Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? I’ve been there at least three times. The first time I went, I was a Girl Scout leader way back in the 80’s. I must have been doing a good job of it, because I was selected from my council to attend an Older Girl Program Workshop. There were 12 delegates from our council, six leaders and six older girls. The purpose of the workshop was to brainstorm new programs that would entice older girls to stay in Girl Scouts and become more involved in their communities and their councils. It was a really fun conference. I met so many leaders from east of the Mississippi River, and had an opportunity to go sightseeing with the girls from our council.
The girls wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, so that is where we wound up. However, when we got there, there was a huge long line waiting to get into the shop to buy pins and t-shirts. We asked very politely if we could go to the head of the line, as it was getting really close to our flight time to go home. No one would let us go ahead, so we waited. We finally got in the shop and bought our souvenirs. As soon as we could, we got on the Metro to go to the airport. It seemed to take forever to get there! We made it to Dulles International Airport with only minutes to spare. We were running through the airport just like in the commercial from long ago!
The second time I went to Washington was also in the 1980’s My Girl Scout troop worked for a year to raise money to go on a train trip that included visiting Washington, D.C., Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City. The first stop of the trip was in Washington. We stayed at a youth hostel and met lots of people from different countries. While in D.C. we went to the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, and the Viet Nam Memorial. The memorial was very emotional for me. One of my cousins had been killed in that war. We looked up his name and had one of the volunteers there make a rubbing for me to give to my father. I cried there, and the girls in my troop all hugged me.
I didn’t return to Washington for a long time. When I did, I flew up because my grandson, Owen, was very sick. I went up there to take care of my granddaughter, who was about 20 months old so that their mother and father could spend their time at the hospital. Owen was in the hospital at Walter Reed. He was only four years old, and was in a medically induced coma. He had gone in the hospital to have his tonsils removed, and while there contracted a respiratory illness. One of his doctors actually walked his saliva samples across the street to the National Institute of Health to have them expedite testing of them. They finally did figure out what was wrong, and got our boy well. He spent 16 days in the hospital, with 11 of those days in a coma. He did get better, and I was able to spend the last night at my son’s house with Owen at home.