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A Favorite Memory From Inauguration Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   

One week ago right now I was at the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C., watching the lead-up to the re-swearing in of President Barack Obama.  I'd heard all the horror stories about people getting locked out of D.C. or trapped in a tunnel, and I wanted to make sure I got to where I needed to be, so I woke up that morning at around 4:30, showered, put on lots of layers (too many) and drove in around 5:30 a.m.

I got to Capitol Hill around 6:00 a.m.  Here's what the Capitol looked like at 6:00 a.m.

Capitol at 6 am

I stopped at the apartment where my inauguration date was staying and we headed towards our entrance around 7:15 a.m., stopping at a little corner market to pick up "breakfast."  (A dry-ish tuna salad sandwich for me.)  We probably got to our seats around 7:30 or 7:45 a.m., settled in and started to scope out our surroundings.

We had pretty good seats, thanks to Senator Heitkamp's office. We were on the North "blue" seated section. We weren't sitting with the senators, but we also weren't sitting behind the Washington Monument.  Here's a photo I took from my seat, for perspective.

Inauguration Seat

You can only see the corner of it in the photo, but there's a jumbo-tron behind the person standing in front of me.  As it turns out, we pretty much watched the whole thing on the jumbo-tron. It was a lot like watching it on TV at home, only colder, and with a lot more people.  Oh, and awesome.

At some point my date headed to the ladies room and I was standing next to our seats, in the aisle, trying to stay warm. As I stood there, I couldn't help but overhear the woman behind me talking on the phone.  I wasn't paying attention to what she was saying, but eventually I heard her say the words "South Dakota," "law school" and "Tessa," all in about a two minute window. When she got off the phone, I turned to her and said, "I don't mean to be an eavesdropper, but I couldn't help but overhear you say two things: 'south dakota' and 'tessa'. Any chance that's [Heidi Heitkamp's campaign manager and Chief-of-Staff] Tessa Gould?" She said it was, and a whole conversation ensued.

At some point while we were talking she said Tessa had introduced her to someone at the Dakota Territory party the night before, and wondered if I might know who it was. She dug out her phone, showed me the picture. 

******

Side note, for context.

Some of you probably need some background here.  Jon Stewart did a bit on "The Daily Show" where he compared the homogenous attendees at the Republican national convention last year to the diverse crowd at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.  In his bit, he rattled off a variety of different types of people in Charlotte:

"You had Black people, Asians, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, hippies, veterans, babies, 1940s boxing reporters, 1840s sheriff, Na'vi Americans, gay service droids, muppet Americans, and, of course, Newman."  

(See this video clip, especially at about 1:30 on the ticker)

Here's the photo Stewart showed with the "1840s Sheriff" guy.

SImage_112

******

I looked at the photo. It was of the woman I was talking to, and two other men. I pointed at one of them and said, "Oh, that's 1850's Sheriff guy."  [I was off by one decade.]

She said, "No, not him. That's my husband. I'm talking about the other guy."

<awkward>"Oh."</awkward>

I looked again and said, "Oh!  That's Earl Pomeroy."  

Anyway, we had a good laugh. She said her husband gets that all the time. People will approach him and want to have their picture taken with him. She works for South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson.  Her name was Sharon, and she was great company.  I saw her husband, Larry, at the DNC meeting the next day and went over to introduce myself.  They're both good people.  Turns out they're both friends with Tessa.  

Small world.


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