Memorial day weekend my sister took a trip with her beau and some friends to Washington D. C. Afterwards she told me a little about the trip causing a nice flashback effect for me. It is odd how I frequently get flashbacks from my college years. Can’t imagine why that would be!
I figured before the dust settled back on top of this memory I ought to share it. At this point the air is shimmering a little as we transition back to Bates college circa the late 80’s…
Meet Kramer (one or two may actually know him as Steve), shaggy headed, party crazy, rebellious college student. Like many in their college years, Kramer has a problem with "The Man"; he is the epitome of the groundless idealist. If there is an underdog with a cause Kramer is there, especially if there is a chance of a party involved! And if in the process he can also make a complete spectacle of himself, well … show him the way!!
Some of Kramer’s friends tell him about a chance to march on Washington. They are going to load up their classic VW van and road trip down to D. C. to join the protest. They have 16 foot tall puppets that they are going to march around with. All they ask is that Kramer helps with the puppets and contributes to gas. So not only does Kramer have a chance to "stick one to The Man", he also can make a spectacle of himself, party a bit and do the most glorious of all college activities. Road Trip!!
So Kramer grabs his bag (need to carry the beer somewhere), hops in the van, where he is effectively stashed under one of the seats for lack of room, and away they go. Roughly ten hours and several bathroom stops later they are there. Kramer suffers a few minutes of pain as the blood begins to flow back into his legs before he staggers out of the van to see the wonders before him. There they are, the brave protesters numbering in the thousands, doing all sorts of protesterly things on the National Mall. People from all over are ready to stand united and make their voices heard. It is truly a grand site.
There is singing and dancing and skits and chanting. There is friend making and gabbing and preaching and shouting. Some have set ups to get their words across. Others like Kramer’s pals have things to carry about with them. Kramer gladly takes his turns with the great puppets. There are ordinances about sleeping on the mall after dark, and the only way around that is to stay awake all night. But not to worry. We all are on fire. We are having fun and doing something important. The time there is a blur of activity! When we get back in the van for the trip home we are exhausted but oddly satisfied. A great weekend!!
Shimmering again as we transition back to now.
Ah the joy of an idealistic youth! I am still an idealistic fool, but I have a better sense of what is realistically attainable now, so maybe choose my battles more carefully at least. But I do remember such trips fondly!
The one truly ironic and funny aspect of this wonderful March on Washington is the fact that I still to this day do not know what we were actually protesting!
Live and learn!