To the Editor,
Having been on the same team together with Mike McIntyre in Babe Ruth baseball while growing up in Lumberton, I had thought there was a good chance he might return my call in 2001. I was mistaken.
You see, while having taken off a year 2000-01 to study in England, I met the lady I would eventually marry. Because she’s from Ukraine, the logistics of getting Olga a fiancee visa were difficult, and became more difficult after the events of 9/11 that year.
Dealing with INS or the then Immigration & Naturalization Service was a bureaucratic nightmare, the complications of which, I felt, required guidance by a U.S. House office. Mind you, I wasn’t comfortable calling the office of the 1st District Congressman because The Littleton Observer of which I was editor at the time was doing investigative reporting against ex-Rep. Frank Ballance.
On calling McIntyre’s Lumberton office, I was told that I couldn’t speak with the congressman and that his office didn’t deal with people outside the 7th District. It didn’t matter to them when I explained I was a Lumberton native, or that Mom and now deceased Dad, future in-laws of my wife, still lived in Lumberton.
Thinking that McIntyre’s staff in Lumberton was just poorly trained, I called the congressman’s Washington, D.C., office and got the same Deputy Dawg-like answer, that is, “Don’t go away mad, just go away.”
Still needing guidance, I called the office of Rep. Sue Myrick in Charlotte. They were more than happy to help, even though I didn’t live in their district. With some difficulty, Olga’s visa was finally approved, and today we happily have a son and daughter to show for it.
Hypothetically speaking, if McIntyre were arrested and, in the one phone call police allowed him to make, he called me, then — in contrast to his staff — I’d be more than happy to help my ole teammate, but I certainly wouldn’t vote for his re-election.