Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

It’s been a great day to be in the USA. There is something about this inauguration that has brought people together in a very special way. I arrived at a KOA campground in Junction, Texas last evening after several hundred miles of dry, rolling hill country. I was cautioned to be careful about how much water I used as we were on the edge of the desert and there had been an 18 month drought. But wonder of wonders, this little campground in the middle of nowhere had cable TV. I indulged in CNN’s pre-inauguration coverage. When I got up this morning, I did something I haven’t done since I started this trip last May – I turned on the television.

I was mesmerized by the crowds already gathered on the mall. It was early (8 am in DC) and cold but the crowds were as jubilant as they were the night Obama was elected. I decided to wait until after Obama’s speech before I started driving for the day. I went for a walk, did some laundry and returned to the van for the swearing in and speech.

While I was in the laundry room, I met a man (his wife was glued to their TV, he told me, so he was doing the laundry) who said he had voted republican all his life but voted for Obama this time. He said that he felt the US was really changing – even in the Deep South – and that the country was moving from just right of centre to just left of centre. He felt that this was the right time for this move. He headed back in time to watch the swearing in and the speech, too.

When I went to the office to let the folks know that I’d be leaving a bit late because I wanted to watch Obama’s speech, they waived the late checkout fee. They had their TV on, too.

I was a bit concerned as I watched the earlier coverage: the Obamas were late getting to the church, the president-elect looked somber and worried as he walked down the corridor to the swearing in ceremony, he stumbled on the first line of the oath of office. I wondered if he was aware of some threat that perhaps the rest of us weren’t aware of. But then he took the podium and the Obama we had seen stir the crowds during the campaign clicked in. His speech was masterfully written and masterfully delivered. It was Obama at his oratorical finest.

I’m now sitting in the middle of the west Texas desert (Ft. Stockton) at another campground. Somewhere in the drive across the desert, the last radio station faded out. Tonight, despite the fact that the campground information says you should be able to pull three TV channels from the air, my wonderful new TV can’t find anything. While I can find a few radio stations, National Public Radio (NPR) is not among them. And the rest of the stations seem to be religious or country and western. But the campground’s free WI FI is working just fine. So I plan to post this blog and curl up with a good book. There’s a turn off here that cuts up to New Mexico via Pecos. So tomorrow I’ll take that road and be in New Mexico tomorrow night.

Janet, a friend from Calgary is going to be in Santa Fe this weekend and I'll met here there for drinks or church or maybe both!

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