Windy City

Upturned Everything and Azerbaijan

It’s been a gusty few days here in the Capitol, I was walking up 22nd st. Friday evening when a howling wind stopped me in my tracks.

Thankfully, the temperature has been not so bad making the wind, its longevity and speed, more of a curiosity than anything.

But, to be honest, everything that can be blown around or over has been.

Washington is a city of trees and so the big concern has been getting whacked by a limb or worse, there is firewood everywhere, waiting to be gathered.

When out walking I was reminded of how much I love the sound of the wind roaring through the trees, it reminds me of the foothills of the Himalayas, remote places where nature is in charge all the time.

Himalayan Journey: Manaslu

As the storm bore down I was touring with 5th-graders from North Carolina.

We walked Arlington Cemetery when it was almost deserted, a rare gift this time of year.

The sound of rifle fire from the three round volley cracking the air on four occasions as the departed were laid to rest.

Later we walked some memorials on the Tidal Basin.

At FDR we stopped to chat about the president’s wife Eleanor, including her role in the United Nations, which caused one of the students to weigh in with absolute conviction that Azerbaijan was not in the United Nations.

That got an “If you say so” from me though I checked later and he was wrong but I totally liked his swag.

Even if you’re wrong, say it with conviction.

After dinner we visited the Jefferson Memorial and I gathered them up close, mostly to block the wind from hitting me, and asked them what they knew about Jefferson.

The same kid proceeded to expound on Thomas Jefferson as Deist, nailing it perfectly.

Thomas Jefferson

When I was his age did I even know who Jefferson was?

We were to meet at 8am Friday morning over in southwest DC to see more memorials so I was out the door at 6:45, hoping to stop at the US Department of Agriculture Cafeteria for breakfast.

It’s the best food option in the city with a jamming food bar at $.49 an ounce, including fresh whole turkey for lunch, everyday.

Anyway, the doors were locked and the place was deserted which was weird.

It was a ghost town.

Finally, a driver pulled up, his window rolled down and he informed me that the government was shut down.

Alrighty then.

I was texting with the leader of our group at their hotel when my phone went dead leaving me high and dry on a deserted street with no plan.

The advantage of age has taught me to say “whatever, it’ll work it self out” and indeed it did.

My partner arrived with a working phone, we got the call that the tour was cancelled and I was soon on metro headed to breakfast at a place I knew would be open.







  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    Your reference to the young fellow who knew the particulars of Thos. Jefferson reminds me of the maturity and well-developed vocabulary of the teens who recently spoke out following the slaughter in Florida. At their age, and despite a fancy private school education, I could not have spoken that articulately. Aside from the fact that it’s heartbreaking to see children having to take on the responsibility that adults have abdicated, it was heartening — though a little frightening, too — to see the young generation taking verbal and intellectual command. One wonders if kids are allowed to be kids anymore.

  • Joe blow says:

    Government workers couldn’t get into work, but kids can take it to her. What does that tell you? But kudos to you for teaching our kids about our history.

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