Happy Birthday Rich

I’m behind trying to get stuff done at the office so I can get out of here and head north, so I will repost a blog article I wrote about him last year.  Happy Birthday man, see you tomorrow.

I am one of five boys, all of us have very different personalities and talents.  I’ve written in passing about my oldest brother Rich who is the publisher of a blog and daily column entitled Capitolfax.  He also has a weekly column that is in over 150 newspapers and another column in the Chicago Sun Times.  The subject of his writing is Illinois Politics and he is an expert on the subject.  When one of the Chicago TV stations needs to bring in a talking head to explain what is going on in Springfield, they usually call my brother. 

But, he still is my brother.  I see him in a different light than most people, I remember him as a kid, as a college roomate and during his years when he struggled to make a living.  I moved away from Illinois while I was a very young man and don’t get to see my family or spend quality time with them as often as I should.  A couple of weekends ago as you readers know, he invited me to come to Chicago and watch a Sox/Rangers game.  He belongs to an organization that owns a block of tickets behind home plate at Cellular One Park and he bid for the tickets in the first round of their yearly auction to make sure we had good seats. 

He picked me up from the airport and had a few words to say as I was decked out in my Rangers gear, saying that he wouldn’t protect me from the throngs of Sox fans.  I laughed knowing we weren’t sitting in the outfield and the people that tend to sit behind home plate aren’t usually the ones to hit you in the back of the head with a beer bottle.  It was a great game, Danks vs. Millwood.  Great pitching, good defense and a fast moving game on a night that would be considered winter for my thin blooded body. 

It was after the game that prompted me to write this entry.  We headed downtown Chicago to the Hyatt Regency to sit in what they call the Big Bar to watch the Blackhawks Hockey game and talk politics with a couple of his friends.  He invited three Republicans to come meet us, I guess because he felt I would have a better time with them than the Democrats he is known to pal around with.  My brother isn’t the lefty he once was, you know, paying taxes and all that has changed him a little, but he is far from a card carrying Republican.  He has become very balanced in his writing and some of the big shot Democrats in the state would tell you he has to be a right winger because of some of his columns.

So here we were, sitting in a bar with three very influential Republicans in the State of Illinois talking politics (Yes, I am aware, there are only 12 Republicans in the state).  The topic was the upcoming Senate Campaign for Obama’s old seat, and whether or not this particular candidate would run for the Republicans, and who would run on the Democratic side.  The conversations were completely off the record, so I can’t go into what was said, but it was fascinating to say the least. 

The deference given to my brother made me chuckle at times, because, you know….he is still just my brother.  While he was away from the table I was telling the story about how all my brother’s names begin with the letter “D”…..and one of the participants stated the obvious…my brother’s name is Rich.  I had to explain to them that yes, his given name is Richard after my father, but as a kid he was Dickie.  

No matter how much of a big shot he is today or will become after he writes his Blagojevich book, when he goes back to Clifton, Illinois to visit family, he will always be Dickie.

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