Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Trip to DC

7/24/16 21:00 Home

A family trip to DC has been something we get excited for.  Over the years we have made the trip with Joe and Diana.  Once we made the trip with Phil and Jenn and their crew and our crew and Joe and Diana.  It may have been the first and the last that all of us could make a trip like that again.  Soon three kids will be in their twenties and they have their lives.  This weekend, Ali and I had planned a romantic weekend away from the kids, but that changed since we had one tag along.  With a very a good reason.  Bella is weaning off her epilepsy medicine and we did not want to leave her alone with Joe and Diana.  She may have an episode.  Her neurologist said it may be more likely when she is completely off her medicine.  In the last few weeks we have been weaning her off.  For a couple of years it was 7.5 ml every twelve hours and making sure she had a good night’s sleep.  It was is important, especially for an epileptic. 
I didn’t expect to write that much about Bella.  I wanted to share the long drive we encountered on Friday as we were crushed by the rush hour traffic and finally making it to the prestigious Mayflower hotel.  It is just blocks away or an eleven minute walk to the White House.   Before you assume I paid for this stay, pull back the judgement and listen. The hotel was an award from a raffle through AAA.  Yes, now you know someone who won a prize.  We were greeted at the door by a uniformed bell hop.  We unloaded the rental car and checked into the lobby.  Our room included parking and complimentary breakfast for two. 
The lobby was stellar, marble floors, gold leaf, intricate chandeliers, slight mood light softly lit from the tall ceiling.  This hotel has served presidents, has been the homes for our Vice Presidents and countless dignitaries, hey even Walt Disney stayed here.  Our room was on the eighth floor and there was a complimentary gift, fruit and imported water waiting for us.  There was a living room with a fireplace as well as a separate bedroom.  Ali and Bella took up residence the bedroom.  I pulled out the convertible.  I was beat and after one beer, I fell asleep quickly. 
The next morning, I meditated and went for a jog.  I passed the White House, and ran down hill to the mall.  There were not too many tourists out although it was already hot and humid and it was not even 8 AM.  Circled around the Washington Monument.  One day I’ll get in there and go up to the top.  I ran down to the Lincoln monument and paused the timer on the app since I wanted to take some pictures. It’s not every day that I get to climb the stairs to this incredible monument and take in the splendor of the faint yellow morning light which stretched across the clean floor.  I ran back to the hotel, past the World War II monument and should have taken it in, but I was hot and wanted to get back. 
After breakfast we took a taxi to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  I could have stayed in there for hours.  This is where the flag from the war of 1812, the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled banner.  There are artifacts which cover, media, innovation, science, war and the presidents.  In fact the last top hat that Lincoln wore on that fateful night at Ford’s theatre is on display.  We have been to this museum before, but we didn’t start on the first floor where there is a bright silver Tucker car.  Like I said, I could have been in there for hours. Having Bella with us was a sort of drag.  She’s thirteen going on eighteen.  She responded to most of my questions by rolling her eyes and it was plain to see she had enough of the museum.  She’s the sort of who keeps quiet, barely says a word.  She was bored.   
Anyway, we started to walk to the National portrait gallery.  After walking in the intense heat, through the crowded sidewalks, the strollers, the seniors who God bless them were shuffling, the water salesmen who pushed coolers from each corner and called out, “water…one dollar.” We took a taxi back to the hotel with the plan that we would relax in the cool luxury.  I took a nap.  Most of us took naps.
 We got up and walked down to the White House. 
I would highly recommend visiting the FDR memorial, MLK memorial as well as the Jefferson.  All are in close proximity, but make an effort to see them at night.  The light and sounds of each memorial will pull you into the moment.  On our previous trips to DC - the FDR has been peaceful.  Usually, there are less people who venture there.  Last night was very different.  There was a caravan of bikes with blinking lights and a leader who cut through the crowd, calling out or yelling about the administration of FDR.  I was ready to start swinging when he brought his wheeled crew to where Eleanor Roosevelt’s statue is.  She stands alone in a dim alcove.  She is around a corner and far away and the mighty water falls which crash into the boulders.  Bella stood next to the statue for a picture - more to appease us since she has stood there over the years.  What was more disturbing where the glowing phones and pads and lost minds of those who were playing a game rather than taking in the majesty of the monument.  So, this visit to FDR did not meet our expectations.  MLK was breathtaking and I walked along the edge and read all of his quotes regarding injustice and peace.  Imagine if he was running for President? After visiting the Jefferson, we drove back to the hotel.  I pulled out the convertible and made it my bed for another night. I am not complaining.  I had a local IPA, DC Brau.  It was a little hoppy and citrusy.  It hit the spot.  I enjoyed it before falling asleep and the one was enough for me. 
This morning we were up and planned to go to Baltimore to the Orioles.  The thought of driving seven hours after being outside under the sun was daunting.  We skipped the game.  The last stop before heading home was Fort Stevens which was one of the many forts protecting DC during the Civil War.  This is where Abraham Lincoln was shot at while he was visiting the troops there.  He is only the second sitting President to have been shot at during war.  James Madison was the first in the War of 1812.  The fort is in a poor section of DC.  The grass was over grown although it is part of the National Parks.  Beer bottles were scattered about and there were two plaques.  One to signify that a free African American woman’s home was demolished to make room for the fort.  The other was a plaque to signify that Lincoln was shot at.  There was no parking. There was an abandoned building and we parked close to it and walked in the tall grass.  Are you disappointed?  Yeah.  We drove home and made it back to Long Island in roughly 5 hours which included a couple of stops. 

Thank you for reading this.

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