Bob in DC!

Did you know there are two Starbucks within a few feet of each other at the Memphis International Airport? Well, now you do. I was tempted to get one of those fancy drinks — mokey macky something — but it looked too big to carry on my way to the gate. Do you suppose they sell coffee-flavored coffee?

I was worried about my luggage — these airplanes are so much bigger than I’m used to — but I had fun at the Washington airport named after Ronald Reagan. I must admit, though, that I got a little dizzy riding around on that carousel waiting for my bag. I nearly got crushed by a set of golf clubs that zoomed out just as I was making a turn. I wonder if all the people at the airport are as grumpy as the man who made me get off the ride.

I loved the Marriott, where they played the big tournament. What a hotel!  It was tough finding my way around on the three levels, but I eventually settled down in my little spot in the Daily Bulletin office, watching all the people come in to talk to the staff. There was an endless variety of topics: new Life Masters, lost sweaters, people wanting directions, former board members showing off their photos. You name it.

My first official function was being introduced at the meeting of the ACBL board. Vicki Campbell, the company’s marketing person, said so many nice things about me that I was blushing. Some of the board members were very friendly, one in particular. I’ll tell you about him later.

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I was invited to the Goodwill Committee reception, and someone put me on the podium where Aileen Osofsky talks to everyone. The stand was slanted, though, so they had to tape me down so I wouldn’t fall off. Talk about a captive audience! Not that I wanted to leave, mind you — Aileen was very charming — but I was looking longingly at the buffet line and the free bar.

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As you have been told, my final destination this year is the Fall NABC in San Diego, so I stopped by the Mega Housing booth to make my reservation. I wish everything had been so easy.

After the Goodwill meeting, the very nice board member I was telling you about — Rand Pinsky, from Los Angeles — dropped by to invite me to the evening side game. He was playing with his wife, Kathy Swaine. People were very friendly when they came to the table, and Rand had fun asking new arrivals to the table if they minded kibitzers. People were swinging their heads around looking for a regular-size person, then Rand laughed and told them the spectator was me. It was great fun.

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At one point, Kathy had a rather difficult bidding decision, so I got up on her shoulder to check out her hand to see if I could help. She was very nice to me, but she didn’t really need any advice.

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One day, I went for a visit to the Intermediate/Newcomer game, and I met the Bridgettes. They are six women from Long Island who travel together to the NABCs. They were very friendly, but when I inquired about membership, they were a bit hesitant. Apparently, it’s a pretty exclusive club.

Most of the time I was in DC, I stuck to my perch in the Daily Bulletin office — having fun people watching — but midway through the tournament, I was kidnapped!

That’s right, and they even left a ransom note.

I was shocked when I found out later that all they wanted was $10,000! As Jack Benny used to say, “Well. . .!”

My captor was none other than Julie Janiciki, wife of one of the newest board members. She is a really nice lady.

I don’t think she meant me any harm, and she later amended the ransom demand to include some gold points. She told me she had planned to take me out for some sightseeing in the nation’s capital, but she got to feeling poorly,  and she spent the day in her hotel room (I was feeling neglected and pretty bored in her purse).

I was happy to return to the DB office. Ask Barry Rigal some time to tell you the story about the Swedish man and the drug store. It sure made the people in the office laugh in the many times it was told. I saw a lot of Patty Tucker, too. She works with the tournament for young people that I heard so much about. I could have visited there and no one would have known me. It’s nice to lie low sometimes.

Okay, folks. That’s it for now. My next message will come to you from Toronto, assuming I get there in one piece and the baggage carousel at the airport doesn’t go too fast.

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