Saturday, February 23, 2008

Memory Lane

I'm down to some serious packing right now.  The kind where you actually have to go through papers and random stuff you've socked away and forgotten about.

Some of it I've looked at and wondered why in the world I ever kept it in the first place.  Those items didn't make the cut.    

There were a couple finds, however, that brought me back. 

On the shelves in the wall by my bed, a stack of random booklets like "Our American Government," and "How Our Laws Are Made," have sat for, basically, ever.  Mixed in with these page turners were some (unused) journals, tourist pamphlets for places like Fredericksburg, Va., and Old Town's ghost and graveyard tour, a "Welcome to D.C." booklet, and a city map I remember pouring over so I might learn the town.

I wouldn't necessarily call any of those things real finds, but tucked in between all this was an old piece of paper I had written about three columns worth of places and things I wanted to see and do while I was here.  I remember adding to this list every time I learned of something new I wanted to experience.  (This was probably the first glimmerings of what many of you now know as "the book."  More on this later.)  In reading it over I had to chuckle.  The paper included things like going to Chinatown and Eastern Market, areas that have become so woven in to my D.C. life it's odd to think of them as specific destinations.  

The real gems, however, were the two old day planners from my first couple years in the city.  It was amazing to go through them and see what I had either plumb forgot, or what I remembered doing but couldn't remember when, but mostly the cool opportunities I've had while I was here.

I'm talking about going to lunches at the RNC, the National Press Club, or attending brownbags with the Senate Press Secretaries Association to listen to Tony Snow (of then Fox News Sunday), Ari Fleischer, and George Stephanopoulos.

There were countless Senate hearings and working group meetings marked so I would know when to be prepared to send my boss' statement to the press, edit and cut video and audio and reserve satellite feed time.  

There were life changing events like Jan. 22, 2001: my last day of work at Casper College; and Jan. 25, 2001: my first day of work for Senator Enzi.  Sept. 11 was noted in caps, and there was the Sept. 15 Senate prayer vigil that followed.     

There were events that some of the funniest stories came from, like the Enzi fundraiser where Sen. Lott tracked me down and made me take a picture with him.  I have to pause here to laugh...

Then there were the "every day" events like parties, happy hours (at Tequilla Grill!), concerts, etc.  And old traditions like the pumpkin carving party, and the first year we went apple picking.  

My D.C. readers won't find some of this very significant.  That's because this is what our D.C. lives are like, and what I've had the chance to do is very rarely unique to many in this town.

But they are still significant to me, to people outside the Beltway, and I hope to any family I might have myself one day.  I always wanted to live here, and these experiences are more than I could have hoped I would have.  

Oh, one last old checkbook.  The first check written?  June 4, 2001 to my realty company.  $664 for rent.  

My, how times have changed.    

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