A week ago I took Daniela and Elisa to Washington for a quick visit. Our first stop was the Lincoln Memorial. I've been there at least a dozen times, but it never fails to move me. In general I'm very leery of grand memorials or monuments of any kind, but I've always admired Lincoln and his way with words, so I feel tolerant as I look up at the massive figure in his big armchair. The Gettysburg Address is a real gem, a marvel of concision. On the other hand, when I look out from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument and, way back there, Congress, I feel it's unfortunate that some of the more intellectually interesting figures of our past get such short shrift in the capital, and in our collective memory generally. Where's the monument to Thomas Paine? Benjamin Rush? Hamilton? After paying homage to Abe we went by a very different kind of memorial: the one dedicated to those who died in Viet Nam (and Southeast Asia generally). Always sobering. Then it was a superficial museum tour: Air and Space, the new Native American museum, and Natural History. Impressive places, that's for sure. On the way home we stopped by Gettysburg and so Elisa got an extra dose of US history and was able to connect the words inscribed inside on the right hand wall of the Lincoln Memorial to the place where they were pronounced.
Yesterday a different kind of memorial: the funeral service for Rod Hough. Lots and lots of people. Rod died quite unexpectedly, so I was a little surprised at what a "festive" atmosphere seemed to dominate. I stood in line for over an hour to make my way to the family to offer condolences and during the wait got to greet lots and lots of folks, mainly from AA, who I hadn't seen in a couple of years.
And today it's up to New York to bring the young malagueña to JFK. Another little detail for my memory: as I write my forearms feel on fire: the itching of poison ivy. Oh man, am I stupid! Know your weeds!