Life with the First Lady
Perspective from the end of a campus celebrity’s leash
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 22:10
Parker Smith is a normal college student. He goes to class, is a member of the Corps of Cadets, plays intramural flag football, loves football and the Aggies and is involved in many organizations. But everywhere he goes he has a constant companion — Reveille.
With the full-time job of being Reveille’s handler, Smith, a sophomore general studies major, said he must leave for every class 30 minutes early to make it on time with his popular companion at his side.
“When I am with her, I double my time anytime I have to go to class,” Smith said. “She normally just dozes off in my classes.”
To become the handler, Smith had to go through an eight-week tryout that ended on Parents’ Weekend.
“The handler comes from E-2, and it is one freshman,” Smith said. “We get the honor of taking care of the mascot. A lot of it is physical, doing runs. Some of it is public speaking and how you represent the Corps and her.”
Smith said he knew he wanted to be in E-2, the Corps unit responsible for Reveille. Smith’s brother, Class of 2002, and father, Class of 1974, were in the Corps.
“My brother lived with the handler and I always knew I wanted to be in E-2,” Smith said. “[To be the handler] was always in the back of my mind until late in the year when I realized I had a shot at it.”
Being the handler does come with some sacrifices, Smith said.
“The worst part is when she steals your food,” Smith said. “She’s very mischievous. When we were at my house over the summer, we all left the room and she jumped up on the counter and ate all the chicken breasts.”
Smith said the position does have many perks.
“The best part is sometimes you kind of forget who she is,” Smith said. “She turns into a normal dog. But when you are walking around and see the smiles on the people around — just being able to see the reactions and being able to make their day is the best. No other campus has the chance to see the mascot besides at football games where they have to sedate them, like Bevo. But with Rev, you can literally see her in Evans and go up and give her a hug.”
When Reveille goes home with Smith, she does have to compete with Smith’s own dog.
“I have an old lab,” Smith said. “He definitely knew she was the boss. She lets anyone in the room know that. Even though he is an alpha male, she was the boss. She is the head of attention and knows it.”
There are many myths about Reveille, Smith said, one of which he wanted to clear up.
“People say when she jumps on the bed, you have to sleep on the floor, but she has the whole bottom bunk in my room, with a Tempur-Pedic mattress,” Smith said. “I sleep on the top and she can’t get up there.”
Though the next Parent’s Weekend is months away, Smith knows parting with Reveille is going to be hard.
“I feel bad for her,” Smith said. “I know how loyal she is because she gets attached to her handlers. When she was first passed down to me, she was sad, but she eventually warmed up to me. This is her sixth year and she is able to get over the past handler faster because she now knows it is coming.”
Jacob Hovey, sophomore international studies major, said he knows how rough the job is on Smith but said he has worked to “bring an excellent image to Miss Reveille ma’am.”
Head yell leader Ryan Crawford also attested to Smith’s representation of the University.
“Reveille’s handler has a 24/7 job,” Crawford said. “Parker [Smith] doesn’t have any extra time to hold a job. This is his selfless service to A&M. Considering he is a young college student representing the whole University system, he is doing a great job.”