LFS Nostalgia

October 07, 2011

Written by: George Schaeffer

Somewhere in the 1970’s, probably around 1975, a guy by the name of  Joe DeLamielleure was a big name in Buffalo.  “Joe D” was the all-pro guard of the Buffalo Bills Football team and the fans loved his grit.  Joe was part of the “electric company” that made way for OJ Simpson to rush for his record yardage.  However, because he was a lineman, nobody ever really got to see his face. But I digress from the “Downtown Room.”

A North Buffalo contingent makes its way to the Statler Hilton’s  jazz club -  The Downtown Room one weekday night.  There is good jazz to be heard, as it is the opening night of Ruby Braff (cornet) and his quartet, Michael Moore (bass), George Barnes (guitar) and Wayne Wright (guitar).  We arrive around 8:00, and there is a line out the door!  This is an hour before the show would start!  This is unacceptable and we cannot locate Peter Hassett, who is manager and a fellow North Buffalo character.  Peter is busy readying for this opening night and and an unexpected packed house. At this point, he really could not help us anyway.  Fellow North Buffalo regular, Michael (Widow) Brady suggests that we just “bag it “ and return to Checker’s on Hertel Avenue.  

I eye the floor manager and notice that she is pretty young and probably inexperienced at handling this kind of crowd.  I also note there are reserved tables.  I make my way to the front of the line and summon her over.  I explain that I AM Joe DeLamielleure and Peter Hasset had set aside an 8-top for us.  She looks at the rez sheet and of course, there is nothing. She also doesn’t notice that I am probably 4” shorter and 40# lighter than “Joe D”! But I AM Joe DeLamielleure, and I know your boss!  She certainly recognizes the name “Joe D” and her next move is the right one – right this way for 8 seats about an arm’s length from the stage.  Now everybody in our group is shellshocked, much less Peter Hassett who sees us sitting front and center.  Peter starts to approach the table and is quickly intercepted before he calls out my given name, to be advised that “Joe D” thanks him for the reservation and the table.  Peter loved the ruse and besides the real “Joe D” didn’t know jazz from a javelin, so there was little chance he might actually show up.

To make the spoof even better, I think some of the folks who were in the lobby sent over a round of drinks for “Joe D.” and his friends.

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