It was the end of 2009, almost the end of President Obama’s first year when I suggested to three of my co-workers that we should do a weekend in Washington, D.C. after our firm’s Christmas Party in Chesapeake. I looked into a hotel near the Capital and the price of a trolley tour and gave my co-workers the bottom line for each of them. Everyone was in. None of us had been to Washington, D.C. I, for one, had lived in North Carolina for ten years and had been as far as the Trader Joes in Arlington, but never went the five minutes up the road to put eyes on the Capital.
It was significant for all of us, each in our own way. We had all been supporters of Obama. Shelia and I started in 2007 by joining a MeetUp group, Triangle for Obama, and saw him during the campaign season at North Carolina Central University. Halima, who worked with us, was a registered Republican, at the time of the campaign. I don’t remember when she changed parties, but we take credit for her becoming a Democrat, although, I think it was her crush on Joe Biden that did it. She and Alex, her son, actually went and saw the Vice President during the campaign at Meredith College. Dana worked in our corporate office. She and I had struck up a conversation one day and began sharing news reports, articles and opinions on a regular basis. When Obama won the election, I invited her to stay at Evansridge for the Inaugural. It was during this time that we found we had not only politics in common, but a love of book and sports.
We left our Christmas Party to drop off Dana’s car back at the firm’s parking lot before heading to D.C. We got turned around once, but once we got on the right freeway, I will never forget entering the Capitol at night. At night and before Christmas. The whole town was lit up for the holidays, but it seemed to be lit up just for us.
I had booked rooms at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown, D.C. It was perfectly placed, near the museums and the Capital. For me, the best part was that the hotel was connected to a Starbucks. We paid for a parking pass and that turned about to be good move, so we could secure Halima’s vehicle and walk if we wanted.
I had recommended we take the Trolley Tour only because my parents had taken me on one in St. Augustine and I enjoyed it tremendously. Since we had only one full day to tour the city, I thought it better to take the trolley, find out which monuments or museums we wanted to see. What we didn’t plan for, was how cold it was going to be. It was after all, the second weekend in December. First order of business was breakfast, and I wanted to go to this historic restaurant, but once we found it, it didn’t open until almost noon, so we went back to the hotel and found that the hotel restaurant had a great breakfast. Even I, who is fine with Starbucks coffee and a croissant was pleasantly surprised at the savory breakfast we had.
We headed out to the American Indian Museum to wait for the Trolley, only to find we had positioned ourselves in the wrong location. Luckily, the driver picked us up and advised that we wait in front of the Science and Space Museum in the future. We did not care, we were on the Trolley and off on the grand tour of one of most historic and exciting cities in this Nation.
To be continued…