Butterflies in the Sky and Dr. Preston Burke

So I’ve had this job for a little over 2 years now, and I’ve always seemed to miss the rockin’ famous people who come to visit our nation’s capitol. But this time, no this time, I wasn’t going to be the last one to know. I was out sick on Tuesday and considered not going to work on Wednesday to continue my recovery, but since I felt much better than I did on Monday and Tuesday mornings, I decided to go ahead and go to work.

When I got to work, the schedule of the days events (hearings, meetings, etc.) going on in the buildings was in an email in my inbox. I scanned through them quickly only to find that one of the committees was holding a hearing and one of the witnesses testifying before the committee was none other than Mr. LeVar “don’t take my word for it” Burton. If you’re like me, you grew up watching Reading Rainbow. In fact, I can pretty much directly connect my love for reading to LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow. So, maybe some of you know him from Roots or Star Trek, but regardless, LeVar, Kunta Kinte, or Geordi La Forge, he’s likely part of your history in some way. It just so happens that I had a slight advantage on meeting Mr. Burton as I have an inside track with the committee holding the hearing. We called them up and asked if one of the interns and I could get in to see the hearing and possibly meet Mr. Burton. And that’s all it took. They were nice enough to seat us right next to the witness table, less than 6 feet from Mr. Burton.

After the hearing, we were introduced to him and I had the opportunity to speak with him about how Reading Rainbow impacted my life. I mean when someone is partially responsible for your literacy and you get a chance to shake that man’s hand, what could possibly stop you! He was kind enough to stay after the hearing to take pictures with just about everyone on the committee staff and us interlopers even after our intern’s camera battery decided to die and I had find my inside track to get her camera. I told him that I absolutely loved Reading Rainbow and that I still watch it today (if I happen to catch it while channel surfing) and he told me that I made his day. I mean SERIOUSLY…LeVar Burton told ME that I made HIS day. Maybe I really can fly twice as high (kudos to anyone who knows what that means). 🙂

Ok…so the story cannot end there…even though I would have been thrilled to end my day at that point.

My friend Jessica had a meeting Wednesday morning regarding employment opportunities and asked if I wanted to have lunch with her when she was finished. I said, sure. So I waited and waited and waited (just kidding Jessica…I actually had work to do). Anyway, Jessica got held up at her meeting for much longer than she anticipated and we didn’t get to have lunch until about 1:30. But that turned out to be to our advantage. I suggested we just go to the cafeteria that way I could stay in the building in case my office needed to contact me. We had a lovely lunch with Jessica steaming about the fact that I had met LeVar Burton and she had not. In fact, our friendship was almost ended because of how jealous she was. Such an ugly thing that jealousy, but just when she was about to say FRIENDSHIP OVER, sitting two tables away was our friendship’s saving grace. 🙂 We got up and started to walk out of the cafeteria when I happened to glance at this table by the exit. I stared (hopefully not noticeably) at this one gentleman at the table and thought to myself, that’s Isaiah Washington. It kind of threw me because he wasn’t in Dr. Preston Burke’s scrubs. He was wearing a dark suit and had a lapel pin on. Where I work the important people wear lapel pins, but I thought nope, we don’t have any important people here who look like Isaiah Washington…not even close…cause if we did…I’d be working for THAT office! 🙂 So I directed Jessica out of the cafeteria to a location where we could inconspicuously stare even longer at him and make sure he was who I thought he was. I said Jessica is that Dr. Burke over there and she looked at him, then at me, then at him, and then at me and said “YEAH…that’s him” in an ever so subtle gasping for air kind of way.

So I thought I’m not letting my introvertedness keep me away since I met LeVar Burton this morning. This is so cool. So, I march right over to the table where he’s eating lunch (yes I interrupted his lunch which was probably rude…unless you start the conversation out the way I did). “Excuse me, sir. I’m sorry to interrupt your lunch but are you Isaiah Washington?” He said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you because I absolutely love your show.” He (and this is for you Mrs. Jill Young) then, because he had a mouth full of food at this point, signed “thank you” to me. Then, he actually said it after he swallowed. We made a little small talk about what he was doing there, and we left before I could make any further of a fool of myself. I went back to my office and told one of the front office employees, Erica, that he was down there and she, being a Grey’s Anatomy-aholic, grabbed her camera and Jessica and me and we went back down there. At first Erica wasn’t going to go over to him (she was just gonna stare) and I thought I was going to have to go outside and cut a switch off a tree, but alas she did and we had a really wonderful conversation about the show moving to Thursday nights where I got to display my plethora (I love that word) of useless TV knowledge. I KNEW it would come in handy eventually. So, we all got our picture taken with him and thus ended probably one of the strangest, yet amazing days of my life.

Once I have the picture of the ladies and Isaiah Washington, I will post it (It’s on Erica’s camera). Until then, just enjoy the lovely picture of Mr. Burton!

Unfortunately, today (Thursday) has not lived up to yesterday’s excitement…except that I nearly ran into Isaiah Washington again on my way to the restroom a few minutes ago!


About Leann

Lazy Pancreas Owner. TV/Movie/Theatre Junkie. Sports Fanatic. Peyton Manning Expert. Alabama Graduate. Car Karaoke Performer. Believer In Love. Come along for the ride.

Posted on June 2006, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I’m so jealous…two of my favorite people…ok, TV people. And both so cute. sigh…you have all the fun Leann.

  2. Reading rainbow was awesome. So what does Mr. Burton do now..besides live off royalties.

  3. I saw my name in there! That’s so cool! I find myself doing that a lot too….I’ll sign with my mouth full only to realize that no one knows what I’m saying!!

  4. He is a National Board Member of the Director’s Guild of America. So apparently he is Directing. Also, next year will apparently be the 30th anniversary of Roots’s first airing in America…which since that was LeVar’s (yeah we’re on a first name basis now) 1st big role means he has been in the business for 30 years.

    Oh and Margie…believe me this is the first “fun” I’ve actually had at work in 2.5 years.

  5. I knew what he was signing, Jill! And it thoroughly impressed me that he would sign to me because people don’t tend to attempt signing in public unless they can.

    Oh…And I occasionally pick up on some things that you sign…I’m just not a fast sign reader. 🙂

  6. Ok Leann, you’ve now officially scored some major cool points with me for meeting Geordi La Forge!

  7. As if I needed to score any more cool points with you!?!?

  8. I love this story. You had such a great day!! Great picture with LeVar Burton and I can’t wait to see the one with Isaiah Washington. 🙂 I hope you have a lot more stories like this in the future.

  9. Can you really fly twice as high as a butterfly in the sky? 🙂

    I wish I could have been there to meet Mr. Burton, too! 🙂 I LOVE reading rainbow — I was home sick WAAY too many days as a kid, and got addicted to the show — and I still love it as an adult. AND I loved him as Geordi, too! 🙂

    Oh, and now I’m going to have the Reading Rainbow theme song stuck in my head all day. Maybe I’ll sing it to Nelson while he’s getting his shots this afternoon . . .

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