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Irene Rubaum-Keller Headshot

Thank You Robert Redford, and I'm Sorry

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Dear Mr. Redford,

I wanted to publicly thank you for the amazing work you and your organization, The National Resources Defense Council, have done to save the red rock wilderness in Utah. (For those of you who missed it, former President Bush, as one of his lovely parting shots to this nation, was ready to sell the land to oil companies for development. This would have destroyed one of the most beautiful places on earth for the sake of money and oil drilling.) Thanks to you, and the NRDC, a temporary restraining order was granted and the land will not be touched until a further hearing in the near future. The checks that were written for the land have not been allowed to be cashed. Thank you, Mr. Redford, for your selfless service to our country. I know that myself, and many other Huff Po readers, took part by giving financially and by sending letters to help stop this disastrous move on Bush's part.

As a celebrity you have done so much, not just for the environment, but also for the film industry with the creation of The Sundance Film Festival. While other celebrities sit at home counting their money, you have used your fame to make the planet better, as did your good friend Paul Newman. Thank you!

Now for the "I'm sorry part". A very long time ago, when I was a giggly 13 year old, I met you at Sydney Pollack's house. I was not expecting it, as I had no idea then who Sydney was, or the fact that he was a big director. He was just Steve's Dad, and my brother Larry was Steve's friend. I did know who you were then, as your iconic poster (with the cowboy hat from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) was on my bedroom door. I had a bad teenage crush and was very torn between you and David Cassidy. David was above my desk (actually David was also on my closet and over my bed).

Anyway, I stopped by one day to pick up Larry and Steve asked me to come in. I walked into the living room and there you were. My bedroom poster standing there smiling at me.

Steve said, "Irene, I'd like you to meet Bob Redford. Bob, this is Irene, Larry's sister."

I felt my face turning multiple colors of red, purple and probably green. I also felt the uncontrollable urge to giggle. You were very gracious and came up and shook my hand.

"Irene, nice to meet you," you said.

I think I just stood there giggling, uncontrollably.

Maybe to put me out of my misery, and maybe because you meant it, you said, "I really like your pea coat. Where did you get it?"

Here is where the "I'm sorry" part comes in. I was wearing this coat that I had gotten at this cheesy girl's shop called Judy's. (For any of you Angelinos who shopped in Century City, way back when, you might remember that store. They had girl's clothes that were cute, but not high quality. It may have been the ancient version of Forever 21.) Somehow, my 13 year old brain must have still been working through the giggling, and I thought, "I cannot send Robert Redford to Judy's."

So what came out of my mouth was, "I got it at the Army Navy Surplus Store," a complete and total lie.

Yes, I lied to you, Robert Redford, and I am sorry. I am sure you stopped trusting people after that. Actually, when I saw Three Days of the Condor and the pea coat was the signature style piece, I wondered if the costume designer had found it at the Army Navy Surplus Store. I am pretty sure he/she didn't find it at Judy's.

So thank you for all you have done, and again I am sorry for lieing to you. I hope that you, the NRDC, and Sundance carry on for many, many years to come.

Warmest Regards,

Irene

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