Grice and her Young Republican friend, J -- who had overheard our plans on the way home one afternoon and was beyond excited to join us and Keep Fear Alive, and whose parents must be as nuts as I am to actually let him go with a virtual stranger -- were picked up when school got out at 1:45. Good-byes were said, a last minute iPod auxiliary player was located and borrowed, the car fueled, it was 2:30 PM and we (Sarabelle, her roommate A, Elle, and I) were on our way. With only four gas/snack/bathroom stops, we drove straight through the night and were parked in the garage at Ronald Reagan International by 6:30 AM.
After a short delay fighting with a Metro ticket machine, we finally arrived on the Mall about an hour later. We could have set up right in front of the stage, it was still that empty, but spread our blanket out a little ways back, up against a First Aid tent so nobody could crowd us.
Here's the view from our spot:
Then, while I held our ground, the kids, all armed with cell phones, headed out to find me coffee and to do a little sightseeing. And boy, was there a lot to see.
Elle wanted to see the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool, and when we got there she wanted to press on and see the Lincoln Memorial. It was getting close to showtime and we had already walked quite a way, but being the awesome homeschooling mom I am, how could I possibly say no? Plus, my iPhone said there was a restroom there.
We hoofed it back down the Mall to our place and that's when the drama began.
We had been fenced out of our primo location. A volunteer offered to go let my kids inside the fence know where we were, because by then, for whatever reason, there was no cell phone service. He came back to tell me there were only two kids there. Which ones? He didn't know. So I'm missing two kids. Great. And they were still not going to let us in. We waited patiently for someone to exit, "one in, one out," but nobody seemed to be leaving. Elle was with me and the others were in pairs, wherever they were, so I was not overly concerned. But I wanted my spot. The spot I had staked out at the crack of dawn. Speaking to the cops was no help. Until, after watching another mother's success, I too played the hysterical mom card. Elle and I got in and found Grice and A at our blanket. Sarabelle came wandering up a few minutes later. Alone. She and J had been waiting at another "one in, one out" gate to get back into our area, but he opted to find another way in while Sarabelle held her spot in line. J is a clever, resourceful, and highly independent kid, wants to be an admiral in the navy one day, so we knew he'd be okay, and might even end up appearing on stage as his mother warned, so I was still not too worried, just hoping his view was at least as good as ours. The opening acts were through, the announcer had begun his intro, "...and now, please welcome your host..." and suddenly J appears at our side. So while the crowd is wildly cheering the entrance of "...Jonnnnnnnn Stewarrrrrt!" we were wildly cheering the return of J.
The show was fun, funny, over the top, and I was ready to hear Jon get serious at the end. "We live now in hard times, not end times..." "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing..." Yes! But I was a bit disappointed that he claimed not to be here to ridicule the Right and people of faith, among others. That's what he does so wonderfully on his show. And since then, watching Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and Rachel Maddow discuss the matter of false equivalency, I'd have to agree with them, that while all the media tends to be shrill and sensationalist, one group is particularly egregious and dangerous, and maybe Jon did miss an opportunity. But he's a satirist, not a politician after all, and he does what he does so well.
We made it out back to our car in just over an hour, which was amazing considering the crowd at the Metro, and were back home by 9:30 AM, time enough to go to breakfast, take a nap, finish costumes, and get ready for trick-or-treating.