Before arriving at Uncle J's we stopped at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. All he wanted to do in his life was to retire to Mount Vernon and live peacefully for the rest of his life. But between the French/Spanish War, the Revolutionary War, coming up with the Constitution, and becoming the first President of the United States, George didn't have much time to do what he loved: farming.
Finally after his second term as President, he retired. Only two years later he contracted a cold which became much worse and killed him.
Here are some pictures of the Mouth Vernon Estate (it was VERY beautiful. George Washington even had a Harpsichord! It's in working condition, but no one is allowed to play it. Isn't that sad? Instruments are made to be played. Unless they are going to fall apart if you play them, play them!)
This first picture reminded me of Marlinspike Hall.
We also got to see George Washington's famous dentures. They were not, however, made of wood. They were made of animal teeth and human teeth. He even had a hippopotamus tooth in there!
A funny picture (notice the grown up head on Little Washington)
I was perfectly happy to give up internet when I saw that Uncle J had both a baby grand piano AND a pump organ in his condo!!!!!! I hadn't played piano for two weeks and I was glad to tickle the ivory's once more.
Here is the pump organ:
Beautiful isn't it?
On Saturday (we arrived Fri. night) we were so exhausted we decided just to stick around in the neighborhood instead of going to the Smithsonian as we had planned.
"Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape." said Uncle J.
After practicing piano for 2 hours, Uncle J took us to the Air Force Memorial. The three spikes are going up the way Air Force planes would go up in formation. Next to the memorial were barracks where Uncle J worked when he was in the Marines.
Next we went to the Pentagon where they have a memorial for those who died in the 9/11 attack. The youngest one killed was a three year old. The memorial was very interesting. A bench with water underneath for each person killed.
After that we went to the Arlington Cemetery and saw Kennedy's tomb. We also saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
I have posted about this before in this blog post. It was very, very cool to see the changing of the guard. 21 steps, 21 seconds wait, 21 steps, 21 seconds wait. Then two other soldiers come. One relieves the man who was guarding. The other says the orders, while the two guards remain silent.
It was 94 degrees outside. I was dying. Sweat was running down my neck and back. Just imagine what those soldiers must have been feeling in full uniform. No wonder the guard has to be changed every 30 minutes. In that heat, one could get dehydrated very quickly.
Still, the soldiers don't complain. They fulfill their duty.
By then it was dinner time so we went to this restaurant:
You walk in the front room and are greeted by the bar.... Then you see the staircase leading to the kid friendly restaurant upstairs. This sign is on the wall:
Popping out of the wall at you are paper mache things!
Isn't that cool???
They also had painting on the walls:
After dinner we went into a few shops and met these two Bedlington Terriers.
Then we went to the waterfront where street performers were playing music and putting on shows.
Have any of you heard of Jamey Turner? He's played in all the great music halls around the world. He doesn't play piano... or guitar.... He plays glass.
Uncle J said that you can pay hundreds of dollars to see him in concert but it isn't uncommon to see him playing the streets of Old Town. We were lucky enough to see him!
He "tunes" his instrument by pouring more or less water into the glasses. It is fascinating to watch him play! Another amazing thing about him is that he's a Christian!
The instrument is called a "glass harp." I am finding that more people play this instrument. It is truly amazing.... Jamey Turner describes the sound as "angels singing."
These two students were raising money for college (YOU MUST WATCH!!!)
And this man was playing patriotic music on his flute while little children marched with him.
So much talent in such a small area.... I can easily see myself living in this area. I can easily see myself spending lots of time on weekends just sitting and listening to all the different music.
After the waterfront, we went to Uncle J's friend's house for desert.
Yum yum. And so wonderfully presented.
So much to update you all on.... so little blogging space. I believe I shall post this now and blog the rest tomorrow.