Thursday, December 1, 2011

Be Still My Heart

Richard and Leslie met at my house about 10:30 to pile into my Pilot and head on south.  We stopped for coffee and snacks at Dunkin Donuts in Owego then boogied east to Binghamton and south to Scranton.  We made excellent time, getting there about 12:35.  Leslie brought their gps (Although it took me most of the trip to get used to the gps voice and mutterings as Jim is our human gps on most trips.) which was very helpful once we got off route 81, getting us easily to the HS situated in a working class neighborhood.

Of course by the time we arrived the school parking lot was full but a nice smiling cop let us make a U turn and told us to park across the street, which had just a few spaces left.  We called Jen to find out where she was and get our tickets.  Richard got on the line as it was already extremely long while Leslie and I walked up the hill to find Jen's silver car.  Fortunately she has Rhode Island plates so was easy to spot amongst all the PA ones.  And fortunately, myveryownsister lives in RI so I know what they look like.
Folks in Scranton got their tickets by standing in line Monday evening, while we got ours through incredible John, our upstate NY OFA coordinator, or we wouldn't have been able to get in.

Then we joined Richard.  

Folks were so happy and upbeat even though it was misting, cold and windy.
This is the Syracuse Squad who started their trek about 9:15 am.

Once the line started moving I was very impressed at the speed at which our closeness to shelter progressed. I thought I'd be able to knit while in line but the weather not at all conducive to outdoor knitting. Ravelry folks who know told me the security folks would check everything so I took a fairly small bag.  The guy looked into every zippered compartment, opened my purse and looked carefully into it.  As predicted he ignored the loose dpns and Denise shafts stashed among several pens and pencils so I got to knit on a hat once inside.  Score!

Folks who were on the line at 10:30 were not early enough to get inside the yellow lines where Obama actually touches people but we were close enough being in the side bleachers where he entered and left.  If you have seen any of the pics of the cheering cheerleaders, we were below them, about half way up.

Obama stopped at the Festa home before coming to the high school.  There are plenty of pics of that plus some video footage here.  Scroll waaaay down.  Donna Festa introduced him

but I could hardly hear her last words for the shouts of joy from the audience and my heart beating and my saying, "He's real!  He's real!".  This is one of the few I took that were not too blurry from my excitement.  Both Leslie and I are such groupies.  We were grinning and grinning and grinning. When we looked around so were most folks, well.... except for the Secret Service guys.
This pic and the one below were taken by a Syracuse volunteer who was way closer with a better camera.

Obama's speech was inspiring and just what we all were hoping he would sound like. ( I took a video of the whole thing but the c-span one is much much better.) Strong, upbeat, interactive, to the point, jeering a bit at the Republicans and telling us he was giving them one more chance with the tax cut bill that was going to the senate on Friday.  It sounded like if they didn't pass it he had an egg up his sleeve that might break on their faces.  He said to "Call your senators to support the tax cut extension for average Americans...."

"By the end of December all of our troops are going to be out of Iraq."
"America is a place where you can make it if you try....  Veterans should not have to fight for a job after coming home after fighting for America....  When you get knocked down, you get up. ... We've taken some punches in the last few years, we are tougher than the times.  We don't give up. We get back up...  We are fighting to make sure you can live a good solid middle class life where hard work is valued and.... rewarded....  not based on outsourcing and financial schemes but on education, manufacturing and small businesses....  Just like you don't quit.  I don't quit.  We can't wait. So we started taking steps on our own.  We can't wait for Congress... Since I have taken office we have cut taxes 17 times......"
O Bam a, O Bam a, chanting from the students.

He took about 10 minutes to leave, shaking hands, talking with folks, signing tickets.
Those are the teachers of Scranton HS in the background.  Most of the students were in the balcony behind us.

And he looked up, just before he boogied out, right at the place where Leslie and I were standing.

After waiting for the OK to leave we headed over to downtown Scranton.  Wow.  Some of those buildings are incredibly beautiful.

We met up with folks from the Scranton area, the Syracuse Squad and other OFA volunteers to get to know each other a bit and share info and ideas.
Such an up day.  So much to remember and think about that I will be flying for days to come.

1 comment:

Heather said...

What a wonderful day you'll never forget!! I've been lucky enough to see Obama twice, both during the last campaign. The first when he was running, but still considered a longshot, (though big enough to solidly fill a basketball stadium), and then I took my nephews the day he was declared the Democratic candidate. Both were amazing awesome experiences!