Sunday, March 23, 2008

Camping at the White House

Last Friday I experienced something I had never done before. I went with a few friends to camp in line to get tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll. Now, when I say "camp" I mean it in the literal sense. We had tents, sleeping bags, blankets and chairs. So did the hundreds (literally) of other people who were in the line that circled the elipse in front of the White House and spilled out onto the side lawn.

There was a great sense of comraderie, people visiting with those nearby, children running around in the grassy area at ten o'clock at night, card and board games being played everywhere. Even the bicycle cops and park rangers were friendly as they patroled the area, greeting the campers as they made their rounds.

As the seven o'clock hour approached (that's AM), everyone had to break camp and many were in the process of eating breakfast and beginning to form the line to receive our tickets. On the first of my multiple trips to the van to load up, I noticed an older man sleeping on the sidewalk. I remember wondering if perhaps I should wake him up so he wouldn't miss out on getting his tickets. When I passed him a second time, I noticed that his blanket was a bit tattered, and he was using a backpack of some sort as a pillow. The thought occurred to me that he wasn't one of the many who were camping out by choice, but rather he was sleeping on the street because he had nowhere else to go.

I was considering what I might be able to do for the man when I returned for the third time. I couldn't help but smile when I noticed a woman placing a brand new package of donuts, some water bottles and other food at the man's side. While he slept, she quietly returned from where she came leaving the offering for the man she had never met. With a nod of approval, I passed by grateful that the spirit of Easter is still alive and well.


Davis Bigelow said...

A sweet story Traci. Glad you noticed - not everyone does. said...

beautiful story trace. thanks for touching my day with it.

blessings today,
kathleen :) said...

and one more thing. thanks for asking this week. i am having such a blast dabbling with a third short fiction story in three weeks. what a rush when the plots and the characters are on the move in my head as the story plays out. i love how this feels. great day girlie, kathleen