Sunday, my son and I took a short ride to Washington D.C. He was home for the holiday weekend and we both thought it might be nice to spend some quality time together, taking in the sights and sounds of Memorial Day weekend in the Nation’s Capital. I say sounds because every year, hundreds of thousands of motorcycles with riders from all over the Country, many of them vets, roll in a rather impressive procession starting from a parking lot of the Pentagon, riding through the streets encircling the Mall along Constitution Avenue, circling past the Capitol Building, and finishing the ride at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for services and some good old-fashioned rousing speeches. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event. There were nearly 400,000 riders from every State of the Union. The procession of motorcycles lasted nearly 5 hours, starting at 12 noon, and finishing up around 5 pm as we left.
Crossing the street to enter the walkways of the Mall took some dodging skill, as the endless line of hundreds of thousands of motorcycles created a bit of a challenge. The following picture was taken at the corner of Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. You can see the rear side of the National Gallery of Art in the background. Also, if you’re really bored with nothing else to do, or if you just like the sounds of motorcycles, you can view a quick video taken at the same spot.
It was a scorcher of a day, with highs hitting about 93 degrees (nearly 34 degrees C for my Fahrenheit challenged friends), so we took some refuge on our walk into the National Gallery of Art, a most favorite place of mine. We took in some DaVinci, Rafael, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, and a lot of other outstanding art (subject of a future post), not to mention a bit of air-conditioning, before heading back out past the Washington Monument on our westward trek to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.
But I digress. I don’t want this post to turn into some sight-seeing, guided tour of D.C. Not on this day for sure…
Reflections of the Day
Upon arriving at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, you could feel the mood slowly transforming, far more somber than anywhere else along the Mall. The most famous feature of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the Wall, shaped in a V, increasing in height as you approach the apex, all made with black granite, polished to a high luster that creates a mirror-like perfect reflection. The wall is etched with the name of each soldier carved into the granite who died in the war. The effect of viewing the names, which seem to float in the air as the reflection of yourself and others appear behind, no matter where you move about is quite powerful.
As I looked at all the names, I was struck with the sheer number – over 58,000, each a young man or young woman more or less the age of my son standing next to me. I knew a few myself; friends who never made it home to live out their lives alongside the rest of us. Then upon further reflection, I began to wonder with each name I see – how many wives or husbands left behind? How many children? How many parents? How many friends? Suddenly the number mushrooms. As if the sheer numbers alone were not daunting, the visit today reminded me of another factor – time. Here it is 40 to 50 years later, and the collective sadness and memory has not subsided with so many of those losses. For many, the grief is still as raw today as it was so many years ago in a world so very different than today:
We who are left how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?
~Wilfred Wilson Gibson~
There is so much going on in my world this week; a confluence of milestones and events, it makes my mind spin. By the time this post will hit the ether of the Internet, Thursday, the 10th of May will mark 32 years since I said, “I do!” to my lovely bride. I will try not to wax too sentimental, but I cannot believe how quickly the time passes when you spend it surrounded with ones you adore. As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, my son graduates this weekend. Friday will be the main commencement address, and the keynote speaker will be Michelle Obama. Saturday is the college specific ceremony when my son will actually be given his diploma. And let’s not forget that Sunday is Mother’s Day. Whew!
Yes dear readers, I’m afraid I won’t be around much till next week. I’ll be too busy with a marathon of parties and soirees that will steal me from writing much here. When I return, I’ll need you all to promise me you’ll make me refrain from boring you to death with all the details.
While I’m gone, please feel free to wander about the Random Thoughts home, eat whatever is in the fridge, pour whatever you want from the bar, and have fun with each other in the comments section. I’ll be missing you all.
To all the mothers out there who have labored tirelessly in your role, please accept my sentiments for a most Happy Mother’s Day. Take a well deserved bow for all the work you’ve done.
To my wife – we danced to this song 32 years ago, and the lyric still holds true to the core. “I’ll always love you – forever.”
It’s Mardi Gras once again. Fat Tuesday, the official finale in festive and inebriated manner of the Carnival season – one last day of reckless, wanton behavior before everyone gets all spiritual on Ash Wednesday, the official start of lenten abstinence. Yes, whoop it up one last time, and whoop it up good!
As a public service announcement, since so many of you may be imbibing in excess, I thought I’d pass along some helpful information dealing with the morning after. See, you may not remember much the following day, after a long night of whoop ass drinking and carousing er… festivities. When you do finally awaken from that drunken stupor and, if you believe you’ve gone to church to get your ashes, just make sure the markings look something like this:
And not like this:
Enjoy the festivities!
I have returned from a most restful and peaceful holiday getaway. Of course, the irony is not lost with my previous post, which proclaimed “I’m back!”, whereupon I then immediately proceeded to disappear from it all. While I certainly needed and enjoyed a semi-comatose uneventful existence in a tropical setting, it was refreshing only in a way a good nap or night’s sleep may be. Naps and sleep are necessary, but now I’m awake, refreshed, and full of energy, looking to do something that will stimulate my incessant curiosity. There are places to go, people to meet, things to discover. And that, my dear readers, is where you have an opportunity to stimulate me. (I can only imagine what the google search engines will do to direct spam my way with that last sentence)
So… if you were me, what kind of things would you plan to do in this very young, new year so full of hope and promise? Where would you go? What would you see? What would you want to do or accomplish? And most importantly – Why?
I’ll leave it to you dear readers (that is if I have any left after my prompt disappearance) to give me some interesting vacation and touristy ideas to ponder and stimulate my imagination. Who knows, I might wind up with a few holiday getaways I could never have imagined myself, and that’s what seems so delicious about it all.
I thank you all in advance for your thoughts – random ones of course…
Er… um… well… sort of anyway.
I’ll be brief. I’ve been out of town the past several weeks on some pressing business matters. I am exhausted, the paperwork is sky high in my office, my social calendar is completely filled with holiday parties, and my wife and I are hosting one next week as well. She has been diligently working all by herself to prepare for our holiday dinner party without my help, since I was out of town. There are Christmas lights that need to be strung outdoors, a home to prepare, errands to run, menus to plan, and a number of other things I need to do to ensure I stay out of the dog-house with my wife, not to mention that awful pile of paperwork awaiting me in the office. In other words, I’ll be rather busy and rather scarce around these parts the next few weeks.
I did however feel the need to update my blog. I was feeling rather self-conscious of that portrait of me on the screen from the last post staring back whenever I came here. Since I don’t have much time to write, I thought I’d put everyone in the holiday mood with (you should know me by now) something musical that is just a little bit off the beaten path. I hope you enjoy it.
To all my friends and followers, I truly wish you all the very best this festive holiday season. Peace.
This time of the year is always hectic for me under the most normal of circumstances. Take a combination of my normal workload in the field of Finance, combine it with my favorite hobby/avocation of coaching High School basketball, add in the Winter Holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas looming ahead, and voila! Overload. I’ve been out of town on unplanned business matters the past week and have just returned from my travels (memo to self: do NOT travel ever again on Thanksgiving week!) to an office piled high with paperwork needing my attention; all before I return to my home and my wife, both in high need of
some lots of attention before dozens of guests show up for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Crazy week for sure!
So dear followers… if you’ve missed me, I apologize for the inconvenience; it isn’t because I don’t love you all. I’m just a little crammed for time. I’ll catch up with my reading and comments after I resurface from the food coma that is Thanksgiving dinner in our home. I’ve much catching up to do! Meantime, I hope you all don’t mind if I take five from my WordPress duties…
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five
Wishing all my American friends a most Happy Thanksgiving Holiday, and all my other friends a splendid Thursday.
I will be away these next few days, so I will not be around to ponder and blog about any random thoughts, nor will I have time to do what I truly enjoy most around here – comment on all your wonderful blogs I enjoy reading so very much. So if you are wondering why this Bill-The-Cat character hasn’t dropped in and poked you with a snarky comment or two, it is not because I don’t love you anymore. I’ll just be busy for a few days.
If you should become bored or are in search of something interesting to read, I urge you all to look at the sidebar to the right and click on a few “Blogroll” sites I have so much fun visiting. You’ll be glad you did.
I promise to catch up reading you all when I return. Have a terrific weekend everyone!