What a day!
I’m still not sure I’m recovered enough to write this but I don’t want to wait too long, either. My legs still hurt and my heart skips and I get a little dizzy whenever I think about it….the whole day was a little overwhelming 🙂
The happy change of plans I mentioned a few days ago (J. not being able to fill his bus)…well, it was actually Fr.G. that had a few spaces left on his bus. And yeah we kicked the idea around for a bit but decided that it would be way cool to go with him. He’s been going down for years and was instrumental in getting the Vigil for Life going and I think that’s just amazing and we all figured it’d be better to go with him than to drive and putter about on our own and try to find him. Well! So glad we did 🙂
We left home at 6:a.m., stopped for gas, coffee and some snacks….got to Fr.G.’s Parish a little before 7 and at 7:30 on the nose, the bus rolled out of the parking lot.
Now, I frequently head over to Planned Parenthood to pray the Rosary with a group of lovely people on Saturday mornings. But……when we got on 95 and really started rolling, the last thing I expected to hear was that we were going to be saying the Rosary….now, I think the Rosary is probably the most awesome way to pray, but it just seemed weird to me to have this bus full of people rolling down the highway praying the rosary….but then I got to thinking about it some more and…..well, what better time? And it was amazing!! I don’t know if it was because I knew where we were going or because….because I haven’t prayed the Rosary with Fr. G. in a long time :- but this was very different from praying outside the “clinic” where we pray that the mothers will change their minds and pray for the lives that are lost….no this was almost joyous! That we were rejoicing in the knowledge that we were heading to Washington to raise our voices for CHANGE. Trust me, I know it sounds weird….but it was a thrilling way to start the day!!
We stopped at a rest stop in Maryland. There was a bathroom on the bus…but….ya know….so Brittany and I ran out to use the ladies room. But when we saw the line, we turned around and ran right back to the bus. Which was locked. So we waited. A few moments later Fr.G. came back to the bus and we chatted for a few….I finally told him why I’m so miserable, because he has a way of getting things out of me and he looked concerned so I changed the subject. I’m okay with it weighing on me, but I don’t need it to bring anyone else down. So we laughed about some things and compared notes on some things….and then the bus driver came back and opened the bus.
We arrived in Washington and pulled up in front of the Natural History Museum a little before 11. And coolest of coolness, we had a little time to wander around the museum! I had never been in this particular museum….I’d been to the Smithsonian before but it’s just one of the places I never made it to. Bill and I had planned to take Brittany down this past summer but many of the things we were interested in seeing were being renovated into the fall and by then we were packing for the move. It was too neat though! And the time we had was just not enough to really enjoy everything.
Around 12:30, we met up and headed out to the Mall to listen to a few of the speeches. My hearing is getting pretty bad so I had a hard time….I could hear the women speaking without too much difficulty but the men….just sounded like the teachers on the Peanuts specials :- But I had plenty of time to look around….and I had to wonder why, when I was in high school, I never went to the March. I don’t remember now if it was even an option and if it wasn’t, well what’s up with that? There were so many high school kids there….just looking around the Mall and even once the March started, people 21 and under had to outnumber the rest of us by like 2-1 – it was amazing!
When the March started…I think we were all a little relieved. There had been a lot of standing around with us all packed in pretty close while we waited for the head honchos to get together and make their way out to the front of the pack. I actually think this is the part that messed up my legs….and I hate to complain about it but they really hurt!! Once we got off the Mall and out in the street things were much better though….still quite crowded but we were able to move. And better appreciate everything….the sea of protest signs and placards, the singing and chanting….and the people in nearly every window – and even on the roofs!! – of every building we passed along the route cheering us, applauding and giving the thumbs up as we went by…I couldn’t help but wonder how long they had been standing there….and if they would still be there when the last person marched past 🙂
It was just about when everything started to open up a bit that I felt someone brush past me…no, it wasn’t the first time in that mass that someone had done that but this one caught my eye….I knew the profile in an instant but needed another quick look before I could call it….it was Fr.K., my chaplain from high school!! He’s Pastor at a big church in South Philly now. I had stopped in one Sunday for Mass when we had made an early run to the Italian Market but that was nothing compared to running into him like this. He was walking with a young priest from the Parish that actually grew up in my neighborhood and was a year or two behind me at my grade school….it was hard to take all that in at the moment but when I finally got to think about it I’m so excited that someone from my neighborhood, my school, roughly my age became a priest!! It gives me hope. But the coolest thing about it is that in a crowd of 300,000 people….there they were 🙂
By the time we got to Capitol Hill, I was flying. I was so caught up in everything going on around me that I didn’t even notice if anything hurt anymore….all I could do was make sure Brittany was in sight, Bill was still at my side and I could still spot Fr.G. in the crowd….but I was having a ball! It’s the youth, man….it’s electric – lol 🙂
The crowd outside the Supreme Court was just immense…to the point of not being able to put one foot in front of the other. We prayed and prayed again and then got the heck out of Dodge so other folks could do the same thing. I lost Brittany at that point, but still had a lock on Fr.G. and he indicated that she was with him….it was rough getting out of the street but we finally all got together again and went to meet our bus.
Almost as soon as I sat down on the bus, all the little aches I’d been able to forget about in the excitement came back to haunt me. I took a couple of Tylenol from my bag while Fr.G. put a movie on for the ride home….The Greatest Story Ever Told, which I have actually never seen and was really starting to enjoy right up until I fell asleep about a half hour in….not to worry though! I was asleep for about 15 minutes when Bill woke me up to tell me he’d gotten a message from Stv about Mchll’s party yesterday. ::sigh:: So I called that 15 a “power nap” and was able to catch a good bit more of the movie.
After much debate, we all opted to not stop at the rest area on the way back and pulled into the parking lot at 8:00 on the nose! We disembarked and said our goodbyes…I kissed Fr.G. on the cheek and thanked him for putting up with us…he scoffed, of course and we agreed to make plans to get together again next month. Then we left…with me not telling him the important things….again.