A funny thing happened while in DC

*Photo that I took on the National Mall just after sunrise on January 20, 2013. Published at Jay Bookman’s blog on ajc.com with my permission.

On January 20, 2013, I was in the crowd of hundreds of thousands to watch the swearing-in of our 44th president for his second term.  It wasn’t just a trip for me though as the entire Brosephus family was there.  At that time, there were three of us, with one on the way.  In addition to the three, we were accompanied by my daughter’s two “babies” which most people would recognize as Cabbage Patch dolls.  At that point and time, the littlest Brosephus did not go anywhere without her babies, not even to the bathroom.  The trip was a reward for my then 4-year-old who had very diligently followed the presidential election the previous fall.

Her Pre-K class had several lessons and activities surrounding both candidates for president.  By the time September rolled around, my daughter could tell you who Romney was and what he liked and the same for Obama.  If she saw either one on tv, she would begin to rattle off different facts about them that she learned in class.  It was because of that interest that the wife and I set the plans for the trip in October to go regardless to who won the election.

We arrived in DC a few days before the big event.  We acted like tourists, taking in all the sights we could.  We also connected with family while we were in the area.  The entire time, the entourage consisted of the three living as well as the two babies.  Then came Monday, the actual date of the inauguration.

That morning, we all got up around 4:30 am and got prepared to head down to the National Mall and join in with the thousands of others who had the same plan.  We packed a bag for snacks and water for the trip, and we made sure we had the cameras and stuff to record this event.  As we got ready to leave, my wife noticed that the little one didn’t have her babies.  The wife asked her, “Are you going to bring your babies?”  The little one responded, “No, they don’t want to go.”  For a 4-year-old, she was quite adept at communicating the wishes of her babies to the two of us since we didn’t always understand them.  After that answer, my wife and I both looked at each other and wondered how long would we have to listen to her crying about missing her babies.  Anyway, since she was at the door empty-handed, we took that as a sign that she knew what she wanted, and we left the room and started off for the Metro to get to the Mall.

We arrived at the Mall early enough to pick a prime spot, but we settled on standing in the middle of the Mall so we’d be close to the Metro station when it was time to leave.  We had a big TV screen right in front of us, so we wouldn’t miss out on anything at all.  My cousin and his family met up with us, and we had quite a ball that morning.  There were American flags passed out before things started, and every time there was a reason to cheer, you’d see a sea of flags waving over the entire Mall.  My daughter was having fun waving her flag and cheering as well.  At times, I put her up on my shoulders so she could better see everything.

Now, she was born a few months before Obama was first elected.  Before that election in 2009, my wife received a birthday card with Obama’s face on it.  After her birthday, we left the card up on the fireplace mantel, because it was a pretty funny card.  For some reason, my daughter took to that card quite well.  If we changed her diaper within sight of that card, she would look at it and coo until the cows came home.  As she grew up, the fascination with Obama didn’t go away.  After she began to talk, she recognized him as “Buddy” because my wife and I would both say, “There’s your buddy” anytime she saw him.

So, we’ve enjoyed watching “Buddy” get inaugurated for the second time, and things are over.  We go back towards the Metro station, which gets shut down because of an accident.  The whole time we’re waiting in the crowd, I’m getting increasingly upset because people are stepping on my child and bumping into my then 7 month pregnant wife’s belly.  We eventually get out of the crowd and decide to grab some food from some nearby food truck and wait for the crowd to dissipate.

Eventually, we got to the station and boarded the train heading back to the hotel.  On the train, the wife and I both talk about how we had not heard a peep at all about the babies.

Curious about this, my wife asks the little one, “Do you think your babies wanted to come see Obama get inaugurated?” 

The little one responds with confidence, “No, they didn’t want to come.”

The wife then asks, “Why didn’t they want to come?”  As parents find out, there are some questions that you will ask your children where the answers they give will knock you out of your shoes.  At this point, nobody had told us about this phenomenon, and we were soon about to find out on our own.

The little one then told mommy as though she should have already known, “They didn’t want to come because they don’t like Arock Obama.  They like Mitt Romney.”

My knees buckled from laughing so hard.  I think there were a few others seated nearby who laughed as well.  My wife and I laughed the rest of the trip home and all that evening about that answer.  We never had any indications that we had Republicans in our house during the entire election, not that it would have made any difference anyway.  My daughter had never wavered in her like for Obama, but she never once mentioned that her babies were Republicans.

That evening, while watching the inauguration festivities that were going on in DC, the little one chimes in out of the blue, “Mommy, they like Arock Obama now”, and then she went right back to watching the inauguration ball that was on TV.

If my daughter continues to look at both political sides and judging them on the facts of their campaign, I will undoubtedly be the happiest father in the world.  Either way, I have a funny story to tell for the rest of my life.

 

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26 thoughts on “A funny thing happened while in DC

  1. Brodiggity, great story. It’s a testament to how you and the missus are raising future Americans. Keep it up.

    Oh, and congrats on the new tricycle motor on the way.

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  2. Brosephus, you know I lived and worked in DC for almost two years back in 2001-2003, and I know from experience that it takes some stone dedication to get up at 4:30 AM on a January DC morning and go outside for several hours. That said, what a wonderful event to share with your family! I’m so glad you were able to take your daughter; at that age, she’ll be able to remember some of it, and one day, she’ll be able to tell her History and Social Studies classmates “I was there when . . . ”

    Good on ya, Brosephus! 🙂

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      • As a former frequent traveler, I have a tip to offer — compare Amtrak schedules and prices to flight schedules (or as an alternative to driving). The Crescent (train) leaves ATL going northbound about 8 PM every day, and if memory serves, it arrives at Washington Union Station (smack in the District) before lunchtime. You might be able to cram 2 adults and 2 younguns into a single sleeper, thereby folding the travel cost and a night’s lodging into the train ticket, priced comparably to airfare for the whole family. I wouldn’t recommend Amtrak for long trips, but for a single overnight that involves no train changes, it’s an alternative worth looking into.

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          • I *think* NYC (Penn Station) is as far north as you can go without changing trains. However, Beantown is one of my favorite American cities in which to just be a tourist. Tons of history, plenty of picturesque coastal villes nearby and you can’t beat the food. The old North End of Boston, where the one-if-by-land-two-if-by-sea lanterns were hung for Paul Revere, is an ethnic Italian neighborhood now, with Hanover Street in particular lined with little mom-n-pop Italian restaurants. If you’ve never been to Boston, PLEASE get in touch with me before you take a trip up there. I will gladly regale you with tales of sights most worthy and meals most sumptuous to be experienced in Da City By Da Hahbah. 🙂

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          • I’ve been to Boston a few times by myself but never with the family. I’m assuming the Acela runs from DC to Boston as I saw it passing through Warwick, RI a few years ago. If I told you about how or why I was in RI, I’d have to put you to bed with the fishes afterwards. 😉 j/k

            If/When I get that way with the family, I’ll get some pointers from you before I go. I have photos from the 9/11 Memorial outside Logan that I’ve posted here before. I actually had a room there at the Hilton on one trip that overlooked the memorial.

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  3. The World’s Most Wonderful Son-In-Law and the grand girls and I took the train from Atlanta to Boston this summer. It was a bucket-list kind of experience that I’m not sure I’d repeat.

    It was very costly — more than $2,000 for the four of us, one way. The air travel back was only about $700.

    The train was more than two hours behind schedule arriving in Atlanta. If you book a sleeper, meals in the dining car are included and we wanted that experience, so we had not eaten dinner before we went to the train station. It was 10:30 — way past bedtimes, let alone dinner time — before we were able to give the girls dinner. The sleeper car was so tight that when the bunks were made up, there wasn’t room to walk between the bottom bunk and the sink. You had to crawl across the bunk to get into the the room. The air conditioning wasn’t working properly. Several things in the room were broken. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but it wasn’t what you’d want for pleasant travel or what you’d expect for the price.

    Joe Hussein Mama is right; the Crescent only goes as far as NYC. Then you have to change trains to Boston. Because our train was behind schedule, we missed the Acela and were rebooked on what they called a regional express. It was 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. When we got to our hotel in Back Bay.

    None of us got enough sleep, the kids because of the late bedtimes, the adults because we weren’t comfortable. On the plus side, the kids loved the idea of the train and they were thrilled with the bunks. The adults were much less stressed because the kids could jump around and make noise without disturbing anyone, so we didn’t have to spend 24 hours trying to keep them under control. It was a memorable trip and I’m very glad we did it. As I say, though, I’m not sure I’d do it again.

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    • Yai! DG, sounds like y’all rode Anxiety, not Amtrak! 😦

      I’ve never had to change trains, but I can see where that’d mess your trip up well and truly, especially if you missed your connection. And some sleeper compartments are pretty tight, depending on the type of cars in the consist. IIRC, Amtrak lists sleeper dimensions and has 360-degree views of some types on their website.

      It is true that everyone bum-rushes the dining car as soon as you leave ATL; a late supper going northbound (towards DC & NYC) and a late breakfast going south (towards New Orleans). You do need to be near the front of the line in order to ensure that your first choice of entree is available at suppertime. That said, the dining car food is as good or better than anything I’ve had on domestic aircraft in 20+ years. My wife and I had a delightful etoufee and a grilled ribeye on the way back from Birmingham a few years ago, and I haven’t even *seen* a steak in the air since around 9/11.

      As always, advance purchase gets you the best prices and sleeper costs rise quickly as they sell out. Alternately, Amtrak has a frequent traveler program, just like Delta, but you actually have to ride on a train once every three years or your points expire (but even going one stop will keep them alive).

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        • I agree with you about the food. I’ve had better in restaurants, but never on a plane.

          And the trip wasn’t terrible. But I had very good memories of sleeper cars in Europe (many years ago; they may not be as comfortable now) and Amtrack disappointed me.

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          • DG, I hope you’ll see this, because the missus reminded me of some Amtrak methods that can hold long-distance travel costs down.

            1) Your cost was so high because you had a sleeper on *two* routes. If you hadn’t needed to change trains, you’d probably have saved quite a bit.

            2) An alternative to a full sleeper, especially if your route will be traveled mostly in daylight, could be a pair of “roomettes.” These are teeny little closet-sized compartments with doors. In the day, they’re a pair of facing seats with a teeny toilet on one edge of the room. At night, the seats fold out to become the lower bunk and the upper bunk cranks down from the ceiling. Roomettes are often several hundred dollars cheaper than full sleeper compartments, but they’re still considered first class accommodations, so you get your meals included. If your NYC-Boston leg was during the day, this might have really trimmed the cost. As sleepers, these rooms are uncomfortably tight (I am 6’5″), but as little private compartments with your own sink and secure storage space for your carry-ons, they’re excellent in the daytime. And economical, too.

            Special note regarding roomettes: the one and only time I ever slept in one, I turned on the TV when my morning coffee and bagel were brought to me, about an hour before reaching my destination. Some heartless bastard in Amtrak’s media department had decreed that “U-571” needed to be playing at that hour, which was an evil reminder of how cramped and claustrophobic my experience was. So just in case I had forgotten how teeny and uncomfortable my compartment was, there was a submarine movie to remind me. Ew.

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