It has taken too long to post our trip to Washington, D.C. to see my youngest daughter, Kelly. Honestly, I hate the idea of bragging about her. Who doesn’t hate it when some family member goes on and on about their children? But, I must just a bit.
Thousands upon thousands send their children off to college every year. We all have tried to approach Kelly’s six-month internship as exactly that. It isn’t. Our trip to Washington only proved that to me. This is a 19-year-old living in very adult world.
Kelly has grown up fast. She had no choice. Throughout our stay, I found myself marveling often over all Kelly has learned, how she has adjusted to the dramatic changes in life style and how hard she has approached her work. Throughout it all, she seems to have remained true to her faith and remained a Kansan at heart, anxious to get back to Washburn and then a campaign job come summer and fall. I couldn’t be more proud.
Now on to the high’s and lows beyond just seeing Kelly face-to-face again.
Dining Our Way Through D.C.: We have a rule when we travel. Every meal must be local. Kelly has fully adopted that policy. She had a long list of favorites and new options for us to try. From a local pizza joint near her office to the classy Tabard Inn, we didn’t have a bad meal, or a small meal. Good thing we walked enough to keep the weight gain minimal.
Blue Bucks: The best pancakes I have ever tasted. Buckwheat cakes filled with blueberries at the Eastern Market’s Farmers’ Market. That sure is confusing. Kelly lives in Eastern Market, a very popular D.C. neighborhood, in an apartment shared with two others. Every Saturday at the nearby farmers’ market people line up early for the famed breakfast. We stood in line for close to an hour, but it was worth the wait. The owner helps make the experience. Imagine a cleaned up “Cheeseburger, Pepsi” routine from the early Saturday Night Live days. You better know what it is you are ordering and don’t screw around chatting with friends once you get your food. There are posted rules. Seating is limited. Get down to it and move on. Trust me there is plenty to see at the Market. Everything was great, but don’t miss the Blue Bucks.
Good Stuff Eatery: Run by a former Top Chef contestant who is there every day in a very hand’s on way. This burger joint takes everyone’s favorite to new heights in a very healthy way. The ladies had burgers. I went for the turkey burger on a wonderful whole grain bun. Just days after our visit to Good Stuff, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and one of her daughters grabbed a burger and shake.
Founding Farmers: A few blocks from the White House, it was the atmosphere that we enjoyed the most at this hip eatery. Stylish in a recycled way. Very green. When your daughter’s fight is for clean air and resource conservation, these things take on even more importance.
The Tackle Box: Great little fish joint in Georgetown. Laura’s friend Susan Sebert took us there when we were in Washington with the KU basketball team after the national championship season. This time we got to introduce Kelly to great fish and wonderful sweet potato fries.
The Metro: Kelly takes the Metro every day. She has grown weary of breakdowns, tourists hogging the escalators and the walks between stops from both her apartment and work. Yet, she truly appreciates the ease with which the Metro operates. She has the system down pat. Laura’s sense of direction is awesome. We never needed it. Kelly, truly, was our guide.
The Capitol Hill Suites: Just a few blocks from the Capitol and right behind the Library of Congress, our hotel room was most comfortable at a very reasonable rate for D.C. We hope to get back again in November to see Kelly. We will be back at the hotel when we do.
The Sites at Night: As beautiful as it is to see the famed buildings and Memorials during the day, they take on such a special quality at night. How can anything possibly beat the stretch from the Washington Monument past the World War II Memorial, along the reflection pond, the Vietnam Memorial with a finish at the greatest of all, the Lincoln Memorial? Poor Thomas Jefferson. How did his glorious Memorial get so far from the action? Finally, there is no match for our Nation’s Capitol.
Integration: Washington sure seemed like a very young city to us. We’ve been there many times as tourists and not like we were on this trip to see Kelly. Everywhere we went there were large groups of young people out on the town right after work. What made that so cool was the mixing of races in those groups. Many had four and five different ethnic backgrounds. Clearly, there was no thought given to that mix, it just happens and life goes rocking along. I wish we’d see more of that in Topeka and even in Lawrence. Gives me great hope for our future.
The Dress: It caught my eye as we walked by a dress shop window. I backtracked and there it was. Beautiful. I knew it was made for Laura. She knew it too. The look in her eye when she tried it on made me so happy. Gorgeous band after band of brown so well put together. And, it was on sale. Heavens. I now have to find every opportunity I can to allow her to wear it. I promise photos the first time she does.
Sweetgreen: Tart frozen yogurt with fresh berries on top. So refreshing. Yum.
The Tabard Inn: The food was very good, but that’s not the point. This was about the company. Susan Biddle and Chris Johns. Flat doesn’t get much better than those two. Both are former Capital-Journal photographers. Both took their skills to some super heights. Susan, looking as classy as ever, is a former White House and Washington Post photographer. Chris is nothing less than the Editor in Chief of the National Geographic, but is still one of the most wonderful friends ever. The visit was far too short. Thanks to you both.
Missing the Evening Parade: None of us knew that just a short way from Kelly’s area, the Marine Band, which performs over 500 times a year, presents the Evening Parade on Friday nights during the summer. Hard to believe a Marine barracks is set in a Washington neighborhood. I hope Kelly will take it in before she leaves.
Not much else: This was a very special trip. Seeing Kelly thriving in the big city made everything better. I am blessed to have two wonderful daughters. I thank the Lord for the opportunity He has given Kelly. Change the world, Kelly.
The Bills: It has been a long summer of travel. What fun. Now we have to figure out how to pay for that fun. That and the fact we are already planning for next summer.
For photographs from Washington, click here.