Jim Brown singing and dancing in the DC rain
On Labor Day this year Jim and I left Nashville at 6:15 am to fly to Washington, DC. I was to attend a meeting of the National Fraternal Congress of America Thursday through Saturday. We flew up early in order to see some of the city. On a visit in 2000 we had seen the Smithsonian Zoological Park and taken a wonderful tour of Arlington National Cemetery and all of the war memorials at that time. In 2003 we had time to take an "illuminated tour" of the monuments and memorials. Now we were ready to see more. That first afternoon we toured the Smithsonian Postal Museum.
Tuesday morning we were to take a self-guided tour of the White House. Unfortunately, all tours for Tuesday were canceled. President Bush had flown from Texas back to the White House on Monday. Our tour was rescheduled for Wednesday morning, shortly after the president left for Louisiana to view the damage from Gustav. That left time for more sightseeing on Tuesday. We toured the National Museum of the American Indian and the Air and Space Museum. Since my husband is a retired Northwest Airlines employee, the latter museum was a must.
Wednesday morning we took the White House tour. As we were leaving the building we talked with a very nice young man with the Secret Service. His last name was Sells, and he was from Murfreesboro. It's always good to meet someone from home, or almost home. That afternoon we visited with Congressman Bart Gordon in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. Ashley Hultman of his staff took us on a tour of the U. S. Capitol. It proved to be even more splendid than I expected. The statues, paintings, etc., are certainly impressive. However, I still think the Congressmen should have desks in the House Chamber.
Thursday my meeting started, so that stopped our touring. As part of the conference we visited Congressman Gordon again and also paid calls to staff in the offices of Tennessee's U. S. Senators. Unlike the president, both Senator Alexander and Senator Corker had gone to the republican convention. I had known both of them during those 43 years I worked at the Tennessee State Capitol.
We still had not seen the World War II Memorial; nor had we taken a picture of the White House. When we toured the White House, we were not allowed to take anything with us except a wallet and cell phone. (Jim couldn't get over the fact that he couldn't take a comb, much less a camera.)
Saturday afternoon I played hooky from my workshops, and we went to see the World War II Memorial and the outside of the White House. There was a small problem. Unlike the first days of the week, it was not 85 degrees and sunny. Hanna had moved into the city, and it was raining. It was actually pouring. We bought ponchos and took off. Although we rode the Metro, the afternoon consisted of a great deal of walking. Jim got this urge to sing in the rain. Gene Kelly he is not. He may be James Brown, but he is not the Godfather of Soul. However, there weren't many other people crazy enough to be out in that rain to see and hear. When we got back to our hotel room we were soaked. Even our shoes were soggy, but we had a great time.
I always like to leave an area with a desire to go back again and see more. That is the case with Washington. We still want to go up in the Washington Monument, visit Arlington again (there's my love for cemeteries), and I want to spend hours in the DAR Library (looking up dead people). There are other Smithsonians too. Hopefully we'll have another opportunity.