(Bumped) Hanging with the Buckleys
5:36 PM, Feb 27, 2008 • By JAIME SNEIDER
I met Bill Buckley while interning at National Review during the summer of 2001. When he later invited me to join him in Gstaad, Switzerland, to serve as his research assistant on Last Call for Blackford Oakes, I instantly agreed. I left a well-paying full-time job in Washington, D.C., to avail myself of this exceptional opportunity.
Bill and Pat were my two favorite people in the world. I told Pat that she was at the very top of the list, and Bill was second. She let me know that "That's the smartest thing you've said in months." Rhetorical gems of this sort were happenstance when hanging with the Buckleys.
Perhaps my fondest memory of our time together was when Bill and I headed off for lunch one day to discuss his book. Bill had many admirable talents, but I'm afraid driving was not one of them. That day as we drove to a restaurant in the center of Gstaad, Bill took a wrong turn off the road onto a cross-country trail. As the trail got narrower, Bill began banking the car into the snow on the passenger's side--my side of the car!--to avoid plunging us into the shallow stream on the driver's side. Later down the path, we eventually got stuck in a ditch. Bill suggested we abandon our vehicle and proceed to the restaurant, where we enjoyed a carafe or two of wine as skiers were forced to navigate around the forsaken car.