So I was pumped – pumped – to head north to Washington to run in Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon. D.C. worshippers told me I’d love it: the trees, the colors, the fall temps, the sights. The race was secondary. Awesome, I said.
Once here, I found those worshippers to be spot-on right. D.C. had never been more picturesque. A nice assistant in U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers’ office in the Cannon House Building gave my family a fabulous tour of the Capitol. My favorite part was looking out from the podium of the House chambers and seeing that Moses is one of the 23 bas-relief sculptures of historical leaders that adorn the chamber walls. Among them are Suleiman the Magnificent, Napoleon I, Thomas Jefferson and William Blackstone. Moses’ face is strategically placed.
When the president makes his State of the Union speech, he stares at Moses.
I spent some time with a few protestors in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. When I approached an odd woman in a tent, she showed me pictures of babies mangled by bombs and kept shouting, “Bloody Netanyahu! Bloody Netanyahu!” Nearby, another protestor, who was much more pleasant, held an Israeli flag, wore an Uncle Sam hat and talked about God.
Sunday, breezy and cool, came and went. Things went as good as could be expected.
Then Monday came.
Hurricane Sandy arrived, FedEx-like, right on time. Airlines cancelled planes. Amtrak cancelled trains. Greyhound cancelled buses. Taxis were few. Car rentals were open, if you could get there. Stores closed. Early voting for the presidential election was halted. The federal government shut down. (The Supreme Court didn’t, by the way.)
Washington was a ghost town, like McClellan at night. Streets and avenues like Constitution and Madison were stripped of their traffic. How’s this for brazen: Driving an overpriced Hertz rental, I took a wrong turn and ended up in front of the Capitol building. So I u-turned it in front of the Capitol building and headed for the Hilton.
I’m from Alabama. Cut me some slack.
Stranded in Washington, with thousands of other people, including a gaggle from Calhoun County who, like me, were here for the race. Since I made it back to the hotel, and with no other options, my family has headed south.
We saw D.C. We met Sandy.
And Sandy won.