We’re home again after a terrific long weekend in Washington. Papaw (Tim’s dad) was such a good host and made us feel like we were staying at a comfy bed and breakfast. We made it to the places the kids had selected, and then some. And, best of all, we enjoyed visits with good friends. Some we see fairly often, others we hadn’t seen in years, but we picked up right where we left off.
On our last day, we took the kids to my favorite sculpture, the 12-foot statue of Einstein at the National Academy of Sciences. Tucked into a grove of elm and holly right off Constitution Avenue, the huge bronze figure somehow manages to be cuddly. I love how Einstein always maintained his sense of wonder, which is captured in this quotation written on a bench: “Joy and amazement of the beauty and grandeur of this world of which man can just form a faint notion.” The star map at his feet is wonderful, too.
(For the photo, I told the kids to “look smart,” and this is what I got. Boys.)
It is impossible to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial without becoming emotional. We stood near a man who showed us his father’s name on the wall. So heartbreaking to watch him gently rubbing his finger back and forth across the name. My father was missing in action in Vietnam when my little brother was born, and I can’t help but think of how close he came to having his name etched into the wall.
It’ll be 19 years this Fourth of July since Tim and I met at this house on New Jersey Avenue. We actually were first introduced down at the party my roommates and I threw on the Mall earlier in the day, but back at the house after fireworks we stayed up talking until the wee hours of the night. Not long after, we had our first kiss under that very magnolia.
We also spent several hours at the National Zoo, where we saw seven (!) lion cubs. We watched them for the longest time as they switched between wrestling, pestering Mom and Dad, and lounging. We also saw one of the pandas, who sat with his back resolutely to us, chomping away on bamboo. He absolutely refused to turn and look at us. It was very funny, really.
And now it’s back to real life. I hope I can keep the energy and the memories from this trip fresh in my mind. Do you have a place that represents the road less traveled for you? Do you think that, knowing how way leads on to way, you’ll ever go back? Would you even want to at this point?
P.S. I found a penny at the Lincoln Memorial. I think it must be 100-times luckier than a regular penny.