Sunday, May 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 05/20/17: Walking Tour of DC, SingleCut at Church Key, Gabbin' with Dick and Renae

1. I sprang into action early this morning and roared in the Sube down to Union Station, parked the car, hopped on a Metro train, and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a scone at Peet's before joining a group of people at the AFL-CIO for a walking tour of labor history in Washington, D. C.  After a three day heat wave with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, today it was cool, overcast, and breezy, perfect conditions for a walk that took just under three hours. Because so many labor organizations have major offices in the Washington, D. C., the tour was, in many ways, a walk through the history of the Knights of Labor, a little bit of the I. W. W., the AFL, the CIO, their merger, the Teamsters and other labor groups. One of the group members knew a lot about Frances Perkins and when we arrived at the Department of Labor building, he spoke at length about her many contributions to the projects of Franklin Roosevelt and her commitment, as an Episcopalian, to social justice. We learned about the Bonus Army demonstrations of 1932 and the use of the the US military to disband these demonstrations and burn the tent cities and all the veterans' and their families' belongings. The walk ended on the AmTrak level of Union Station, right next to a Starbucks I've frequented, and there stood the statue of A. Philip Randolph. I had been oblivious to it every time I've been on that level of the station and when I returned to the Sube in the evening, I returned to the statue, read the inscription more closely, and thought more about all he'd done to organize workers and advocate for social justice.

2. I hopped back on a train to the North Farragut Metro station and then walked about fifteen minutes to ChurchKey, one of my favorite taprooms. I hadn't been to ChurchKey for well over a year. I was happy to see that it was only moderately busy so that it was easy to grab a seat at the bar, listen to Mose Allison being played on the sound system, have some quiet time alone with my thoughts, and order an IPA from a favorite brewery, SingleCut located in Queens -- Astoria, to be precise. I couple months ago, I'd drunk a couple snifters of SingleCut's Softly Spoken Magic Spells, a dynamite Imperial IPA and, today, I again drank a couple of snifters, but this time it was another tasty and satisfying Imperial American IPA called Is This the Real Life. I nursed these two beers and ate a ChurchKey burger, resting my legs after racking up well over 10,000 steps on D. C. concrete. Other beers on the tap list tempted me, but I didn't want any more alcohol and then a text message I'd been anticipating came in.

3. Dick and Renae Costa and I had a general plan to meet in Washington, D.C. this afternoon, but hadn't worked out the specifics. I've known Dick my whole life and I got to know Renae over forty years ago when she came to the Kellogg School District to teach school and used to carpool with my mom and Nancy Carter.

The much anticipated text message was from Renae. She and Dick were on a train bearing down on the McPherson Square Station, just ten or so minutes from ChurchKey. I settled my bill and strolled down 14th St. and met Dick and Renae at the Five Guys right next to the station.

We gabbed while Dick and Renae enjoyed their lunch and then we set out back toward ChurchKey and decided to go to a neighborhood bar familiar to Dick and Renae, The Drafting Table. Next time I'm in the Logan Circle neighborhood, I'll return to the Drafting Table. I enjoyed the vibe of the place and found it very comfortable.

Dick, Renae, and I had a great time and covered a lot of ground as we yakked about our parents, life in Kellogg, great memories, medical events, and the general state of the Union. We didn't quite get to the point of solving the world's problems, but we were getting close. Dick and Renae are staying in D. C. with friends Renae went to high school with in North Dakota, Bill and Barb, and they arrived at The Drafting Table and joined in our gabfest. I was reluctant to leave, but I gathered myself, jumped into an Uber for a ride to Union Station, and had an easy drive back to Maryland.

It was a perfect day: lots of walking in D. C., learning more about this fascinating city, enjoying a couple of slow snifters of great beer at ChurchKey, and getting to spend a few hours with great friends from back home in Kellogg.  I returned to Maryland beaming.

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