As rain began to fall Friday in DC, we went out to lunch on Long Island -- a modest Afghan restaurant, on the theory that the place would not exactly be humming with inauguration buffs.
We had appetizers laced with yogurt and garlic, curry, rice, salad and nice crisp bread – the kind of cuisine new people bring to this country.
Across from us, three young women in head scarves were talking excitedly, giggling occasionally. They seemed much like our own grand-daughter, sitting across from us in the booth – bright, hopeful, their lives ahead of them. America.
Somebody in our family had turned down the chance to watch the Inauguration from a privileged site -- couldn’t pretend to be enthusiastic.
However, on Saturday we did have loved ones in Washington and New York, mingling with the hundreds of thousands. From afar, it looked like good fun. No fire hoses, no dogs, not yet.
The new President, who makes up everything, later said the press invented the figures for the two events. Yet I kept getting photos on my iPhone. Guess those multitudes were photo-shopped – with banners appropriate to this day.
My email included a blessing from the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, the General Secretary of the United Methodist Church, for the departing President and his family, and the incoming President and his family.
Her blessing included: “For the good of the earth and all of creation, which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.”
Another email was from an old friend, Roy Lloyd, one of the thoughtful religion commentators on WINS 1010 AM in New York. Roy described the pink caps worn by many marchers, adding: “The participants demonstrated something said by Helen Keller: ‘One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.’”
Speaking of prayers: On the same gorgeous Saturday back home, I went for a fast walk on the high-school track, listening to the Grateful Dead on my headset. As I circled the soft red track, I blurted out the punch line in “Touch of Grey.”
“We will get by” – emphasis on the “will.”
In repetition, it becomes a prayer, just like the haunting punch line in George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” – “It’s all right.”
After this epic day all over the world, we can repeat this mantra in days to come:
It's all right.
We will get by.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.