Sing-a-long in the Hay-Adams Bar: My Trip to the 2009 Inauguration
Hiking Up to Union Station

We'd arranged to meet Rachel up on Connecticut Ave., so we hiked up to Union Station to get the Red Line. After a half day of walking, I really felt the walk up the hill!

Hiking Up to Union Station - Cops on Bikes

Cops were on foot, in cars and also on bikes. I didn't see any cops on horses, but I'm sure they were there. The "Exit" sign was for the next day, to encourage people to walk up to Union Station to take the Metro after the Inauguration.

I haven't been to Union Station in years, and remembered one of the stores was a political memorabilia store. I wanted to stop up there and look around before we got on the Metro.

Union Station Blockade

However, the main entrances into the Union Station shopping area were completely blocked. There was probably an event going on in Union Station that night. We walked down to the side entrance and got in a huge line to get on the train to meet Rachel.

We had an odd moment of serendipity on the Metro (which had a record number of riders on Monday - something over 800,000). An older man in the left-hand seats started asking questions of some of the younger people nearby. They were looking at a map and talking about someone named Niki Saunders. It turned out the older man and the younger people lived in the same Congressional District. Suddenly, the woman sitting behind us piped up "Niki Saunders is my sister."

As she spoke, I realized I was mis-hearing the name. They were all saying "Niki Tsongas." They all had connections to Massachusetts. I told them I was from Massachusetts, and remembered Paul Tsongas, who'd been a Massachusetts Senator until he died in 1997.

Late Monday afternoon, we were going to the Rebirthing King, Rebirthing America service at All Souls Church, an old Unitarian church near the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Adams Morgan is very much like Cambridge or Manhattan - it's a tricky area to park in. We were also going to a friend of Jeff and Rachel's, who lived nearby for dinner. After about 20 minutes of driving around in a fruitless search for parking, we lucked into a free spot, roughly mid-way between the church service and the dinner.

The service was an interesting combination of short speeches on justice and Dr. King's legacy, music and responsive readings. I was particularly happy to hear Ysaye Barnwell perform, as the Bach Choir had sung some of her music at a concert last spring. The Festival Choir of All Souls Church was also excellent (and I'm usually critical of Unitarian choirs).

We had to leave a little after 7 to go to dinner; the service was only about half over. I'd met their friend Natalie once before. We sat and chatted politics all night. I'm horrible with names, but we had dinner with Natalie (a woman who does much volunteering for Washington organizations), her oldest friend who is a lawyer, and Natalie's cousins (one of whom was an art professor and another of whom was a writer). It was neat to learn that at least two of the people had worked with Eric Holder and both felt he'd be a terrific Attorney General. I told the folks at dinner the story about meeting all the people who had connections to Niki Tsongas on the Metro. One of the women at dinner started to laugh. "I had a summer home near their vacation home." Talk about it being a small world!

As most folks at the dinner had to get up early the next morning to go to the Inauguration, the party broke up around 10:30.

© 2009 Photos by Laurie D. T. Mann