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Historic significance, and all that

So, I am thinking about going to the inauguration next Tuesday. It won’t be easy, I know.

A Facebook friend reminds me that there will be one Port-A-Potty for every 6,000 attendees. “You sound like my husband,” I tell him.

Between you and me, it would be a lot easier to imagine this trip without my husband. He tends to get nudgy in a crowd. In fact he gets nudgy when we leave the house. And there is a mathematical equation (I don’t know what it is) that proves that one husband is equal to 3,000 strangers in the amount of emotional energy they require of any given wife. Double that when taking a trip outside the immediate perimeter of one’s home.

But I thought I could manage, since I’ll be at a writer’s conference in Cape May the weekend before the festivities in Washington and, in theory, I’ll be missing him by then.

My daughter wants to go too. The only hitch is that her classes begin on January 20, back in Saratoga. She thinks her profs will understand. “Historic significance and all that,” she says.

It would be fun, I imagine. Callison and me on a train, plane or automobile on our way to the inauguration of Barack Obama on what would have been my mother’s 84th birthday.

My mother’s best friend from high school even offered to put us up for the night at her home in Silver Spring, MD. There’s a bed for me and a sofa for Callison. She says she’ll make crab cakes and tater tots for dinner and wonders if we have any food allergies.

Of course, if I went alone, I could take the ferry from Cape May to Lewes Delaware on the 19th and drive into Silver Spring myself. Then I could get the Metro into DC for the big event. But my husband reminds me I’ll be missing my uncle’s birthday party on Monday in the city if I do that.

Normally, I am content to attend massive events like Superbowls and conventions virtually, via television. But this time I have an invitation. Not the fancy engraved invitation that everyone who sent money to the Democrats got. Not the fancy engraved invitation to one of the many Inaugural balls, like my friend’s daughter received. This invitation was sent via email from my Congressman. It allows us to attend a reception at the Rayburn Office Building immediately following the swearing-in ceremony. I called the number on the email and put our names on the list weeks ago. I figure they won’t miss us if we don’t show up. “Will the President be there?” my daughter asks with anticipation. I don’t know, I tell her, but there’s always a chance.

If we go, we are likely to be cold and uncomfortable much of the time. We’ll have to stand on street corners for hours and squeeze into crowded mass transit vehicles with thousands of other happy travelers.

It all sounds like so much effort, I think. Then I remember the last eight years, and the years before that, of impeachment hearings, and I think we deserve to see this day. My daughter deserves to see the candidate she helped elect get sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

Historic significance, and all that.

- Cass Collins