Washington D.C. Mall
Washington D.C. - May-
Fri. 5/26- Buffalo, N.Y.
We arose early, at 4:45 A.M., to finish packing and load the car. It was still dark out as we quickly traversed the local roads to Buffalo's International Airport. We pulled into the East entrance and found the "long term" parking lot.($11.25 per day)Even at this early hour, most of the spaces were filled. We parked the car and wheeled our bags in to the U.S. Air terminal to check in for our 7:00 A.M. flight to Washington D.C.. Thus unencumbered, we ambled over and sat down in " Jake's" coffee spot for bagels and coffee while we read the morning paper.($7.24)
As 6:30 A.M. approached, we walked over to gate #5 where shortly we were called to board flight # 2275 for Washington D.C. An entire class of school children, from a Lockport middle school, were boarding with us.They were excited and chatty at the prospect of their class trip to the nation's capital. It brought a smile to us watching the kids. I wondered at the casual affluence that allowed an entire class of middle class kids to jet off to Washington for the weekend. I remember my own senior high school trip. It was a bus ride to Toronto for the day. Times change, I guess.
The flight was smooth and uneventful. One hour later we flew into Regan National Airport and recovered our bags without incident. A shuttle bus took us to the Herz car rental facility where we picked up a tan Ford Contour for $35 per day.The ride in from National wasn't difficult, just confusing. After a few wrong turns, we found the Capitol Hill Holiday Inn on 6th and Maryland. It has an underground garage($12 per day).We asked at the desk and were pleasantly surprised that we could check in so early in the morning. An affable clerk,who was on the first day of her job, was walked through the process of checking in by an older colleague. We were assigned room # 448, for $139 per night plus $20 tax and parking.
We set out for our assault on the National Mall. It was sunny and in the mid sixties out, an excellent day for walking. The Mall was already filled with tourists from everywhere as we walked along its length to our destination, the Holocaust Museum, near the Washington monument.
Along the way, we passed by and admired the chalky- red, crenellated bastion of the original Smithsonian Museum. It was and is the dream of an eccentric Englishman who bequeathed $150,000 to the U.S.Government in the mid nineteeth century. Against the clear blue sky we could see the capitol building at one end of the Mall and the Washington monuments sitting astride its middle. They are impressive sights, even for an old political hand like myself. It reminded me again that there is a noble philosophical underpinning to our system of government, one that men and women fought and died for.
As we crossed onto the Blvd. Raoul Wallenberg, named after a Swedish Diplomat who had helped thousands of Jewish refugees escape extinction during WW II, we saw a large crowd assembled in front of the National Holocaust Museum. We had gotten 11:30 A.M. passes on the internet to see the permanent collection, but were still required to stand in line with the multitudes to get inside.
The façade of the museum is stark in design, with frequent use of gray cement blocks and steel girders to reflect the portals of a train station. The intended effect is to transport one mentally to the nightmare surrounding the holocaust. In contrast, it was sunny and warm out. After twenty five minutes, we entered into the museum through a metal detector portal.
The interior courtyard is open and airy, perhaps in counterpoint to what we were about to see. We were a little early for the 11:30 A.M. tour, so we stood and watched the eclectic array of "touristus Americanus" that always fascinates us. Kids from the mid west and the Northeast mingled freely as they stood or browsed or fidgeted in groups. Most were far too young to have any real understanding of what we were about to see and experience.
At 11:30 A.M., we were each given an I.D card of an actual holocaust victim to add a touch of reality to the visit. Then, a small group of 30 of us were crammed into a wooden elevator for the creaky ride up to the 4th floor of the museum. The self guided tour would then let you freely wander down the floors until you reached the first floor and the exit.
We got off on the fourth floor and faced, for lack of a better term, what could be characterized as the "nazi horror hall of fame." It is a collection of sights, pictures, sounds and news reels detailing the rise of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany. The speeches were awash in anti Semitic language and the strutting, swaggering manner of the Nazis was there in stark detail. One of the exhibits included the "Wansee Protocol" a meeting of the German high command to determine the "final solution" to the “Jewish Problem.” Curiously, this floor lacked menace.The Nazi figures appeared as buffoonish figures from a Wagnerian opera, clad in elaborate costumes. I thought, somewhat perversely, that the curators had assembled here something that skinheads and other race haters might even think of as a shrine to the Nazi's. Perception , I suppose, is different in each of us. Maybe the display, of an orderly accesion to power in Germany by the Nazis, is meant to show us that it can happen again.
On the lower floors are more poignant exhibits. We walked underneath the heavy metal gate with the wrought iron escutceon.It spelled out the cruel words in German”Arbeit Macht frei.” (Work will make you free.) Millions of refugees had seen that site as they marched into the camps and on to their extinction. The photos portrayed it all, the selection lines, the crematoriums and everything else that was part of the sophisticated killing machine constructed by the Nazi’s. Two reconstructed “ovens,” similar to those that were used to cremate corpses, stood in mute testimonmial to the evil for which they had been employed
In miniature, a sculptor had crafted three scenes showing hundreds of Jewish prisoners on their final trip to the gas chambers.The stark representation of the lines of small figures filing into the showers, removing their clothing, while a nazi soldier dumped Xyklon-b poison gas pellets, through an air vent in the roof, is moving.The last piece of the display portrays a Dante like inferno representation of hundreds of people dying from the gas.It is something that remains with me, a disturbing and vivid imagery of modern horror.
There are other moving exhibits, like the “sea of shoes." It is an area filled with hundreds of shoes that survived the mass interments after the executions. The shoes and the “Shtetls,” an area composed of hundreds of family pictures of holocaust victims, make you stop and think. These were people just like us who had been murdered in the millions by monsters, all of whom lived normal lives and had families of their own.
The cattle car, an example of that which the victims were transported to their concentration camps in, was also eerily graphic. Curiously, the torture tools and killing devices looked almost antiseptic sitting in their display cases. In and of themselves, they lacked the menace of those that held and used them in such awful ways.
As you enter the Hall of Remembrance, you feel a quiet awe and a reverence. You sit and look around the circular vault at the names of the scores of concentration camps emblazoned on the walls. Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Theresenstadt,Dachau, they stand out vividly as representations of the pure evil that they were. Votive candles burn silently in front of each, giving the scene an ephemeral mysticism. The walls are marble and vaulted. The effect is of both a synagogue/church and a sepulcher. The permanent flame burns brightly as a centerpiece of the shrine, so that none shall ever forget the millions who died in these places. It is both inspirational and thought provoking. Those whose families were murdered must have a difficult time viewing all of these exhibits so casually on display.
The over all effect of the museum is to forge forever in the present day a memory of what happened during those satanic years in Germany. The hope is that if enough people remember, it will never happen again. As we exited the museum into the bright sunlight, it felt as if we were awakening from a bad dream.The sky was still blue and the sun shining, yet inside was a memory of something awful.
We stopped at a streetside vendor and bought two bottles of Evian mineral water for $4. Keeping yourself hydrated in the heat is something you have to pay attention to. We walked up and around the central presence of the Washington Monument, turning to the path along the tidal basin. Joggers, walkers and tourists flowed in a steady stream through the leafy venue.The ever present school buses lined the roadway and a group of kids were enjoying box lunches on the grass. We had thought to have lunch at the museum but they have no cafeteria.
Next, we came upon a grassy section of the mall that was roped off and guarded by police. In the meadow we saw "Marine 1" warming up her rotors. It is the helicopter that ferries the president from the White House to Camp David and Andrews Air Force Base. It was accompanied by two other choppers of similar design. All three lifted off and flew in the general direction of the White House. Maybe Bill and Hillary were headed out to the mountains for the holiday.
The path continues along the Ellipse. We enjoyed the sun and warm temperatures. Across the ellipse we could see the columned splendor of the Jefferson Memorial, with its rounded dome. Everywhere you look in downtown Washington the buildings are stately. They have the grandeur of an ancient Athens or Rome.
Finally, we came upon the FDR Monument. It is more like a small park really. There are four separate display areas in massive limestone settings with water falling throughout them from above. They depict various eras in FDR's life. Several of his more famous quotations like "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" are engraved on the limestone walls. Eleanor has her own statue and setting, giving her a prominence not often afforded to other first ladies in Washington. The Tennessee Valley Authority creation was set appropriately in a dam and water falls setting. Curiously moving is a file of disheveled men representing a “bread line” from the depression. Many of FDR’s programs were designed to get our people back to work. My own father worked in the pine forests of Georgia in the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of Roosevelt’s programs.
Lastly, we came upon the seated representation of the great man himself. FDR sat with a large cape around him and only the corner of his wheel chair peeking out. His beloved dog “Fala” sat at his feet. We dutifully rubbed Fala's head like millions of others. It was shiny from all of the visitors attentions.
Much of the Roosevelt subject matter depicted here reflects the trauma of WW II and the great depression, the times that the patrician Roosevelt led this nation. I wondered if anyone of less a stature and force of character could have carried us through such a terrible period. Lincoln, Washington, FDR, these were truly men who were possessed of a character and courage that was outside the ordinary. Our history has been replete with men and women who have met the challenge of terrible times and carried us safely through them. We have much to be proud of in our country. I think it is the setting of the monuments that makes you think of who and what we are. I was glad that we had come here.
From the FDR monument, we wandered across the meadow and espied in the distance perhaps the most famous of all the presidential memorials, that to our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. It looks from afar like the Acropolis in Athens, a Grecian columned façade with steep marble steps.We walked along towards it, stopping at a refreshment kiosk to have a sandwich and another bottle of water. We sat on the bench and enjoyed the flow of people from all over.I heard on several occasions around me the multilingual patois of people from across the world who had come to visit our nation's capital.
Near the refreshment kiosk stands another equally impressive, yet less well known monument, the Korean War Memorial. As you approach it, there appears an apparent column of life sized stone figures, walking on combat patrol, eyes ever wary of snipers and attack.They are dressed in full battle gear with rain ponchos on. They look like men at war.The sight must be eerie in the mist of a rainy day or in the falling snow. It would transport you to that frozen hell of Korea, a place where another 50,000 American men and women paid the price for liberty. Along the walkway is enscribed a list, in raised letters, depicting the many nations that had fought along side of us in this "police action." I was only a small boy during the Korean War and the bitterness and rancor that the nation went through during this conflict are unknown to me except as historical narrative. Behind the men is a black marble wall. The faces of several scores of men are etched in the stone. They appear almost as wraith like apparitions. For those who fought at Inchon, the Chosin reservoir and along the Yalu river, it must bring back many powerful memories.
From the Korean monument, we walked across the enclosed street and stood upon the white marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial.We could look back along the length of the reflecting pool to the Washington monument in the distance. Scores of weary tourists were sitting about the steps as we made our way to the top. There, back in the alcove, sits the famous statue of arguably our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. Emblazoned above him are the immortal words that begin the Gettysburg address, something almost every school kid in America can quote from. We stood for a while reading a few of his speeches engraved on the marble walls. Lincoln was a frontiersman who had held the nation together during the awful conflict of the Civil War. It is no wonder to me that we never think of Lincoln smiling. His burdens must have been heavy. His assassination always make me think of JFK's. I wonder often how and why these men subject themselves to the travail of public office.
We sat for a time, like the others, at the top of the steps and looked out along the reflecting pool. We were enjoying the day and each other's company, happy to be here. After our brief respite, we set out for one last monument, the one that means more to my generation than any other. The Viet Nam Monument is just a few hundred yards along the reflecting pool from the Lincoln monument. It sits quietly a black marble chevron against a grassy bank. It rises from both wings to a high point in the middle. The 50,000 names that are engraved on the marble face of the wall are listed in the order of time that they fell in battle. Many families and friends leave medals, flags, pictures and an eclectic array of mementos near the base of the wall where their loved one’s name is carved.
As we walked by, I thought of the sixties when most of this war had taken place. Many of the kids I grew up with fought along side of these men in the far battle fields of Southeast Asia. My own brother Pat had seen action as a combat medic in the central highland of I Corps. His platoon had been overrun and he was captured by the Viet Cong for a time before escaping into the jungle. What hell and horror he saw I will never know. I have only seen him once since that awful conflict and he was not ready to say anything about it.
A few other school chums had their names carved on that wall. I reflected for a moment on who and what they were, just ordinary kids like me who had given the highest sacrifice so that we could remain free. This is the essence of the monuments in Washington and what they mean to us.
From the Viet Nam memorial, we set off down Independence Ave. for the hotel. We had walked 6 or 7 miles today and I was fast tiring. We sat occasionally on benches and watched the tourists walk by. The traffic was now trying to crawl out of town. As we walked along this storied Avenue, the government buildings appeared stately and oversized. I felt like I knew what it was to walk along the Vias of Imperial Rome at the height of her glory. Washington is an impressive city.
We passed by the outdoor sculpture garden of the National Gallery and enjoyed the interesting sculptures inside.We were looking forward toward our visit there on Sunday. Finally, we limped back to the Holiday Inn and luxuried in air conditioned comfort as we drank some iced tea. I wrote up my notes and settled in to relax after the long day. Had we only just arrived here this morning? A brief nap claimed and reinvigorated us.
At 7:00 P.M. we reclaimed the car and set out along 7th St. for the river area, hoping to enjoy one of the several seafood restaurants located there.The traffic was jammed solid and the parking lots were full. We reversed gears and returned along 7th to Independence Ave. We drove several blocks past the capitol to a small residential area where we espied a Mexican restaurant, "Las Lomita Dos." It is small and charming.We settled in for some burrito dinners and icy cold Dos Equis beer. It was pretty good and at $26, inexpensive for Washington. After dinner we walked along the streets of the neighborhood and enjoyed the warm evening. A few of the restaurants nearby have outdoor patios. Many patrons sat and enjoyed their food and beverages in the balmy night air.We were tiring from the day. We saddled up the car and returned to the hotel to read and let the arms of morpheus envelop us. It had been a long and interesting day.
Saturday,5/27- Washington D.C.
We arose early, showered and headed out along Independence Ave. We stopped at the "Bagelry" near the Capitol and read the morning papers with our coffee and bagels.
Driving along 7th St. N. to New York Ave, we turned East and headed out of town. The rows of dilapidated brownstones along New York Ave. are stark reminders of the urban blight besetting Washington. We continued along N.Y. Ave until it turned into Rte. # 50. It would take us across Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay bridge and all the way to Ocean City if we wished.
After we crossed Chesapeake Bay, on this majestic bridge, I began to see the change of landscape that would mark the Eastern shore of the bay as rural and slower paced. We turned onto rte. # 322 and then West onto rte.# 33 heading for the charming shopping village of St. Michael's, Maryland. A light drizzle was falling. The 85 mile drive had taken us almost two hours from the capitol. In heavy traffic it could easily be twice that.
In St.Michael's, we parked the car in a municipal lot and headed down towards the bay. A small pedestrian bridge led us up to the St.Michael's Maritime Museum. For $7.50 each we were admitted to the entire waterfront area and a complex of museums and boat building shops that were interesting. We saw museums detailing the steam ship and maritime history of the bay. Others exhibits showed the various types of watercraft and fishing techniques employed to harvest crabs, oysters and other marine delicacies from the bay.
The rain was coming down harder now as we strolled between buildings. We opted to head next-door to the museum area to the two story restaurant " the Crab's Claw." It was crowded, but we managed to get a window side table so we could watch the various harbor traffic and activities. We had ice tea. The crab soup is delicious. Then, a crab quiche and some corn bread rolls finished us off. We were stuffed. The tab was a reasonable $30 and we would return to this restaurant if we could. As we left the restaurant we waded through a mob of hungry tourists waiting to get in. It was pouring rain by now, so we waded on back to the car under umbrellas, glad to be out of the rain. Browsing the many shops and boutiques would have to wait for another trip.
We followed Rte # 33 and #322 back to Rte.# 50 W. and headed back towards Washington. The rain was heavy and the roads were slick. It was like driving through a car wash. We recrossed the Chesapeake Bay bridge and finally sailed on into Washington. The rains had abated for a time. We parked on "D" Street near the capitol and wandered on into the research building that is the heart and soul of the Library of Congress. Most of the offices were closed for the day. We browsed about and then headed across the street to the capitol grounds. A very long line of tourists stood waiting just to walk into the capitol, so we passed on that idea. We walked around the building and watched the activity surrounding the lawn on the West face of the building.They were setting up for a large concert Sunday evening in honor of Memorial day. The air was heavy with moisture and felt clammy. The view West towards the Washington Monument is majestic. This is a federal city of outsized buildings and monuments that compares favorably to any of the many foreign capitals that we have visited.
We walked across 1st Ave. and stopped in the domed and more recognizable building that is the Library of Congress. A large line was waiting to get to see the domed, central reading room of the Library. We settled for the gift shop. Across the street sits an even more venerable and impressive building, that of the Supreme Court. Its marble fore court and 16 columned façade is flanked by statues of Justice and law that sit on either side of the entrance steps. We had been fortunate enough to watch the court in session on another occasion. The words engraved in the stone above the building are inspiring, but what I know of the court's history makes the building even more important to me. Here lies the heart and the guardian of the American concept of democracy. From its halls the decrees are issued that protect all of our personal liberties. Even though the building was closed, groups of school kids collected in front of it just to be near so famous an institution.
It was clouding up again and the promise of rain was in the air. We drove back to the hotel and settled in to chill out and catch up on some reading and note writing. A brief nap helped revive us.
At 9:00 P.M. we descended to the Lobby of the hotel and walked back to the "Smithson" restaurant. The place had been mobbed all night and the staff looked a little besieged. We had a nice salad bar with some Chianti and then Pasta Primavera, which was tolerable if not well prepared. It was better than venturing out into the heavy rain and the uncertain traffic.The tab was a reasonable $40. We headed back to the room to read, watch some television and enjoy being in out of the rain. It had been another long and interesting day.
Sunday 5/28- Washington D.C.
We were up early. It was gray outside with a slight drizzle. The temperature was 59 degrees. We got some coffee and rolls from the in-house deli and read the morning paper.
At 10:00 A.M. we walked over 7th st., across the mall and at 600 Constitution Ave, walked up to the National gallery of Art. It was 30 minutes before the first day of the new Impressionist exhibition and there were already two hundred people lined up in front of the building. We waited dutifully and when the doors opened, we entered and stood in line for the French Impressionist collection. Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Calleibotte were featured most prominently. As many impressionist collections as we have seen, it never ceases to amaze me the number that we haven't viewed. The color, light and perspective of these works is inspiring. One of Monet's works, that of a young woman with parasol in a light blue dress, was riveting. Renoir's use of deep blues and greens as always held my attention. Sisley and Calleibotte were new for me. I enjoyed their use of angled perspectives. From different vantage points and distances, the light and texture of the images changes subtly like sunlight at different times of the day. If I see another twenty of these collections it won't be enough.
Somewhat dazed from the Impressionists, we wandered through the gallery's permanent collection. On casual display were a dozen Rembrandts, including his famous “self portrait." Steen, Van Dyke and several others completed the "Dutch Masters" collection. In the "American halls" we saw several attractive John Singer Sargent's and a few Whistler's. There were other Italian and Spanish works, from the 14 th century on, but after the first few hours in a museum the glaze forms over my eyes and the remainder becomes an artistic blur.
We crossed the small plaza that separates the East and West buildings of the Gallery. On the street level plaza there are several small glass pyramids that resemble I.M.Pei's entrance to the Louvre. Amidst them is a small spraying fountain. Underneath is an underground corridor that connects the two buildings. Along it sits an entire cafeteria area of the Gallery that faces a waterfall descending from above. The sky shows through from the skylights of the small glass pyramids.
In the East building we saw a small sign that said "Mellon collection." Mon Dieu! There are a few dozen small Impressionist paintings that used to hang in the Mellon's home. Each one was a gem of the Impressionist school. You had to wonder at the wealth that could accumulate so many valuable paintings in a private collection. The rest of the East Building houses Calder Mobiles, painted bed sheets and the usual nonsense that passes for modern art. It wasn't to my taste.
In the basement of the gallery, we sat for a time with good starbuck's coffee and chocolate cookies, enjoying the restful tableau that the waterfall provided us. From here, we recrossed into the West Building. On the next street corner over, we entered into the outdoor sculpture garden of the national gallery. A large spraying fountain sits at the center of a ring path lined with statuary and an eclectic array of sculptures. We were taken with one that resembles a large rabbit posed as Rodin's famous "le Penseur" (the thinker.) Another white, stone Aztec pyramid is interesting. Some of the others they could break up for paving stones and get better use out of them.
In the background, we could hear the enormous roar of several thousand motor cycles of the "rolling thunder" project. It was a tribute by Viet Vets and a bid that the MIA's not be forgotten. They rode down Constitution and up Independence Avenues in a continuous loop.The noise gave me a headache. We crossed through the pack of cycles and sought refuge in another famous enclave, the U.S. Archive Building. Here, set in a metal case behind argon or boron gas, lies the holy of holies, " The Declaration of Independence." You couldn't really see too much of it because of the preserving gas but "We the People" stood out pretty well. Several of the more prominent signers were recognizable. It felt like a visit to a shrine, which in fact it is. There are other historic documents to be sure but the declaration is the "holy grail."
Curiously, a copy of the Magna Charta is on display. It had been acquired at a cost of the odd million dollars or so by Ross Perot and donated to the Government. It is one of seventeen copies of the original document signed at Runnymede, in England, By King John in 1215. Each of the seventeen then reigning Dukes received a copy at the time. Apparently this ducal branch had run into financial troubles and sold off their heritage. I wonder how long it will take in the future for some wealthy Arab or Japanese family to start buying pieces of our history. I hope I am not around to see that.
We had planned to stop by the Hirschorn gallery to view the Salvatore Dali exhibit, but the lines were considerable, so we passed on that. We returned to the hotel and had tuna sandwiches and designer water in the deli for $10. It was cool and muggy out, so we returned to the room to write up our notes, chill out and watch some of the memorial Golf Tournament. The rains came like the flood. The concert on the Mall was going to be a wet one and certainly was going to be minus us. We settled in for a conversation with Ozzie Nelson(nap).
At 9:00 P.M. we set out in the car for a late dinner. We returned to the area on Independence near the Capitol and settled down into "Il Raddichio." The pasta was very good as was the Chianti.($41) The noise level from a birthday party chased us out into the peace of the rainy night.
We drove up Independence and enjoyed the view of the capitol and the Lincoln Monuments lit up at night. We got crossed up a few times and drove across the memorial bridge twice before getting our bearings back and heading back towards the hotel to call it a night. We were tired and ready to go home.
Monday 5/29-Washington D.C.
We were up early and finished packing for our return flight. We had some Starbuck's coffee and rolls and readied to set out. The express check out was easy and the final tab was $513 for three nights.
We put our luggage into the car and then walked over 7th to the Hirschorn Gallery. It didn't open until 10:00 A.M. We had some time, so we wandered through the outdoor sculpture garden. They had some more material for paving and smelting out here too. Then as it got closer to 10:00 A.M., we returned to the Gallery. It is of interesting construction. It appears as a large 3 story circular affair with an open interior court and a large spray fountain. The first floor gift shop is in the front of the building. The remainder sits on four large supports with doors and stairways into each. We were still early and we were among the first few in line. The line did get longer quickly though and I thought only in Washington or New York are you going to find lines to a modern art museum. In Buffalo, unless there is a visiting impressionist collection at the Albright Knox gallery, you can shoot a canon off down the halls and never hit anyone.
In any case, we entered the second floor exhibit area and viewed a few dozen of Dali's finest. Paranoia was a favorite motif for him. To say Dali is weird is an understatement. But his work is weirdly beautiful and the expressions that he transfers onto canvass are flights of fancy so delightfully bizarre that I find them immensely entertaining. We had visited the Dali museum in St.Petersburg so we were somewhat familiar with his works. They were just as different as I expected and I enjoyed the visit.
We continued on into their permanent collection and were pleasantly surprised. Amidst the "paving material" were a good collection of sculptures by Rodin and Degas. We enjoyed them, appreciating the attention to detail and anatomical perfection that each exhibited.
Leaving the Hirschorn, we walked back toward the Hotel. As we passed the Air and Space museum I thought "what they hell?" We walked in to the crowd and looked up to see the "Spirit of St. Louis," several space capsules, an old Ford tri-motor and many other vintage aircraft. This museum is a favorite of everyone's and is always crowded.
From the Air and Space Museum, we walked back to the hotel and retrieved our car. The ride back to Regan National Airport was easier than we thought. So was the express check in at Herz. The bus shuttle dropped us off at U.S. Air, where we checked in without event. We ran into Joey and Betsy Cordaro from Buffalo and chatted with them and their kids for a time. Dr. Barry Weinstein and his wife Lois were also flying home with us. It really is a small country. The flight home was routine. We landed in Buffalo about 3:40 P.M. It was sunny and warm out. Our luggage was there with us so we picked up our car, paid the $31 parking fee and headed off to our castle in West Seneca. It had been a long and interesting trip.
Joseph Xavier Martin