So what was it like for the Fort McHenry ranger to suddenly have Sarah Palin, her family and a gaggle of media onlookers on his hands Monday?
"Just one more visitor for me," said Ranger Jim Bailey, who had about an hour's notice before the is-she-or-isn't-she presidential candidate stopped by. "I gave them the program I give any visitor.
"I did have them all heft a 36-pound solid iron cannon ball. I thought it would be really neat for them to feel how heavy it was, to get the idea of how physical and how hard the loading and firing of those cannons were. … Think about doing that for 25 straight hours."
The Palins also got to feel how hot the cannon balls get, since they'd been sitting in the sun on scorching spring day.
"I forgot how hot they got," Bailey said. "It's like a hot cup of coffee. It's uncomfortable to hold."
But Palin and her crew could take the heat.
"They didn't flinch," Bailey said. "They held up well."