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August 23rd, 2003

I got up at 5:00, and left for the airport at about 5:40. I parked at Park and Ride 3, the Purple Lot, and took the shuttle to the Southwest terminal. I had printed my gate pass from the web, since I wasn't checking any bags, and was able to proceed directly to the gate to check in there. I was given a "Group B" boarding pass.

I walked down to the other end of Terminal A in search of some coffee and breakfast. I settled on the "Popeye Chicken" place, and ordered and egg and cheese biscuit and a small cup of coffee. I took it back to the gate to eat, and chose a seat opposite a "hot daddy" type. There were three totally hot cowboys in the area as well. I wondered if they were heading to DC a couple of weeks early to train for the upcoming rodeo. They did not board my flight, though.

I got one of the last four or five window seats. As the plane filled up, a woman and her very young son took the two seats next to me, she on the aisle and he in the middle seat. He couldn't have been more than two. He was a pretty good kid overall, but did squirm around a lot, and kicked me several times. The mother was so attentive, though, and pointed out to him most times that he was kicking me, and that he should stop it. While she was standing in front of me waiting to deplane, I leaned over to her and said, "Thank you for being such an attentive and considerate mother."

Courtney and I connected by phone in front of the terminal. We had agreed that she'd pick me up at departures instead of arrivals, thinking there would be less traffic up there. That turned out not to be the case, but I saw her coming, and jumped in the car without her even having to leave the outside lane.

We drove to her parents' house in Chevy Chase. We stopped at the neighborhood post office on the way, as Courtney had to mail a book she had just sold on E-Bay, or was it Amazon.com? They had a nice display of stamps for sale, and I bought a sheet of "Happy Birthday" stamps. Court bought a sheet of the 50 states stamps for Jeff.

I met Ralph and Patty, Courtney's parents, and they were such a delight! I felt an instant connection with Patty, which Courtney says often happens between her and the people she meets. The first thing I did was excuse myself to the bathroom, where I found the hand towel exquisitely matching the ceramic part of the sink faucet. Patty and Ralph both seemed quite delighted that I'd noticed that, which made me was glad that I mentioned it.

We had a funny go round of "who's cup of coffee is this," in which the three of them picked up the same cup thinking it their own, while the toast was being cooked. I held onto my cup for life, and kept it away from the three of them.

Once the coffee was made, the toast cooked, and the fruit salad in the bowls, we went outside to enjoy breakfast on the patio. What a beautiful spot. We talked about a lot of things including the Civil Rights March on Washington (both the one 40 years ago, and the anniversary one going on later today), Patty's days at school in Boston, Courtney's patent, my parents' surprise 50th anniversary party, the new folks (with kids!) across the street, the neighbors with the Howard Dean connection, selling their car online, and where to park downtown later in the day.

We left there, I think, around 10:30, and headed downtown. We decided to park in front of Dave's house, around the intersection of P and 10th. We walked down to the mall, with a stop at Whole Foods along the way. Courtney got a peach, and I got a Kalamata olive roll. Courtney just wanted some cash back, neither one of us was hungry. But, as usual, we didn't let that stand in our way.

We got down to the mall at a little after noon. The GLBT contingency seemed very, very small. We walked past it toward the reflecting pool, and walked around it checking out the tents. We were hoping they were selling food there, of course, but found out they weren't. Instead, they housed activist organizations, such as the NAACP.

We walked back to the GLBT meeting area, and sat around for a while. We took a couple of pictures there, and generally talked about anybody and everybody who walked by. There were two Lesbians sitting close by reading the News & Observer. I went over and asked them if they were from Raleigh. Fortunately, the didn't answer, "Duh." I thought they might be part of the SONG contingency that I believe had chartered a bus to come up, but they had come up alone.

Eventually, the group was called to assemble to "march" over to the Lincoln Memorial. We hung out in the very back of the line, and near the end, left the group to walk up on the sidewalk. There was way too much goose poop where we were walking. One girl who was complaining about that as she walked away said, "We're gay, we're not stupid!" This cracked up both Courtney and me.

We took a seat up by the Lincoln Memorial on some cement wall barriers in the shade, and waited about an hour for the program to start. At one point, when Courtney left to use the restroom, there was a lot of drama around a female police officer on a horse. When she came by where we were sitting, the lady next to me told her that she'd like to get a picture of her(self) next to the horse. The policewoman tried to maneuver the horse next to her, and to keep it still. It was not cooperating, and the woman was very jumpy. I did not have good vibes about this, and personally, thought the policewoman should have given it up. Twice as the woman approached the horse, the policewoman said, "I'm having trouble keeping him standing still. The problem is that he wants to go over there and stand with his buddies."

After a couple of false starts, and jumps from the woman, the horse was held still, and she put her hand on it. I would give anything to see that picture, though, because the woman looked absolutely terrified doing it.

A kid with the Communist Party walked by us at one point, giving away a party newspaper. At first Courtney said, "No, thanks," but then on second thoughts said, "Oh, go ahead and give me one. Why not?" He handed her a paper and then said, "Could you make a little donation? To defray the cost of the paper?"

"No, thanks," she replied.

"What, you don't have any money?" he said a little sarcastically.

Near start time of the ceremonies, Howard Dean arrived, and we moved up onto the stops of the Lincoln Memorial, following him in and up.

The program included speakers such as the House of Representatives Washington DC representative, Corretta Scott King, and Martin Luther King III. They talked about passing the torch to the new generation, the hip-hop generation, and then introduced three young, dynamic, up-and-coming black leaders. One was a 26 year old gentleman who rocked the house with his speech! At the end, he was quoting Ezekiel, and shouting about "brining up the dust of the bones" of various people. The crowd was in a mild frenzy. It was quite fascinating. That section of the program ended with a speech by a 21 year old woman, who lives close to Corretta, and is the hope for women becoming involved in black politics. She was quite good, too.

By the time she spoke, it was close to 5:00, and Courtney and I were, you guessed it, starving. Since breakfast at the Malvik's we'd only eaten that roll (me) and that peach (her) all day. This is highly unusual behavior for us, and the only reason it happened was that this area was designated as "no food." That's why there were no food vendors in those tents being used for organizational meeting and advertising areas.

We walked down to the Dupont Circle area and went to a killer Mexican restaurant. Oh my God. The chips and salsa here were to die for. This is one of Courtney and Dave's favorite places, and I could certainly see why. We had three bowls of chips and salsa, with a side order of Chili Con Queso dip to boot. We also downed two beers each. At one point the waitress came back to our table and we had a three-way misunderstanding. Courtney thought she said, "Still waiting to order?" I thought said, "Ready for another?" (basket of chips), and we both responded yes. The waitress returned with another round of beer.

We got in touch with Dave, who was skydiving for the first time, to see if we should wait for him to order. He had left at 9:00 in the morning, for what he thought was going to be a three- or four-hour event. At 5:00, he had jumped, but was still waiting for others in the group to finish. After that, it was going to be a two-hour ride back. We went ahead without him, and he said he would call us when they left for home, and then we'd know it would be two hours from then. We were waiting to go to his house to take a nap, and change clothes, before going out to Remington's later.

We finished eating, and walked over to Kramer's bookstore, where I wanted to buy a crossword puzzle to do while killing time while we sat in Dupont Circle, ogled men, and waited for Dave's call. We spent about a half-hour in the book store, and then went and sat in Dupont Circle. A group of black kids gave an impromptu concert there, which was very cool. After a while, the mosquitoes started biting, and it started getting dark. We had no word from Dave, and it was nearing 7:30, 8:00 now.

We left Dupont Circle and walked back to Dave's. We decided that we would just call Remington's get directions, and head out there when we got to the car, since we hadn't heard from Dave, and we couldn't nap or change anyway. We decided that if things weren't happening there, or we were too tired, we would just call it an early night, and head back to Baltimore.

As it turned out, the place filled up pretty quickly, and it was happening there. Courtney loved the beautiful cowboys, and was amazed at their dancing. She went upstairs to check out the karaoke, which hadn't started yet, but got the book out and started looking through the songs.

I went back downstairs, and waited for a line-dance that I knew. Annie's Cha-Cha came up, and I ran upstairs to get her to watch me do it, which she did. She watched a few more dances, and then I told her to go on upstairs to see if the karaoke had started back up.

After a while I went up to check on her and she had become fast friends with "Miguel and Bill." They seemed to be slowly talking her into singing. Doing karaoke has always been a dream of hers, but she has always chickened out. I went back down to dance for a while longer, and when I returned the gin an tonics said, "If you stay up here with me, I'm going to do it." She had picked out Melissa Etheridge's "Come To My Window" for her song, and signed up while I was up there. There were four people ahead of her.

She downed gin and tonics as her turn approached. Before she got up there, she called Dave on her cell phone, and was still talking to him when they called her up. She said, handing me the phone, "Hold this up so Dave can hear, but not too high so everyone doesn't see it."

The emcee had really gotten into her situation by now, and was very encouraging and funny. He made her feel real comfortable, and she really started getting into it. I had the phone stuck up there by her head the entire song. Near the end, she turned away from the monitor, held the microphone slanted up, and got totally into it like she was a true pop diva. What fun!!!

Afterward, the emcee said, "What a minute. Wait a minute folks. Give me that phone. Folks, the entire time Courtney's been singing, an out of town friend has been listening on this cell phone. Who's on the line?"

"My friend, Dave. He's not out of town; he's from here."

"From here? Dave? You're from here? Why aren't you down here?"

And he continued to rag on Dave, and have a conversation with him in front of the entire bar. It was all quite funny, and entertaining.

I went back downstairs and danced a little more. We called it a night at 1:30, and headed out.

We had an hour ride back to Baltimore, which ended with Courtney in dire straights to pee. She really didn't think she was going to make it. I pulled in crooked at the curb to let her out so she could run into the house. I had to turn the car off to remove the key so she could take it. I waited outside until she returned, she parked the car, and we unloaded into the house.

Her house is so nice! What a great place. I loved the living room, dining room, and the sitting room off her bedroom. We were totally exhausted, and it was 3:00 when we went to bed. I had been up 22 hours. What a fun, fun, fun day, though.

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