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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Inaugural Dust on my Shoes

Mal Cameron
Deerfield, New Hampshire

It all started the day after the November election – an invitation from my wife Bernie’s niece, Betty, inviting us to go to Washington, D.C. to witness in person the inauguration of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.

We booked our flights the next morning.

We did not have tickets to the event, and really had no idea if we would even get close to it all. But on Martin Luther King Day, the day before the inauguration, Bernie and I were on our way to Washington, along with our daughter Molly, who traveled there by bus from New York City. On Tuesday the 20th we all left Betty’s house at 5:30 in the morning and took the METRO to Union Station, which at 6:00 am was totally packed with people who were all hoping to do the same thing as we were – get onto the National Mall. Feelings of anticipation and awe swept over us as we saw the Capitol building framed through a passageway while leaving Union Station.

There were literally thousands of people walking to the Mall. At one point we all walked through a tunnel that runs under the Mall to the other side of the Capitol building. It was almost surreal to look ahead and behind us as we walked, and seeing a river of people in both directions. The sun was rising as we exited the tunnel.

“A new day dawning”, I thought.

Eventually, after at least two miles of walking, we worked our way onto the National Mall. We were about two-thirds of the way back from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, and surrounded by thousands of people who had decided to brave the cold to be part of this moment in history.

They came from all over the United States – and the world. A rainbow of ethnic backgrounds and musical accents surrounded us. It truly was a universal mass of humanity, all coming together to honor this thing we call “change”. To honor a new President. To honor a new direction of Hope for this country. And, perhaps, to honor ALL of us.

The inaugural ceremonies were broadcast via large television screens throughout the National Mall. With the Capitol clearly in sight at the end of the Mall, everyone felt the emotions of the day. During the invocation and benedictions, there were many voices shouting, “Amen”, “Help him, Lord”, “Praise Jesus”, “Keep him safe, Lord” – and even a few voices singing soft hymns.

There were cheers and there were tears. Even though the weather was cold, we all felt the warmth of the moment, the feelings that we have all – finally – turned the corner and are now heading in a better, more honorable direction, with a President who will inspire us to work together, to lift us from despair and hopelessness to the higher morality of hope and honesty.

Time will tell, of course. But history was made on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, and we were grateful to have witnessed it first-hand.

As I left the National Mall area, moving with thousands of people to find our way to the METRO once again, I noticed that my shoes were covered with dust from standing in the Mall for several hours.

“Inaugural dust”, I thought.

I decided not to brush it off, but to let it fall off on its own. “It symbolizes the hopes and emotions of the day”, I thought. As I walked to the METRO station, and eventually to Betty’s house, I thought of those bits of dust falling off along the way, spreading those hopes and emotions where I walked.

Now that I am home again, some of that “Inaugural Dust” is still clinging to my shoes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Parish Annual Meeting

It was nice having a Sunday without any snow! Good attendance, and as usual, plenty of good food! We had lunch before the meeting started.

The salad bar was a big hit.

There were 3 kinds of soup. This is curry-butternut squash.

The Senior Warden checks his agenda...

...which looked like this!

Father Curtis gives the Rector's report. (This year we actually have a Rector!)

As the reports stated, 2008 was a year of challenges and loss (the altar flowers were from Elvia's family to honor her recent birthday). But we have grown in fellowship and mission and ended the year on budget. And our fundraising for Outreach and special projects was an outstanding $8400! We all know that 2009 will bring its own challenges--and many blessings yet to come.

We finished up by noontime.