Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And happy Inauguration Day! Woo-hoo!

I wrote this entry earlier, but couldn't post it until now. It's been such an interesting day.

Our park inauguration party started before 8 a.m We watched CNN and BBC and even, briefly, FOX news, and we talked about the occasion, whether we might get CNN on line - or anything online - whether everybody had enough Kleenex. It's almost time, now. We're watching the ex-Presidents, ex-VPs etc., mount the platform. Now Laura Bush is up, and the Obama children, along with their grandmother. Aretha Franklin has arrived. She will sing 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee'. Bush is there now, and Michelle Obama. Our little outdoor tv room (three walls) is full to bursting. I didn't even bother trying to sit in there. I've got my canvas chair, and I'm sitting just outside, trying in vain to get an internet connection. Now I'm beginning to regret my choice, as the overcast sky clears, the sun comes out, and I'm starting to burn. Never mind. I'll have lots of time to get over it. Michelle Obama is carrying the Lincoln bible. Obama has arrived now, not smiling, looking very solemn, in fact. In contrast, Joe Biden is glad-handing his way down the stairs. Now Obama has been formally announced, and he's finally smiling. The band has played Hail to the Chief for Bush, for the last time.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is speaking now. Every couple of minutes, the camera shows the crowd - When Obama was announced, flags flew everywhere. Feinstein is talking about the historic significance of this inauguration. Rick Warren is about to give the invocation. One of the women in our group has come out as a Warren fan. I just hope this doesn't last too long.

Oy. It lasted forever, but it's over. Now it's Aretha's turn. I wish she hadn't sung 'My Coun. Try 'tis of Thee', but I guess that would be asking too much. One good thing - between Warren's fundy mush and Aretha's overblown singing, my emotional state has leveled out a bit.

Okay. Now it gets good. Biden is taking his oath. He seems downright jolly. Done. He's going back to glad-handing now.

Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero are playing "Air and Simple Gifts" by John Williams. Beautiful. Obama thinks so, too. He's looking wistful.

It is past noon, so Barack Obama is officially President of the United States, even without having taken the Oath of Office., Hallelujah!

Oh, boy. Here we go. Oh, no! Flubbed the oath, they did. I don't know whose fault it was - but it doesn't matter. Happy happy. Tears and applause, all around. (It turned out the flub wasn't Obama's. He took it very well.)

The inaugural address is stirring. We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again, he says. You know what's great? We're all listening. Our faces are turned toward the television set, and we are listening to what the President of the United States is saying. Voluntarily.

Holy cow. He even mentioned non-believers! (Heh. Who was counting god references, though? There were lots.)

Elizabeth Alexander is Pres. Obama's choice of poet. I'm not familiar with her - but I will be. Praise Song for the Dead? The Day? Poor woman - the inaugural address is a hard act to follow. I'll try to find her poem later, if I can figure out the name.

Dr. Lowery - the benediction. Folksy. Funny, at times.

It's over. Pres. Obama is taking Bush to a helicopter. Good-bye. Good riddance. That's me talking, not Pres. Obama. He's much nicer than I am.

The newscaster is saying that within 48 hours we will see the signing of an Executive Order closing Guantanamo. Can that be true?


Over the next hour and a half, I wandered in and out of the tv area. I figured if the President could go have lunch, so could I. I got back in time to hear his speech at the luncheon, hear about Sen. Kennedy's collapse - or Sens. Kennedy and Byrd, depending on who you believe. Shortly thereafter, the tv went out. Power was out all over the park. I walked downtown, figuring I would come to ChocoBanana, have a cool drink, use their internet, see if I could get CNN. Silly me. Power is out all over the town. I know there's road work going on, on the main road, so either they've chopped through a power line, or maybe they've turned the power off while they do something, and it will come back on shortly. That would be good. I've asked ChocoBanana to make me a chocolate ice cream soda. The waiter looked at me funny, but he's going to make the attempt. They serve root beer floats here, and a chocolate ice cream soda isn't that much of a stretch. I'm hoping for the best. Oh my goodness. It has arrived. It looks like a chocolate ice cream soda. It IS a chocolate ice cream soda! Oh, happy day.

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