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Friday, January 25, 2013


   Finally, the President gave us a speech that made good on his promise to move us forward.  To hear it live Francesca and I jumped on a jet and headed north last Saturday.   The three-day pep rally began with a plane filled with every sort of Obama fan.
   The West Grove family sitting next to us started with a group prayer for a safe flight. After "amen" I was introduced to Pinecrest's mayor and we chatted a bit.  Francesca and I spotted our mad-hatted congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, in first class and introduced ourselves.  She was wearing a dark red suit with smart looking Zorro hat.  
  Two hours after we landed we ran into her again at a Library of Congress party.  We were still looking just-got-off-the-flight frumpy but she was resplendent in her second outfit of the day, this brown number topped by this matching Bogart fedora.
  At these gatherings you find yourself talking to politicos quickly because, like rock stars, everybody wants their attention.  Our new, hatted friend, Frederica, was the exception.  The former elementary school principal took her time discussing gun control and public schools issues with us.
  On Monday we ran into her again while walking to the inauguration.  Frederica was stepping out of her M Street townhouse wearing a shocking red suit with matching cowboy hat.  Not even Lady Gaga was going to upstage her at the Big Show.
 But back to Saturday's party... the room was filled with our favorite South Florida politicians and their fans.   We had a nice chat with future President, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  The congresswoman -chair of the Democratic National Committee- could not have been nicer. 
     Our new congressman, Joe Garcia, was so happy to finally be in Washington. "It just took me six years", he grinned.   His aide later gave us much needed tickets to the inauguration.
      Two new friends, the Mississippi sisters, Debra and Eva.
Next to Joe, 29-year-old, Patrick Murphy, was surrounded by well wishers.  The youngest member of Congress made mincemeat out of the ultra-right representative, Alan West, in last November's election. Thank God young Patrick was able to oust that Tea Party nut case.
   As the party was winding down we wandered over to the older part of the Library, the Thomas Jefferson Building. 

We had never been inside the 1897 Italian Renaissance-style masterpiece.
  You first enter the Great Hall where the goddess Minerva stands watch. 
  On our way to the Main Reading Room we saw a 1480 Gutenberg Bible on display.  As you see here, the big room's domed ceiling soars 160 feet over the dozen readers below.  
The Main Reading Room
A guide told us the collection started off with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's 740 volume library, which now has its own room.  Presently, there are 15 million books, photographs, and other documents, enough to keep one busy for a very long time.

Note:  See it while you can.  Libraries are in great danger.  I just learned that here in Miami-Dade County, half of our public school libraries have been closed and turned into classrooms.  It will happen to my K-8 school next year. A sign of the times, I guess.
  As we were leaving the Library we visited its current Civil War exhibit.  It contained books, photos, maps, and one curious display.  On a small table were the contents of President Lincoln's pockets the night he died.
    After being shot in Ford's Theater, he was taken to a rooming house across the street.  A few hours later he was dead.  When his pockets were emptied the contents were given to his son, Tad. 
  Now, resting on a small brown table, was a five-inch pocket knife, two pairs of reading glasses, a lens cleaner, a pocket watch fob, and a tri-fold wallet containing a blue Confederate five-dollar bill.  Small things belonging to a great man.

("Inaugural Ball" will continue on Saturday)


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