Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Mr. Speaker..."

Did you see where Barack Obama addressed Congress tonight? I've been right there.

Glenn Locke and I were driving a car from Florida to Buffalo in 1989, and we stopped in Washington to do the tourist thing. One of my interns with the Sabres, Bob Fischer, had moved on to work inside the U.S. Capitol building. He told me to drop by sometime, and he'd give us a little tour. O.K., Bob.

It took us a little while to find Bob. He first led us out of the office, around a corner, and opened a rather typical looking door. Suddenly, we were on the floor of Congress. Yes, it was in recess. A couple of steps up, and Glenn and I were ready to assume the roles of Vice President and Speaker of the House at the next joint session of Congress.

Bob let us look around a little up there. As I recall, there are all sorts of old-looking cabinets up there, but there are modern communications devices located inside those drawers. Jim Wright was on his way out from the Speaker's job at the point for some scandal, so we no doubt made some remark about looking for money or women or something else in those hidden drawers. The funny part was looking up and seeing the tours take visitors through the galleries. Those visitors no doubt looked down upon us and said, "Who the heck are those guys?"

Bob showed us around the rest of the building, and then led us outside for a moment. An official photographer showed up and took our picture in the classic pose with the Capitol dome behind us. I don't know if I'm the only person to pose like that in cut-off shorts, but I don't think it's a very big club.

It was a really odd feeling to be standing there, and quite a thrill. Wherever you are, thanks again, Bob.

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