Within hours, my telephone began to ring. I was being asked for quotes by radio and the print media from all over the country. During that week, I even did an interview with a Dublin, Ireland, radio station that said my story on Kerry and McGregor was well known in his side of the pond. Toward the end of the week I got a call from the nationally broadcast TV show “Crossfire” asking if I’d do an on-air interview. Here was a chance to talk to millions of listeners — on prime-time TV — about Derry’s history. It took me about one second to say “Heavens to Murgatroyd, yes!”
Before my grand appearance, I had to have a young lady put makeup on my face. I suspected that they were afraid the camera’s lights might create a major glare off my bald head. Before I went on, they interviewed Democratic spokesperson Kathy Sullivan. She and Tucker Carlson got into a major battle of words that went on and on and on. Finally, my time came to sit in the chair between Mr. Carlson and Paul Begala. By this time, the on-air, live TV show was almost out of time. I had less than two minutes to talk about Kerry’s Irish roots and the story of McGregor planting the first potato. I did just manage in the last three seconds to squeeze in the tidbit that both Bush and Kerry were distant cousins of astronaut Alan Shepard.
When I got home I found out that my appearance had been noticed. One old friend, whom I’d been trying to find for a year, called me from Florida. Andy Bell called from California to tell me that I looked a lot better now that I was wearing makeup. So far everything was going pretty cool. But then the attacks began! I started to get mean-spirited emails from all over the country. I was made fun of because of the potato story. I apparently made both sides angry by saying Kerry and Bush were distant cousins. Some critics accused me of being a stooge for Kerry and that I was lying in order to get Irish-Americans to vote Democratic. I finally stopped reading my emails to avoid all the nastiness. I had actually neither written nor said anything good or bad about John Kerry. I did however say that “having Derry blood in his veins can’t be a bad thing.” After about a week the angry birds stopped bothering me. My moment of fame had passed. Thank heavens!