Due to the storms that passed through the area, I was unable to get the final Black History Month story on the website yesterday.  Today, however, is much calmer so here we go. Cleve Francis is an African-American cardiologist, born in Jennings, Louisiana, but working and living in Washington D.C. for many years.

 In 1992, Cleve began his country music career which continues to today. He does as many shows as his cardiology practice allows.

 In the spring of 1992, a good friend of mine, Sam Cerami, flew to Washington to meet Cleve and get to know him better. Sam, having a huge expense account, booked us into the Willard Hotel, a Marriott facility where many famous people stay.

 I say that to say this: I saw a king.

No, not that one.

Sam and I had agreed to meet at the lobby elevator around 7 before heading into the restaurant for our dinner meeting with Cleve.

As is a habit of mine, I try to always be a little early for appointments. I got on the elevator about 6:50. When the doors opened I was immediately met with a badge in my face and a large, burly man inviting me to step “over this way” with him. He was a Secret Service agent pointing me to an area roped off where other guests were standing. It was obvious someone famous was about to enter the lobby.

Suddenly, in an entourage, walks in King Hussein of Jordan. He was of short stature, immaculately dressed and waving and smiling to the small group of sequestered guests, me included.

The entourage included some children and his American-born wife, Queen Noor. Gorgeous woman.

This only lasted maybe thirty seconds but the entire occurrence is ingrained in my memory and I DVD it in my brain at any time I wish.

Immediately after the King’s entourage had gone to their destination and the lobby returned to normal, the elevator door opens and out steps Sam – on time – and too late to have seen the big event.

We went on to dinner with Cleve, but I don’t remember much of that because as I told Sam and Cleve, “I always thought, after Elvis died, my chance to see a king had passed. Until tonight”.