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.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What It's Like

At the Rehearsal

What a place to be right now—there is a sense of the surreal no matter where you are or what you are doing. Even in a crowd of strangers at a concert, in a museum, on the metro, wherever, there is a sense of oneness and common purpose and excitement. You talk to strangers, share stories and find an amazing abundance of patience at times when patience would not be the expected. Crowds are considerate and joyful.

Yesterday we spent the morning at the newly reopened American History Museum which is huge and outstanding. We only took in a small portion of it before we were tired of looking and absorbing. I was surprised to see Michelle’s photograph at the end of the long line of first lady portraits.

And Obama has been added to the display of presidents. It seemed like jumping the gun but I guess there wouldn’t be time to do it correctly at 12 pm tomorrow. It was fun to see them there already.

From there we walked down the mall to the We Are One concert with that incredible convergence of talent celebrating the change to come. We didn’t get even close to the Lincoln Memorial but were part of the incredible crowd filling the mall space, straining to see the jumbotron screens. Unfortunately every time we found a line of vision for Casey someone would move in front of him. Eventually we decided to return to the hotel and watch it on TV here—also we needed to get back in time to get ready for the big dinner party with 15 Slow Travel friends.

The dinner was a great evening. Years ago when Slow Travel began, Dean was a moderator for the site and its resident wine expert. Eventually he indulged his complex knowledge and his appreciation of Italian cuisine by opening his restaurant DINO here in D.C. And that is the mecca to which we traveled last night. Many of us had met before at various gatherings and others we were meeting for the first time but as always there was no disappointment when getting together with like-minded people. It is always just a fun, special time. The food was reminiscent of our meals in Italy—burrata flown in from Puglia, grilled orata, gelato with balsamic. Yummy, all.

Dean, Eden, Manny

Today was sort of kick back and recovery—or at least that was our plan. We planned to go to the International Spy Museum (which is quite interesting) and then head on down to our congressman’s office in the Longworth building to pick up our ceremony tickets. Sounds simple? Yes. But, when 240,000 people are picking up tickets at the same time and everyone needs to pass through security before getting into the buildings, there is only one result---long lines. We were in line for 1 hour and 40 minutes before entering the building and then it took 5 minutes to get the tickets once in. For a well planned event, this part was lacking something.

But, as with so many things, there was a silver lining. Casey noticed a camera crew from San Diego and so asked if they would talk with him—which they did. He was interviewed and, if all goes as it is supposed to, will be on the 10 o’clock news back home tonight. Uncle Jeff will tape it for posterity.

So—tonight we are going to dinner and to bed early as the word is that getting to the ceremony area early is important. Again security will need to be cleared which is very cumbersome when everyone is burdened with scarves, coats, hats, gloves, etc. And then we will stand for hours before things actually begin. Fun!?

Speaking of security, even here at the hotel, there seems to be security personnel for every 100 people. In order to enter the elevators we need to show our room key before we are allowed into the area.

So these are days of unique experiences—forever etched into our memories.


nancyhol said...

Jane, I am so excited for you guys! What a great experience!

Keep those reports coming!

jan said...

I SO appreciate you and your blogging energy. What a thrill! Thinking of you constantly!


Anonymous said...

Jane, thank you so much for this great on the spot description of what it going on, what it feels like. I'm reading your report while the tv is on right next to me. It's 6:41 a.m. inaugural day and I'm glued to all that is happening. I'm reading your words then glancing at the millions waiting for the ceremonies to begin. This is momentous and I am thrilled to know you are there with Ken and Casey. I cannot believe what a privilege and a gift you have given to your grandson. This is a memory that he will have for his whole life. Thanks for this post. I'm there with you in spirit.
Barb Cabot

Melissa Keith said...

What a great time you are having! PLEASE post a link to Casey's TV interview when you can.