April 30, 2014

Washington, D.C.--travels with my son

Where to start?  With an entire cupboard full of coffee mugs, which one shall I choose first?  I can't say I have an all-time favorite, although right now I am using my "Grandmother" mug quite a bit, for obvious reasons.  (Two weeks and counting!!)  But each mug holds a place in my heart, calling up special memories of all the silly and fun little moments that make up a great vacation.

Since today is the last day of April, it is also the last day of National Poetry Month, so I guess it is a good day to showcase my special Washington, D.C., mug that my son bought for me when the two of us were in D.C. his senior year of high school.  He was representing the state of Wisconsin at the national Poetry Out Loud recitation contest (you can read more about our adventures here.) 

We had a grand time, just the two of us roaming the streets of Washington when he wasn't tied up with the competition.  We took an evening trolley ride to view the memorials, and had a great time listening to the tales our bus driver/tour guide (who had majored in American history) shared with us.  We somberly toured the Holocaust Museum, and then had loads of fun at the National Spy Musuem.  We visited the White House, and found the Washington Monument.  Evidently that is a little more difficult than one would imagine, since my son and husband had managed to never see it when they were in Washington the year before!

Washington monument at sunset

We laughed.  We talked.  We tried new foods.  We hung out--traveling companions, comfortable with each other.  We made memories.  And now he is all grown up--a college graduate out making his own way in the world.  But for those few minutes when I pour a cup of coffee in this mug I am once again on an adventure with my son...

Washington Monument by Night
Carl Sandburg (1922)
clr gif


The stone goes straight.
A lean swimmer dives into night sky,
Into half-moon mist.


Two trees are coal black.
This is a great white ghost between.
It is cool to look at,
Strong men, strong women, come here.


Eight years is a long time
To be fighting all the time.


The republic is a dream.
Nothing happens unless first a dream.


The wind bit hard at Valley Forge one Christmas.
Soldiers tied rags on their feet.
Red footprints wrote on the snow . . .
. . . and stone shoots into stars here
. . . into half-moon mist tonight.


Tongues wrangled dark at a man.
He buttoned his overcoat and stood alone.
In a snowstorm, red hollyberries, thoughts, he stood alone.


Women said: He is lonely
. . . fighting . . . fighting . . . eight years . . .


The name of an iron man goes over the world.
It takes a long time to forget an iron man.
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .

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