17 Years Ago Today

Seventeen years ago today
I was sitting in my car
I’d just finished pumping gas
When I received an urgent call

“Stop everything you’re doing!
Come be with me at once!
Your Goddaughter’s coming early!
She’s already pulling stunts!”

I had with me my boyfriend
He’d never met your mom,
So here was my dilemma,
Do I see you born or drive him home?

Unfortunately for him,
To the hospital I fled
Rounding circle’s in the Avenues
Until I found your mom’s hospital bed!

Oh, was she embarrassed!
To meet my beau this way
But given the alternative,
She wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It didn’t really matter
Because I found her in a state
Surrounded by your grandparents
Scolding me for being late.

She wasn’t quite herself
The drugs had already kicked in
Your father—he looked stricken
—A new life to begin.

As he donned on his hospital gown
We wished your mom good luck
And giggled about how’d you’d run
This perfect day amok.

When they wheeled your mom away
I’ll admit that I was scared
A life without your mother
Would be too much to bear

But I need not to have worried
The doctors kept her safe
I wish you could have seen the single tear
Stream down your father’s face

When he held you up so proudly
For all of us to see
His tiny baby girl
How gently he held thee.

Now you’ve grown into a woman
A baby girl no more,
My heart both cries with sorrow
And wishes you to soar.

From the day that you were born
You’ve lived at your own pace
Insisting on being early—
Always staying ahead of the race.

So today, dear baby girl
I beg you to slow down
And take the time to enjoy
Your last year as a child

Take time to watch the sunrise
With sister at your side
Take time to take walks
With your brother—be his guide.

And every chance you get
Spend time with mom and dad
For once you start your life
You’ll wish for more time with them to have had.

And remember baby girl
As you look upon this day
That life is what you make of it—
It’s how you choose to pave your way.

Please keep that soul of kindness
Please keep that humble heart
Please keep that self-discipline—
It’ll give you your head start.

Please keep that optimism
That always sees you through
And keep strumming your guitar
On days that feel somewhat blue.

Please seek out some adventures
Live life not in fear
Take chances when you get them
And try a little beer. 😉

Don’t be afraid to call me
When you make a few mistakes
I’ve made a few myself
And promise to give you breaks.

For you I’ll always be there
Regardless of “the crime”
That my dear is something
On which you can rely

But mostly please remember
As you enter this new stage
That I will always love you
No matter what your age.

I’ll never forget the flurry
Of that beautiful September day
When I met you as a baby girl
Seventeen years ago today.

Happy Birthday Nikki!
9.17.2015

Kathryn’s Birthday Poem

One year older, one year new

One year wiser, past year flew

New year adventure. new year fun

New year of options—more than one

Boys will come, and boys will go

Man will come – oh and he’ll be a beau!

Rich and handsome, clever too

Love of grammar, he’ll share with you.

For kindness and wit, he will stay

Never keeping you at bay

This is what your new year brings

Your life a happy song will sing!

My Sister Visits Me In Washington, D.C., Day 4/New Years Eve

Day 3. December 31, 2014

The last day of 2014 began with a trip to Ford’s Theater. My sister and her BF failed to wake me up in time to go with them. Well. . . actually they woke me up when they were ready to leave.”Hey, wake up, we’re ready to go.” I’m not sure if they thought I was napping, but I was still in my pajamas with sleep face so we agreed to catch up later. I was running about an hour behind them, and made it to Ford’s Theater in time for the last lecture  of the day. (I made a stop at the FBI along the way. The X-Files fan in me couldn’t help it.)

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Ford’s Theater
The tour of Ford’s Theater was a bit of a letdown for me. They didn’t really give any instructions, so it was unclear if you were just supposed to walk in and walk out, or stay for a talk. They also only allowed you to take one brochure per family, which I thought was kind of stingy. Luckily I was on my own and didn’t have to share.

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I walked around it for about 15 minutes before a ranger came out to tell us a little about the events that led to the faithful night that Lincoln was assassinated. I was a bit disappointed by his story-telling abilities. He was monotone and it felt like someone was feeding him lines as he spoke, but this is what I learned:

John Wilks Booth was a famous actor who saw himself as “Brutus” to Lincoln’s “Caesar.” He felt that Lincoln was ruining the Union and that the people would rally behind him (Booth) in blind support after he assassinated Lincoln. Boy, was he wrong. After many months of conspiring to kill President Lincoln, Vice President Jackson, and Secretary of State Seward, Booth died in vain with a broken leg after a few days of being on the run. Lincoln died, and his death probably did more to bring the Union together than to tear it apart (although President Jackson was not much of an abolitionist).

So how did it happen?
Will, since this guy, Booth, was a famous actor, he had easy access to Ford’s Theater, and no one really thought twice when he walked in without a ticket. (Mind you, he’d been hanging out at the bar next door and staking out the theater for the President’s arrival all day.

How did Booth know the president would be there?
Well, the local newspaper had announced it. It had also mention that General Grant would be there too, but General Grant took a train home earlier that day and President Lincoln felt like he owed it to the people to show up, even if he really wasn’t feeling the theater that night. So anyway, there the president was, sitting in the rocking chair in his presidential balcony seat (This is a replica of what was actually there, the only original part of the theater is the facade–according to the ranger), when this Booth guy, walks in through the big yellow door. President’s didn’t have security back then. All Booth had to do was give the servant a calling card to gain entry.

So Booth had set things up earlier. He looks through a peep hole, waits for the loudest moment possible, and pulls the trigger. He shoots the President in the head, jumps out the balcony and onto the stage and yells, “Sic simper tyrannies!” Then ran off to escape.

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Meanwhile, the president was dying. There was no hope of his survival, and the goal was too keep him alive long enough for his family to say their good-byes. Military men, who just happened to be in the audience, drew their swords and used them to keep the chaotic crowd away from the president and carried him out into the streets. It was there that a man staying across the street yelled, “bring him here,” and offered his room up to the President.

The House Where Lincoln Died
By the time the ranger finished his talk, the museum was closed, so I meandered across the street to the house where Lincoln died. That’s when I ran into these mugs. They’d just finished the tour, so we decided to meet up after they grabbed lunch.

These two were freezing and ready for a hot meal, when we finally caught up.

These two were freezing and ready for a hot meal when we finally caught up.

I was more impressed with the house where Lincoln died than with Ford’s Theater. It really does a good job of commemorating the president, his life, his death, and the results thereafter. The tour begins with the viewing of the sitting room and the bedroom where the president died.

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After this, the rest of the museum is dedicated to not just the night that Lincoln died, but to the series of events that came afterward– from the funeral procession to the political aftermath of his assassination. I was most fascinated with how Jackson and Lincoln’s plans to reunite the Union were not in line with each other. After leaving, I couldn’t help but wonder how things would have played out differently if he hadn’t been killed.

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As I was leaving the museum, I received a message from my sister and her BF. They’d decided to hit the Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. “Perfect!” I thought. After having toured the House Where Lincoln died, all I wanted to do was go back to the Newseum to see if I could find some old newspapers about the day he died. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nook dedicated to the Civil War, the preservation of the Union, and Abraham Lincoln. My favorite part of this exhibit were the newspaper account of his death (note how the reports seem almost hour by hour on the same page,” and the Civil War “tweets.”

After exhausting all the information I could take in in one day, I left thinking, “all this time, in school they focused on how Lincoln equated to the abolition of slavery. Although, that was important, his larger legacy was in the preservation of the Union.”

(I enjoyed the Newseum so much that I ended up getting a one-year membership to it!)

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My sister and her BF were still at the wax museum when I left the Newseum, so I decided to make my way to the Botanical Gardens. I stopped to take a couple of pictures along the way.

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The Botanical gardens had a pretty cool holiday train exhibit that featured Thomas theTrain and Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship!

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I snapped these gorgeous sunset shots on the way back to the Metro.

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New Years Eve! It had been a long day and it was cold out, so we all weren’t full of energy to go out. While my sister’s BF slept, she and I got ready for a night in Old Town. A few hours later, we were all dressed up and he was sleeping. So we rallied my roommate and met up with some friends in Old Town Virginia around 11. At midnight, the crowds walked out of the bar to watch a beautiful firework show.

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We got there just in time to warm up