Daughter Kylie and her husband, Todd Kupfer, manned lines.
Cody Skinner, another Gilbert resident, held his daughter London, who offered her pink helmet up for signing. He also brought sons Tatum, Titan and Trey with their friend Brock Shepherd. This patient crew had already watched Titan’s soccer game earlier in the day.
“Trey was especially excited to meet Steve because he's LDS like him and has strong religious beliefs," Cody Skinner said. "Trey is 11 and wanted this book as he is excited to learn and have even more reasons to look up to Steve. His younger brothers were excited because they want to be like their older brother.”
Hearing those words made us take a deep breath at the responsibility fame has placed upon our son. We personally are humbled at his choice to live life with integrity.
When he was well beyond our abilities to help, he had the opportunity to be shepherded by some fine people. Many of the choices that turn our lives are made by emulating others.
Cody’s wife, Krystal, wasn’t there because she was coaching their daughter KJ’s soccer game, and KJ was afraid she wouldn’t get to meet Steve. Her maternal grandmother saved the day by rushing KJ from the game in time.
Instead of being irritated by all the waiting, Cody said, “We are so thankful he was willing to come back after the rain on Thursday.”
Patience was the right word for this day, along with a sprinkle of joy in making some nice people’s dreams come true.