Republican Ginger Snaps and Democratic Cupcakes
Like a few million others, I made my pilgrimage to Washington, DC this week to witness firsthand the presidential inauguration. In the days after the election, a lot of my friends talked of making the trip also, but once the excitement died down, most of them decided to stay home. Any other year or for any other president, I would have been one of them. The reason I didn’t is because of a conversation I had with an aunt who was fighting cancer. A lifelong republican and active McCain supporter, she knew I had volunteered for the campaign and was the first to call and congratulate me when Obama won. When I confessed that I had planned on attending but now wasn’t sure, she told me I simply HAD to go. Her HADTO made up my mind.
It took three hours through chaotic DC streets and an endless traffic tunnel to work our way to a spot where we could watch the ceremony on the JumboTrons posted along the Mall. It was during the next two hours of standing and waiting that the cold worked its way up through my legs and froze every cell in my body. Luckily, the day before I had visited my great aunt and uncle who live in DC. He’s a retired professor in his eighties and they’re both diehard conservatives. Over a gracious lunch, they questioned all of my political beliefs and most of my life choices then gave my sister and me a tin of ginger snaps and sent us on our way. When the cold set in the next day, I ripped into those ginger snaps like a starved wolverine. I’d be embarrassed about this, but I did share with my new inauguration friends and it really was so cold.
By the time the ceremony was over, I was completely numb from the cold. I managed a benjaminbuttonlike waddle for about the next half hour as we worked our way through the crowds. It wasn’t till the next day over cake and coffee at a Firehook Bakery that I was able to feel warmth returning. Mostly I felt grateful. Grateful that I had been there, grateful for the ginger snaps, and grateful to the woman who’s clarity and generosity had sent me there.