Me, Julie (circled), with Mom trying to catch-up with Dad.
I cannot believe that theyíre in first class while Iím here with my creepo brother Billy, least I donít have to be with the really embarrassing part of the family! Dad wanted to use up miles, well he could have let me and Mom, or better yet just me, ride up there, thereís probably cute boys up there. And Billy is such a kiss-up, telling them to have fun up there and eat all the ice cream they want. Yeah right, he only wants them to let him do something that no one else wants to do later. Ooh-cute boy! Is he looking at me? Oh no, heís looking at that old flight attendant. No heís going up to where the magazines are? Heís turning to me. Billy gets up and says that they donít have magazines anymore. He says to ask the flight attendant for a newspaper. He looks like the guy on the Gilllmore Girls, that show I donít watch anymore.
Ooh, heís gonna talk to me. Nooooo he thanked Billy and turns around and walks back up the aisle. Thanks dorky, I ready want to give him an elbow when I get this idea: I offer Billy two dollars to sit here alone during most of the flight so I can go back and sit next to that really cute guy or anyone else just as long as Iím not up here with dorky. He gets one dollar now, the other when we land. Heís just got to say Iím in the bathroom when Mom or Dad check. Right. Sound real easy for the dork. Right.
Wroooooong, Iím sitting next to this other really cute guy for all of ten minutes and heís actually asking me something when Mom oh so slowly comes up the aisle, checking out each row of seats. It wouldnít be so bad but sheís got swamp green sweats on and finds me real fast and in that voice of hers ask me why Iím not with Billy. The dorkís going to die tonight.
I get up and turn up the aisle toward where the bathrooms are. She follows me and, when we get back there, I turn around and tell her not to embarrass me and that Billy is sooooo annoying. Mom tells me to go back to my seat. I tell her Iím standing outside of the head for a reason. She says sheís going to be waiting for me next to Billy. I go into the head and close the door.
I walk back to where Billy waaaaas sitting. Momís in Billy seat and she tells me Billyís gonna sit up with Dad in first class. I want to have fun too! But of course, thatís impossible with my family. The dork most definitely dies tonight.
Itís been two days of walking and listening
about stuff you go to school for.
Weíve walked through the White House,
didnít see W or anyone important,
then the Capitol, then down to
George Washingtonís Mount Vernon.
Today weíre walking towards some memorials in particular Vietnam. I really do not want to be here right now. I really donít want to go to see the names of poor dead people carved on some wall; itís going to be soooooo depressing. I donít mind the Washington tower or whatever with the view or FDRís cause everythingís explained. Weíre almost at the Lincoln which looks kinda neat with kids seating on the steps and all but we turn right and go down a path the leads to a clump of trees and some statues. Big deal. But we donít spend much time looking at the statue, Dad leads the way while Mom takes us by the hands and we follow Dad to like this giant groove carved out of the grass with this stone wall that starts out like a curb but slowly gets higher as you walk down thepath to were the names are. It gets real quiet Ė more solemn.
People standing, kneeling, staring at the wall or looking down, and then thereís people with paper and pencil tracing the names. Thereís some people with flowers and I notice that sometimes thereís just one flower below a row of names and I spot this ladder cause the wall seems to be twice as tall as Dad, some need it cause the names go all the way to the top.
Dad seems to know whereís heís going, heís way ahead; Mon tells us to look around and take our time. Mom tells us sheís lucky that she wasnít close to anyone that died in that war but Dad has memories. Mom tells me Dad was one of the last ones over there when they were still fighting. I didnít know that. †
Thatís when like I start feeling incredibly sad for Dad now Ė after seeing him stop at different places to look, then feel the names, then look down. The three of us just looked at him for a long time but it didnít seem that long.
After a while the three of us walk over to Dad and he holds our hands.
And I was glad to be there.