This is the continuing story about my son, Max, and me flying to New York City to be on Glenn Beck’s TV program. It certainly was exciting for both of us.

For me, it was like Christmas. I barely slept the night before, wondering what in the world the day would bring. Finally, around 2:30 a.m. or so, I nodded off to dreamland. Our flight out of Bangor wasn’t till 10 a.m., so we didn’t have to get up too early.

We drove to Bangor and boarded a small jet. The flight to the Big Apple took less than 90 minutes. Landing at LaGuardia Airport, we were greeted by a “Welcome to New York” landscaped sign alongside the runway.

It was very cool when we saw our limo driver holding up a sign that read: “Nickerson.” Little did this guy know how much he was appreciated. As we rode into the city I wondered, “Do I tip this guy?” But he had me sign a receipt when we made it to our destination and I saw the charge. He made enough. And yes, I am a cheapskate.

Getting to the studio was like driving through a canyon. The buildings on both sides reached to the sky. It was nothing like I thought it would be from seeing it on TV. I always thought there was plenty of space and wide streets. Not so.

We entered the Fox News building and after clearing security, one of the Glenn Beck producer’s assistants gave us a tour. We walked by Karl Rove being interviewed live. There were two to three hours before we had to get ready for the show, so we could hit the town. It was suggested we walk to several landmarks and be back by 5 p.m. Then the assistant gave me her cell phone number in case we got lost. We did not have to use it, but I sure felt better having it.

Max and I headed out dressed in suits and seemed to fit right in. Our first destination was Times Square. I was flabbergasted. We saw the large screens and news being broadcast. We decided it was time to eat, but had a hard time deciding where. Finally, we settled on a little cubbyhole called Roxy’s.

This was the first time in my life I had ever paid $15 for a hamburger and $15 for a toasted cheese sandwich. And it wasn’t as good as a burger from Bolley’s in Waterville. But I chalked it up to the New York experience. We then made our way to Rockefeller Center, Radio City and NBC Studios.

Our last destination was the Empire State Building. What a magnificent piece of art and engineering. Built before World War II, it is grand. We didn’t have time to go to the top, but we walked through and marveled at its beauty. Can you imagine a building so large that you can enter it from three different streets?

We made our way back to Fox News and met with the producers. We were taken to the green room — a waiting/preparation area that was not green. I was expecting to see about 30 other guests, as this was slated to be an audience-participation program with Glenn.

I asked a producer where all the other guests were, and she said they were already seated and we were going to be special guests and, when the time came, we would sit on stage with Glenn.

“We’re going to do what?”

“Don’t worry, just follow Glenn’s lead,” she said. I was starting to get nervous, but the producers kept us calm and reassured us it would all go smoothly.

It was strange to see so many people, each with a very specific job. A couple of guys attached microphones to our clothes. A makeup artist prepped us.

Max was emphatic. “Makeup?! No way!”

“Just consider it being your TV experience,” I told him. He caved when the woman told him it was to take off the shine because of the bright lights.

Then it was my turn. While applying the makeup, she asked if I wanted some hair.

“You can give me hair?”

“I can make it look like you have hair,” she said.

“Well giddy-up, I’ll take all you have.”

With a little powder, a fluff of the brush and some hairspray — eureka, I had hair. I had it all day the next day, too. I didn’t want to wash it out.

We were taken inside the studio, seated in the front row and were told at some point we would be taken on stage to sit with Glenn. We would tell the story about how fate was alive that day in Washington, D.C., when I was in the bathroom and a complete stranger took a photo of Max getting Glenn Beck’s autograph … and then we ran into the same woman a mile away later in the day.

Glenn was talking with the audience. Max and I were quickly put at ease by the laid-back atmosphere. Glenn seemed very down to earth as he spoke with us about anything and everything, but mostly about the Aug. 28 rally.

The TV show was mostly about people who attended the rally, what they thought about it and if it changed their lives. It was interesting listening to people, but my mind was preoccupied about what in the world I was going to say once I was on stage. I asked Max if he was nervous and he flatly stated, “No.”

A surprise family guest came on the show and things started to run long. I realized we might not make it on. I never saw an hour fly by so fast. The taping continued right through commercials, so there was more than enough material from which to make a show. Then it was all over. Max and I had not made it to the stage.

No matter, it was quite an adventure.

After Glenn left, two producers told us to follow them. They took us back to the green room, where Glenn was interacting with the surprise guest. Once he saw Max and me, he greeted us with a huge smile and a hello, telling us he would be with us when he finished.

When he came over, I introduced him to my son. The producer brought out an enlarged photo of the original of Glenn signing Max’s book. Glenn signed the photo and presented it to Max. We spent about 10 minutes with Glenn in the green room, then he was whisked away for more appearances. I have to tell you, I was impressed. He was sincere, caring and, for me, a  genuine person. The real deal.

After Glenn left, Max and I talked about the experience. Max was elated.

The producers informed us that we would do an interview with them, without Glenn. They said they wanted our story told, so the production crew set up in the green room and one producer filled in for Glenn during the short interview. They said they would try to get it aired. As it turned out, the segment never did air, but again, that was fine.

When we wrapped up, we were running late; the limo driver had been waiting outside for a good 30 minutes. An assistant escorted us from the building, saw us to the car and we made it back to the airport just in time for our scheduled flight — then the plane was delayed 45 minutes and we had plenty of time to grab another one of those $15 hamburgers.

We boarded the jet and had a beautiful flight back to the great state of Maine. Below us, lights twinkled from all the small towns. When we landed in Bangor around midnight, it felt great to be back home. It’s hard to believe that Max and I flew to New York City, did all that we did, and returned home, all in one day.

The show ultimately aired Oct. 8; it was cool to see Max and meI on national television during the audience shots. Oct. 12, more clips from the show were shown, which was a complete surprise.

Mark Nickerson is a retired Maine State Police Trooper who lives in Unity. The 28-year veteran and award-winning columnist may be reached at menick@uninet.net.