Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thoughts on My Latest Trip

Inside the Washington National Cathedral
The holiday season, in case you haven't noticed, is upon us.

Just in case you missed all the Black Friday / Cyber Monday / Countdown-of-Shopping-Days-Until-Christmas hype.

Just in case you missed the Christmas decorations going up all over the place.

Yup, just in case you've recently landed on this part of the planet and had no clue as to what all the fuss is about.

Truth be told, I don't really get my knickers in a twist over all the hype. It is what it is and hey, those companies do need to make a buck. Employees need to be paid and this time of year is make or break for some companies. Have a bad holiday season and those employees may be looking for work after the holidays. Not good.

So you'll not hear a lot of ranting and raving
 about that from me.

I'm just back from a very nice five days down in the DC area. Spent some quality time with The Missus Herself, The Nuke, The Sea Lawyer (see here), Bear and Kodi. (Those last two are not italicized because those are their real names, there's a picture of those two canines at that link.)

We went to Mount Vernon the day after Thanksgiving. I have to tell you, pausing for a few moments at the tomb of the General (and President, though he preferred the former title) with cap in hand was, in a word, humbling.

The Father of his country, the first Commander-in-Chief, George Washington has always been someone I deeply respect.

The view from the Washington's back porch.

George, Martha and the grandkids.*

You read about the Washington's in the history books, forgetting sometimes that they were real people, not just historic icons. Visiting their home makes this clear in a number of ways. From all I know of Martha Washington, she must have been a great "Skipper's Wife." Folks in Naval Aviation know what that means. Suffice to say, she was a woman who cared about her husband and the men who served under him.

I'll have more stories from DC in the near future. For those who just have to see pictures from Udvar-Hazy right now, head on over to Lagniappe's Lair. Pay no attention to that geezer in the opening photo of that link, he's a nice guy just cranky due to a lack of sleep. Stayed up way too late Saturday night and got up way too early Sunday morning, but it was well worth it, Murphy's Law and I had a great time, we plan to do it again, real soon! With any luck we can drag Old NFO and Big Time along next time.

* The sculptures make you feel that way. Two grandparents enjoying life and their little ones, a feeling I know well. I certainly don't mean any disrespect to the very first First Family.


  1. Jefferson's Monticello evokes similar feelings in me. If you haven't been, you should. Great feeling of history there. And as a budding woodworker, I got a kick out of the DIY clock he made in the hallway. Had to cut a hole in the floor as he mismeasured. Well, if Jefferson can screw up a project, who am I to complain about my little (sometimes not little) mistakes?
    Glad you had a good time.

    1. I broached the topic of Monticello when we were down in Alexandria. The Nuke pointed out that it was over a two hour drive from her place to there. So that idea wasn't really practical for such a short visit with a holiday smack dab in the middle. But someday I want to make that trip. Jefferson was an interesting man.

      I think I remember hearing about that clock, great story.

  2. Navy Regulations require that any Navy ship passing Mount Vernon must stop her engines, man the rail, and toll her bell in mourning. I don't think the current crowd has managed to debase that yet.

    We also render honors to USS Arizona when passing.


    1. Tradition, something my own service tends to either ignore or not understand. More's the pity.

      Tradition is what connects us to those who went before.

      I knew about rendering honors to USS Arizona, I did not know about Mount Vernon. That's awesome.

    2. As always I follow Juvat's lead.

  3. Glad you enjoyed your excursion, Sarge. Most days I'm glad to live so far from civilization, but there are times...

    Even out in the sticks we get to see some pretty interesting hairpanes from time to time. The EJE Ranch is geographically wrapped around the local municipal airport where I sometimes serve as greeter. It's a favorite stop for transient warbirds; gas prices are right and it's a quick in and out. Yesterday as I was feeding hay a Valmet-built Magister did a touch and go followed by a stop for go juice. KIBM is no Udvar-Hazy, but the price is right and the crowds are, uh, light. https://www.facebook.com/shaun.evertson/posts/10204420279821188

    1. Great photos PA! I have loved the Magister since the first time I saw one (which was in the movie Jesus Christ Superstar).

      Love that V-tail!

      Looked up the Magister and found that the Fouga CM.175 Zéphyr was a carrier capable version for the French Navy.

      I learn something new every day!

  4. I go there often. It's a nice place and a nice and friendly tour and then they turn you loose to wander down to the river and the General's final resting place. Josie and I ignore the signs that say, "Stay off the Beach". They face the wrong way anyway. It is a pity that he had no children of his own. The nation offered him a crown and he refused it. They are larger than life but I would have liked to be there with Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton and the others. That would an interesting Thanksgiving meal.

    1. When I got to the Washington's final resting place I could think of nothing other that to remove my hat and stand silently for some time. It was rather cold that day with a sharp wind coming off the Potomac but time stood still for just those few moments.

      What's best of all? My wife, daughter and daughter's boyfriend all understood my purpose and stood waiting patiently until I was done. They get it.

  5. Didja get a snap of the gargoyle of Darth Vader?

    1. No I didn't. Until your comment I did not know of that gargoyle. But that explains the Darth Vader head in the Cathedral gift shop. That threw me at first, now it makes perfect sense.

      Again, I learn something.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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