By Jim Hunt
As I was driving to Washington, D.C. for the spring meeting of the National League of Cities, I heard on the radio that the cherry blossoms were just about to hit their peak beauty and I thought that would be a nice addition to the trip. After being there for a couple of days, my colleagues and I decided to take off for a couple hours and see the hundreds of cherry trees in all their glory. We took an Uber to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and as we approached, we could see the pink blossoms surrounding the reflecting pond. It was amazing! We walked among the hundreds of visitors from throughout the country and the world. Since the cherry blossom trees were a gift to the United States from Tokyo’s Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912, as a token of friendship, many Japanese tourists make their way to Washington in the spring to see the blossoms.
The walk around the Tidal Basin is enjoyable and it leads past the Jefferson Memorial to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and finally to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was my first visit to the King Memorial, and it is a very impressive sculpture. The memorial alone is worth the visit to our nation’s capital. I saw a group of young people and asked where they were from. They said they were from Caldwell, Idaho and this was their first visit to Washington. It took me back to the early sixties, when I took the train to Washington with the Linden Grade School, School Boy Patrol. It left an impression on me that continues to this day.
After our visit to see the cherry blossoms, we decided to go out for dinner and took the recommendation of the hotel’s concierge to dine at Truluck’s on K Street, just a block from the hotel. After being seated, a gentleman stopped by our table to light the candle and asked what brought us to town. I told him that we were here for the National League of Cities meeting and that we were from different parts of the country. I pointed out that my friend, Mike Conduff was from Texas and my other guest was from Maryland and I was from West Virginia. He asked me which city and I replied, “Clarksburg.” He smiled and said he graduated from Grafton High School and had worked in the theatre department at Bridgeport High School for a few years.
After the waiter took our order, we sat back and enjoyed one of the most delicious meals we had ever had. The food was delicious, and the service was outstanding. As we were finishing up, the fellow from West Virginia stopped at the table and asked if we enjoyed our meal. After thanking us, he said that the dessert would be complementary. Imagine our surprise when he approached the table with a beautiful cake that he immediately set afire. It was a Baked Alaska and he had written, “Almost Heaven” in chocolate syrup on the plate. It was so thoughtful and capped off a wonderful day and evening.
I mentioned that I write a column each week on my various travels and that his thoughtfulness would be mentioned in my next column. His name was Charlie Dillon and he is the manager of Truluck’s at 700 K St. in Washington. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, please ask for Charlie and let him know that his friend from “Almost Heaven” said to order the Baked Alaska! Thanks Charlie!