D.C. Trip - Odds & Ends

Of course, since the main reason for this whole trip was to let Youngest-daughter see history with her own eyes (because 80% of what we learn and know is through our eyes), we had to take a day & see several of the Smithsonian museums, Ford’s theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated and Mt. Vernon, President Washington’s home. But there was enough time left to see a couple of places Youngest-daughter wanted to see – The Spy Museum was high on her list, and Great Falls National Park. Earlier in the school year, one of her assignments was to research, prepare a PowerPoint presentation, and give a presentation on a national park of her choice. Knowing we would be going to D.C., she found that park to be the closest to where we would be and so chose that one. Since she went to all of that thinking about it and since she received an “A” on the project, how could we NOT go there?

Connie's tent across from the White House
But first, an interesting side note. For those out there who read the Camel Club novels by David Baldacci, you will know that one of the main characters has for years kept a tent in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and he has picket signs for and against various subjects, mostly against secrecy in government. What you may not know is this is based on fact. In real life, a number of people picket in front of the White House, but most stay for a short while and leave, going on to wherever they go next, and are soon replaced by someone else. But two folks, William Thomas and Concepcion Picciotto, didn’t leave. On June 3, 1981, Thomas plunked himself down right in front of the White House, put up his sign stating, “Wanted: Wisdom & Honesty,” and there he stayed, night and day, in the heat of summer and cold of winter, through rain, sleet and snow, until he died on August 5, 2008. His friend and fellow protester, Concepcion, known as Connie to those in that world, joined him on August 1, 1981 and she is still there, living in a tent and subsisting on handouts and donations. William’s “Wanted: Wisdom & Honesty” sign still stands. I don’t know about you, but I think after almost 31 years and still no change, I just might start considering a different avocation.

An actual shoe phone in the Spy Museum
We visited the Spy Museum; it was ok. Youngest-daughter and the momma-woman enjoyed it more than I did. There were real, actual shoe phones just like Max Smart used; there were poison pens, belt buckles with knives in them, and a lot of pictures of spies who got caught. Of course, the best spies are those you never hear about. The thing I found most disappointing was the kids who were the employees. Most of them seemed to be more interested in flirting with each other and playing grab-ass. One of them considered himself a real talent I guess and did nothing but sing very loudly and dance around. I’ll pass on this next time thank you very much.

Had a bite to eat in the Spy CafĂ© and watched
people walk by in the rain.
The Smithsonian's though were obviously on a whole different plane than the uninteresting Spy Museum. We took as much time as we could in the Air & Space, Natural History, American Indian and Museum of American History museums, but you could spend a full week going through all of them and probably still not see everything. The Spy Museum cost $19 each just to get in, the Smithsonian’s are free. It’s like Mike Tyson in his prime against a high school bully – no contest from the ding.

Space capsule at the Air & Space Museum.
Surprisingly, to me anyway, was how much I enjoyed the National Botanic Garden. Ah, just a bunch of plants and stuff, right? Oh no, so much more! Interesting plants, weird plants, waterfalls, pools, statues made out of pecan shell husks, extremely intricate “fairy houses,” and much, much more. It was a definite pleasure and ranks right up there with the most interesting and enjoyable things we did on the whole trip!

Spirit of St. Louis
We really enjoyed the Botanical Garden.

The Capitol made out of pecan shells -
somebody had a LOT of free time!