Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration No. 57

           So: A worship service at St. John's Episcopal Church not so very far from the White House.  The old church, once attended by James Madison and buxom Dolley (I wrote a book about her; I could tell you how many times it's been rejected, but I won't), was designed in 1815 by handsome Benjamin Latrobe whose daughter Lydia married an inventor Nicholas Roosevelt, whose great-grand-nephew, Theodore Roosevelt would have one heck of an uproarious Inauguration Day of his own in 1904, complete with Rough Riders and an enforced appearance by the old Apache warrior, Geronimo. And, just for you to know, 93 years earlier, Nicholas and Lydia went on one heckuva steamboat ride down the Mississippi River just in time for the New Madrid Earthquake. Yes, Dorothy Patent, noodling one's way through the winding pathways one's research takes one is a purely engrossing pastime.)  .

         • A procession to the U.S. Capitol, also designed by Mr. Latrobe.  At least President O. doesn't have to worry about having a godawful ride like FDR had with furious, worn-out HCH back in '33.    
         • Joe Biden (born 20 Nov 1942, not long after Allied Forces landed in North Africa, just a few days before a hellacious fire broke out at Boston's Cocoanut Grove and killed 487 night-clubbers...Happy Warrior 'Smiley' Joe shares a birthday with Robert F. Kennedy, Alistair Cooke, and the astronomer Edwin Hubble), the 47th U.S. Vice President, once more will be sworn in to office.

         • [the program]  U.S. President No. 44,  Barack Obama is scheduled to take his ceremonial Oath of Office at 11:30 A.M., having taken his official O. of O. yesterday, in a private ceremony on January 20, the official I. Day. So it was for Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1877, and Ronald Reagan, too, in 1985, being as their Inaugurals fell on Sundays.  As a matter of fact, Mr. Hayes was sworn in in the W.H., a presidential 1st, in the Red Room, where charming Dolley Madison once held her popular Wednesday evening receptions before the whole joint was torched by the Redcoats.

         • Then Mr. Obama gives a speech - no, make that an address.  Think about it, Citizens: What would you say to your divided, somewhat disheartened nation?   (What would I say? Read a book. Heck, read a LOT of books. Learn what we Americans have - and haven't -  been about all these years and think about what you read, for crying out loud. And just for a change, listen and THINK about what we have in common. Our history, for one thing. Our scary future, for another.)
        • There's a luncheon. Click HERE for the menu!  (sounds a good deal fancier than the tortilla/melted cheese & handfuls of 1. cherry tomatoes and 2. MandMs I've got planned. ) 
The Inaugural Parade of FDR, 1941,   Frank Wright 
        • PARADE! 
        • BALLS.   (What would I wear? What would I wear? Gownless Evening Strap? Could we have, like, an  Author Prom,  a BiblioBall  or something, PUH-lease??? I totally want to see Jim Murphy in a tuxedo.)
       Aren't we thankful for the 20th Amendment? If only for the fact that it isn't the 2nd Amendment, which I am WAY sick of hearing about, at least the part of the argument that comes from these automatically-armed-to-the-teeth blowhards? Because at least we're not having to wait until the 4th of March for all of this hoohah.  All of this glorious hoohah, celebrating that for all our bloody-minded, well-intentioned, noble, greedy, bumptious, wonderful/horrible goings-on, we Americans have managed this banged up but unbroken chain of power passing to power.   
       And in the spirit of that old saw, that trite-but-true wheeze about this being the first day of the rest of OUR lives, how in the heck are we going to inaugurate it? What are we prepared to do? (Despite opposition, fear, inertia, the tough, fast-changing marketplace) Ponder on our intentions. Ask what we can do for our country. And do it. 
        So help us God.  


Unknown said...

Cheryl -- The pix on my website shows me wearing my guitar shirt (which really is cool). I wear it at the two day Maplewoodstock music festival held here in Maplewood every july. My tux is brought out on more formal occasions, such as candle lit nights on our porch. Thanks for the Inaugural Day facts.

Gretchen Woelfle said...

Cheryl: Terrific post! Go to a nonfiction writer for a good story on any occasion!