The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

At Least the Sun’s Kinda Out

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By Todd Hatton

In the off chance that anyone’s been curious as to why Angela and myself have been absent from the airwaves, well, we’re in Washington, D.C., both for a little R&R before the next fundraiser, and for our third anniversary.

And, just in case you’re thinking, “Well, how, uh, romantic.  Washington.  In January,” keep in mind that Angela and I are history, literature, and culture nerds.  Therefore, we are in history, literature, and culture-nerd heaven.

Just a few of the highlights of our week so far:

1)      The view from our motel room in Lexington, VA.  Angela said it reminded her of Darbyshire, in England.  Lacking that comparison, it reminded me of Tolkien’s Shire.  (See, “Lit Nerd!”)

2)      Little red flashing lights on Interstate 64.  They’re imbedded into the shoulders of all four lanes.   I had no idea what they were for until we got up into the Blue Ridge Mountains for a visit to Jefferson’s Monticello.  Apparently, it’s not uncommon to drive into clouds up there.  Clouds. Or at least, fogs so heavy they appear to be clouds.  So, those lights are there to keep you from driving off of an impossibly high cliff to your doom.  Wow.  Hats off to the Virginia Department of Highways!

3)      Monticello in the Mist.  That all-encompassing fog on the Interstate settled down into a mist that seemed to pull Jefferson’s home out of time.  Normally, you can see the University of Virginia from Jefferson’s front door, but that day (Sunday), nothing but fog.  Beautiful and ingenious house.

4)      The Cardozo Guest House.  Gorgeous room and I promise I’ll post pictures very, very soon.

5)      The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Nerd.  Heaven.

6)      The Smithsonian Museum of American History.  This is where I’ll go, if I’m good, when I die…

7)      The Lincoln Memorial.  Profound experience.  In fact, the picture I’ll take with me for the rest of my days is the small Latina woman who came up to the threshold of the monument, bowed her head, and crossed herself.  Then she went inside.

8)      The Newseum.  This is where journalists go to remind themselves how crucial their jobs are.  Angela told me after we left that she saw one Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that in her words was “soul-killing.”  It’s the photo of an eastern African child, starving and struggling to reach a UN food station.  Lurking in the background, waiting, is a vulture.  I prefer to see it as the ultimate call to action.  If nothing else, the photo screams, “Do Something!”  I can only hope and pray that child is alive and healthy.

9)      The Rivalry at Ford’s Theatre.  This ranks as one of the most ghoulish, poignant, and thought-provoking of my experiences in D.C. so far.  The play is about the rivalry between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.  The actor playing Lincoln was eerie, looking just like him and sounding like I imagine Lincoln sounded like.  All within feet of the box where Lincoln was assassinated.

That’s it so far.  We’re off to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today.  Watch this space!

Written by Todd Hatton

January 27, 2010 at 8:16 am

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  1. I’m so glad you two are having a great trip…we miss you at the station, though. I loved reading the update…and got a little misty-eyed at your #7 The Lincoln Memorial experience. Much love for Mr. and Mrs. Hatton and the District of Columbia!


    January 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

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