Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Of Thee I sing

So many museums, so little time.

It would take a few years of museum-mania to see everything in Washington D.C.
Every visit, I attempt to establish a "game-plan". Then every visit, I get side-tracked and scrap my elaborate plans. Today's plan was to give the Museum of American History a quick tour and then head immediately to the National Gallery to whittle away the afternoon. Well, I got sucked into American History. Really. It caught me by the foot and wouldn't let go of me.

While I was captive, I made the best of it. I STOOD INCHES from General George Washington's full military uniform. INCHES. I could see the threads on the gold and blue worsted wool, and notice the dull glow of his burnished brass buttons. Buttons, I might add, THAT HE TOUCHED. This thrills me to my toes; I think it should do the same for anyone.

Thomas Jefferson had a little portable lap-desk; sort of a prehistoric lap-top computer, if you will. He designed it himself, of course. It has a stick to prop up the wooden lid and a clever sliding drawer for his ink-pot and quill pens. (Thomas Jefferson was a clever man.) He bequeathed it to his granddaughter as a wedding gift, as the one he ordered for her (no, not online...) happened to SINK, along with the ship that was delivering it. (the early American version of a lost UPS package...) Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on this quaint desk, along with other staggeringly significant documents that changed history. I was more than remotely interested in seeing it with my own eyes.
Just as I was making a stealthy get-away from this place, something in the lobby stopped me in my tracks: a vast Old Glory, cloaking the wall. What was this? Only the very stars-and-stripes that draped the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks, that's all. Soot and dust still clung to the cloth, proof of the drama that gripped the world that fateful day. All at once, my heart swelled with patriotism and pride to stand before such a thing.

Museums are wonderous places that make my heart sing.

And that, my dear reader, was only my morning.
Tomorrow, I will sing to you all about the Library of Congress, just about one of my favorite places IN THE WORLD. (I hear you laughing, Friend #12, at my wild ranting...)


Blogger eyestotheeast said...

I like your "wild ranting" - it means you are enjoying yourself =)

9:25 PM  

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