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Saturday, January 26, 2013


    This week's presidential inauguration was filled with feel-good moments.  On Sunday morning I borrowed a bike and rode to all my favorite DC spots.  At every one strangers greeted each other with the joy of the occasion.

On the Capitol's west lawn thousands of chairs waited for Monday's inauguration guests.
I pedaled down the mall where Francesca, I, and 800,000 other friends would be standing to witness the beginning of the 44th president's new term.   

The Washington Monument was surrounded by and eight-foot fence due to last year's earthquake. 
  These geese flew right over it.

   There's a huge hole on the north side of the monument.  They are building the National Museum of African-American History there.  It will open in 2015.

The long weekend honored Dr. King and many
were visiting his memorial. 
It stands like a mountain  transformed.
 Just south of the MLK Memorial is FDR's House of Many Rooms.   The red granite memorial is a series of patios (they call them"rooms") connected by time and flowing water.  Each is dedicated to to a phase of President Roosevelt's 12 years in office.
   It was designed by Lawrence Halprin, a friend of Francesca's dad.  Both were landscape architects in Berkeley.

  Carved into the wall, behind a statue of the president who could not walk, were a few words from his wife,

"Illness gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons... Infinite patience and never-ending persistence"...Eleanor Roosevelt

From the Depression years...

His wife, Eleanor, accomplished many great things as well.  
Fifty years ago I was visiting my Uncle Nelson in Rhode Island.  He told me he would be giving the former first lady a tour of his marine lab and asked if I'd like to meet her. "Oh no", I said, "I'm much too shy for that!".
   He went next door to meet with Mrs. Roosevelt and I watched  from behind a tree.

I pedaled over to Pennsylvania Avenue.  Workers were uprooting stop lights for Monday's Inauguration parade.

As I rounded the Lincoln Memorial a thundering motorcade passed by.  I asked a police officer, "Who's that?" . 

 "White flag, four stars, that's the Vice President".

Heading a hundred yards further I visited an old friend at the Vietnam Memorial.  His name is carved along with 55,000 others in dark stone.
Bucky Gierman and I were fraternity brothers at the University of Florida.  When his grades fell in '68 he got drafted.  In April, 1969, he was killed in combat.  They said he had to carry a radio on his back  and the long antennae made him an easy target.

I rode back to the Capitol Hill apartment where Francesca's  son, Ruy, and his best friend, Meagan,  live.  

The four of us hiked to the Hirshhorn to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit.  Along the way we heard James Taylor practicing "America the Beautiful" near the Capitol steps. 

  We ran into Miami friends at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Blanca, Jonathan, and their daughter, Leah, were as excited as we were to be there.

  There is always something new to do in our nation's capitol.

  Despite being a crafty guy, I had never been to the Smithsonian's craft museum. The Renwick Gallery is a beautiful, old mansion cati-corner to the White House.  The main exhibit, "40 x 40", was forty pieces created by artists under forty.

This room was knit bombed big time.

Even the guy in bed got hit.

A 3-piece romper set
made from Kevlar

  "Game Fish", toys and game pieces glued to a large Florida fish

The evolution of military knitting needles
through the history of modern warfare


"Ghost Clock" carved from one piece on laminated mahogany (yes, even the sheet).  And finally,  The
Enlightenment Room...

There was a long line of people waiting to have life's truths revealed.


Each person exited with a slight smile  and seemed to be walking a little above the floor.

While I had my five minutes, I was not enlightened until the following day.

                                              (Inauguration, Part III,  The Final Chapter manana)


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