God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Things I will remember about our inauguration experience:
  • The beyond belief crowds of people packed so tightly in the streets and metro that a person didn't walk but instead was part of one moving organism.
  • The incredible calm of the crowds--no pushing, fights, ugliness, unpleasantness.
  • Ninety pound Casey being lifted high on the shoulders of a very tall man, reporting what was ahead, where signs were, providing direction and answers for hundreds of us who had no idea what way to go, where we were, which way the living organism should turn. I so regret not getting a picture of this moment.
  • Finally entering through THE GATE and security into the hallowed ground for ticketed witnesses to history. The strange part being that at the end of the "getting there" ordeal, we weren't asked for our tickets. Whether that was unique to us or if anyone could have entered at that gate remains a mystery.
  • Taking off my sweatshirt to give Casey another layer as he was so cold. I, miraculously, stayed warm.
  • Casey's panicked fear of the crowds, tears streaming down his face, pleading to go back to the hotel. Knowing that if we could work through his fear with him, he would be OK and glad that he stuck it out.
  • Casey's exuberance and joy once the fear left and he focused on the magic of the moment.
  • Casey's jumping up and down, wahooing at what was said--sometimes ahead of those around us. He was truly listening.
  • The oneness of the people as Barack Obama repeated the oath and spoke to the Nation's citizens.
  • TheAfrican-American man who beared hugged Casey and me in one great embrace at the end of the oath--or maybe it was the speech--I can't quite recall.
  • The friendships developed in two minute elevator encounters. There being no such thing as a stranger.
  • Sharing breakfast, hope and anticipation with other hotel guests in the lounge each morning.
  • The movie producer who gave me one of his two treasured copies of the Washington Post on January 21.
  • Taxi rides taking long minutes to go 1 mile.
  • Walking, walking, walking miles and miles, not needing the gym's treadmill for those days.
  • Standing in the mall, watching Bono on the jumbotron, envying those who could see the real thing.
  • Casey on his knees at the Vietnam War Memorial, reading notes left for loved ones, sensing the magnitude of the losses in the names there.
  • Seeing the two young women in the elevator, dressed in their gowns, excited about the ball where they were going.
  • The blocks and blocks of orderly lines as people waited to pass through security on their way to pick up ceremony tickets.
  • The magnificent stage at the capitol with its flags and color--majestic!
  • Casey's boredom at the Capitol tour.
  • The vast numbers of African-Americans who converged on the capitol to witness, savor and know that the truth was real--to witness what had seemed so impossible.
  • And..most of all...the awe that we were witnessing the culmination of the unexpected moment when the nation decided that the most qualified person to be the President of the United States was a young, brilliant African and American man. It is as if the far future arrived ahead of schedule.
Of course, there are many more moments to remember. As this is to be my record for Casey, I'll add to it when new memories surface. In fact, I think I'll ask him for his additions--I'm quite sure he has his own.


barb cabot said...

Your thoughts so beautifully stated bring tears to my eyes. You write, "It is as if the far future arrived ahead of schedule." So true Jane. What a great gift in our lifetime. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Judith in Umbria said...

Well put, Jane. I do sympathize with Casey because I too get panicky when carried off my feet in crowds.
While I am sure many Afro-Americans came to DC, and I even saw a TV7 documentary interview with one here, since DC is almost 70% Afro-American they could have made it a hometown effort!
You will have been near to where I used to live on the river at the waterfront.

Anonymous said...

I react the same way as Casey also. It seems a natural instinct when you feel trapped. I hope he worked through it and enjoyed it all in the end. One day he will look back and be so thankful he was there :)

Sandra said...

What a moment you experienced! And thank you for allowing us to be part of it via your blog. We were glued to the TV, and Anthony was in tears most of time during the speech. Not to say, what a life experience for Casey.

Chiocciola said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes as well! I am glad the trip turned out to be everything you wanted it to be. And I am extremely impressed with the three Californians braving the cold!

nancyhol said...

What wonderful memories you have, Jane! For Casey, this could be a life-altering experience - in a good way, of course.

Thank you so much for sharing it all with us thru your blog.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be an American once again!!!

Mary said...

THANKS so very much for sharing your experience. Vicariously, while watching the events on TV, I was with you, so happy for you all, but especially for Casey.

I admire your spirit and resolve in offering him these first-hand, priceless memories. Hats off to you!


Anonymous said...

Jane, thank you so much for the sweet words you left for me. Hugs!