The lady looked thirsty, so the bartender set a 22-ounce plastic cup of mercy in front of her. She grasped it. She took a long pull. All at once, her eyes started to water, her cheeks started to flush and her mouth started to utter the word "Wow!"
"You from South Carolina?" asked the bartender.
"No," replied the woman, as she gasped for breath.
"Well," said the barman, "you are now!"
The drink, you see, was called a Tiger Paw, in honor of the Clemson Tiger, mascot of a well-known institution of higher learning in Clemson, S.C.
The ingredients? "Orange juice, brandy, vodka and rum, in increasing proportions," according to the bartender. And who was he? Well, he said his name was Ken, and you couldn't divine any deeper insights into his true self from the green rugby shirt and the flashing smile he wore.
But this fellow tending bar at a Capitol Hill pub called Bullfeathers was actually Rep. Ken Holland, Democrat from Gaffney, S.C. And the beneficiaries of his pourings were not just 150 or so fellow South Carolinians who work or serve on the Hill, but a great Washington institution: Children's Hospital.
Since May, Bullfeathers has set aside each Monday night for one of the 50 states. Congressmen from that night's state of honor tend bar. Anyone who claims an allegiance to the state of the week is invited. Bullfeathers donates $1 from each $3.50 mixed drink and 50 cents from each $2.50 beer to Children's. After seven weeks, the total turned over to the hospital stands at well over $1,300.
South Carolina rang up the largest one-night donation so far -- $418. That's a lot of orange juice. But what it really reflects is a lot of work by Ken Holland's office manager, Tricia Wilson.
"I called all the South Carolina offices to make sure they knew about it," Tricia said. But she confessed that a big drawing card was the chance to watch the elected representative of the 5th District tend bar. "I don't think he knows anything about it," said Tricia, "but he's trying."
Upcoming this month: Montana (July 12), Oregon (July 19) and Wisconsin (July 26). It's a good cause, and a good time. As they were saying on The Night of the Tiger Paw, see y'all there, y'hear?