Inaugural Navel Gazing
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where you never know what a well-scripted day will bring! Inevitably some actor's gonna blow the entrance or miss the mark. And another one will pick up the slack. Come to think of it, this is an argument for the holy workings of polytheism.
I went off to work today as a tutor for African American and Hispanic teenagers at the local Vo-Tech. As might be imagined, they were pretty pumped about this inauguration.
My daughter The Spare had persuaded her dad to come get her from school so they could watch the swearing-in together at home. Alas and alack. The Spare was watching the pre-swearing ceremony in the auditorium at Snobville High, checking her cell phone every other minute to make sure she didn't miss the time when her dad was coming to pick her up. A teacher nabbed the phone. Dad arrived at the school, but the office staff couldn't find The Spare. By the time The Spare got her phone back, Dad had returned to Chateau Johnson -- and The Spare missed the swearing-in and the speech.
Meantime, I was watching same in a classroom with a business teacher and about a dozen seniors of color. Out in the cafeteria there was rowdy cheering when Obama finished his oath (in a most un-Constitutional way, blah on that "So help me God."). But the seniors in the business shop were serious throughout. Reality is setting in with them. They know they soon will be sailing into the jobless blight outside, and they're hoping President Obama.....
AHHHHHHHHHH! PRESIDENT OBAMA! LOVES IT!
Anyway, next thing I know I'm being hunted throughout the school like some fugitive from a chain gang. Informed of this, I hustled to the principal's office, readying my excuse for allowing the 6th period tutorees to watch the inauguration instead of answering multiple choice questions about Tom Sawyer.
The principal radiated concern. The Spare had phoned the Vo-Tech in obvious distress. Can you believe that the principal of the Vo-Tech vacated her office so I could call The Spare back? (I know this honeymoon can't last forever.)
Spare sobbed: "I missed it."
Remember how I said I was going to be at work during Barack Obama's inauguration? One should never make bold statements.
As luck would have it, my ninth period tutoree was absent. So I signed out of work, drove back to Snobville, and pulled The Spare out of class. She was very touched that I did that. She was also concerned that her dad might have missed the swearing-in, because he was raised in Baltimore, same age as John Waters more or less, and he knows something about racism.
Here's where the magic enters. Yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, we had a little meeting here at Chateau Johnson. The Spare is the president of the local chapter of the Children of the American Revolution. As our Day of Service project, we made treat bags for the 52 homeless veterans at the nearby veterans' center. Well, you know that all Children of the American Revolution bashes have to start with a pledge to the flag. I had to ask an adult helper to bring a flag -- and she brought one of those kinds they put on servicemen's gravestones.
So the Spare missed the swearing-in, and here we stood in the house, staring at a little grave flag. Spare said: "Let's go to the cemetery."
When President Obama (ooooooo! I am gonna faint with joy!) won the nomination, the Spare and I took our Obama/Biden lawn sign and put it in a "colored cemetery" where more than 100 African American Civil War veterans are interred. That's where we went today, with the flag.
The Obama/Biden sign was still where we left it, among the African American Union Dead. The Spare affixed the American flag to the sign, and we told the spirits: "Your day has come."
Then we went and got a Philadelphia cheesesteak and some fries, and we laughed with the other people at the sandwich shop about how glad we were to see George Bush go. Then poor Spare trudged into the dentist office and had four cavities filled. The novocaine has still not worn off. She looks like Elvis.
It's funny how things work out. I had planned to be at the Vo-Tech when Barack Obama became president, and I was. But by strange twists of fate, I also wound up making a memory with the Spare.
There won't be many people who, when asked where they were on the day Barack Obama was sworn in, will answer: "In a rime of snow amongst the holy Union Dead, proclaiming that they did not perish in vain."
Yep, that cemetery wasn't crowded ... with living people, anyway.
May all the bored deities everywhere bless Barack Obama and guide him, and us, back into a place of sanity and pride.