Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, The President of the United States

Okay, so we made the trip to Mount Vernon on Presidents Day. Call us crazy, it was freezing outside. Or call us cheap, it was free. We are trying to be better about getting out to do things, and not finding excuses, like, "Well, it is only about twenty degrees, maybe we shouldn't go." Mount Vernon is normally about $10 or $11, so it's not too bad, but we kind of wanted a trial run, before we decided to spend the money on a nice warm spring day, to enjoy the estate (It was the home of George and Martha Washington - amazing for it's time - amazing for today, actually). It turned out to be a great day. It is a beautiful estate, the weather wasn't too cold, and we didn't have to be outside in it for very long anyway. The mansion tour is inside, and they have a great new museum and educational center (which is very entertaining and educational) that just opened in November, which are both inside. Everything else was pretty much closed. There was a little walking involved, but it kept us warm, and actually reminded me that I sort of enjoy the winter time. I haven't been out in it for so long, I have forgotten that it really can be pretty - sunny, crisp, cool air, snow crunching under your feet, trees scratching the clear blue sky. It's so peaceful.
Anyway, the drive was just over an hour, and we had planned to get there at about 9:30, so that we could see George Washington "receiving birthday wishes" and hear him give a speech at 10:05. Well, that's what we thought. It wasn't that big of a deal to us, so when we didn't end up leaving until 8:30, we weren't too worried. As we got closer, we were surprised at the traffic (especially given the cold weather), and as we got even closer, we were even more surprised at the security. Well, the website, had said that "The President of the United States" would be giving a speech, and we thought that they meant George Washington, but we started wondering if they maybe meant the other GW, as in Bush. Since it was already 9:55, Dave hurried and dropped me and the kids off at the front and drove back a mile or two to park the car, and ran to catch up with us. I took the kids through the metal detectors, and walked briskly (I was carrying Owen and Evelynn was walking) up the hill. At this point, I was almost positive that George Bush was the President they were talking about, because people were running past me. Then when I reached the top of the hill, and I saw his three helicoptors, and recognized his voice speaking, I knew it was him. So, I went to get as close as I could, set the kids down, and kept one eye on them, and one eye on the camera to try to get a shot. He continued speaking for a minute, while I tried to guess which direction he would exit, and attempted to position myself to get a better picture. This is about three times as hard to do per child, I discovered. He ended up exiting out the back and being driven around to his helicopters behind us, so it was a wasted effort anyway. They closed the security screening just after I got there, so Dave didn't make it through, but he did get to come up and see the grand helicopter exit. So, there you have it. We got to see the President of the United States at the first President's home, on President's Day. Pretty cool. What did he talk about? I have no idea. I was obviously busy trying to get a good picture. And actually, I think he started speaking before 10:05, so I missed most of it anyway, but I'm sure it was something very inspirational.
There he is. The little guy, right up there at the microphone.
Here is George W. with wife Laura, some people I don't know, and if you look closely, you can see the tip of George Washington's hat. Apparently he was at the speech too. I didn't know until I looked at the pictures.
Here we are behind the mansion. This side has a gorgeous view of the Potomac River.
I saw these guys walking by, so we walked briskly to catch up with them, so Evie could wish the man on the right a Happy Birthday. He was very gracious, and thanked her, and then wispered to me, "I only wish I were him." I guess I don't know my Presidents, but it was exciting for Evie.
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