SOUR GRAPES: Soooo

By Jim Magdefrau

Is it a reflection of my active lifestyle? I’m doing more research now on things I sit on and things I sleep on.

* * *

Soooooooooooo. The elephant in the room.

I can’t really comment on what’s going on now, because it’s very fluid.

I can only look back. Yes, I’ve been in the House Chamber. I’ve been in the Senate Chamber. Back then, it was a thing called “tours.”

My folks made a point to take their grandchildren, in shifts, to visit Washington D.C., coinciding with the government affairs conference Dad was involved in through the newspaper association.

Even though there were no conferences anymore, they took me along to chaperone the two youngest nephews.

We had us a time.

Sen. Grassley’s office has always been great with us, and lined up a tour. On the senate floor, we heard Fritz Hollings and Lamar Alexander speak from their lecterns. No other people were on the floor other than the typist, presiding senator and staff. But they spoke as if the hall was filled with a huge crowd. Burned into my memory is the blue carpet. And the way the typist smiled in support of whatever was being said.

In the House, we saw an informal gathering on the floor. We saw Jim Nussle, whom we visited earlier that day in the hallways of his office building. We talked guitars. He was talking with Dr. Tom Osborne, which impressed my Nebraska nephew.

Statuary Hall. Just outside of House. There’s a way to whisper in one spot, and it ends up being heard in another part of the hall. At that very time, the co-star of “Ferris Bueller” had his family on the tour, and was in one of the magic spots. I was tempted to say, “Swing batter batter batter.” But I didn’t. I respected the decorum of where I was.

It was where Lincoln walked. In the nearby rotunda was where Kennedy and other presidents lain in state.

I’ll never forget.

Now I see pictures of people hiding for safety in the galleries that we had visited. Not once did it occur to us that it was a good idea to jump down from the galleries and on to the floor. Or that anyone ever would.

That was then.

There are some things I will never forget. And now, there are things I can’t forget.

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