Special British Visitor

There are blessings to losing one’s job. You don’t have to ask for time off
in which you can do random things you might not otherwise do. Yesterday was
one of those opportunities. 

I rode with Amanda down to school and spent part of the morning in the
library working on various little things. We had our lunch together and as
she went back to class, I went to visit the Capitol of the State of
Virginia. See, the State of Virginia had a special guest coming to visit.

I never got to see her while I lived in England, so why not take the time
since she will be in Richmond, Virginia. I arrived at the Capitol grounds
about 12:30 and started to enjoy the weather and scenery. It really was a
beautiful day. It was just like so many of the days I remembered in
England. The sky was overcast but warm. There was a certain humidity in
the air but it was comfortable. There was the slight drizzle that came down
but not enough to make you wet, just enough to dampen you.

In complete coincidence, I leaned against a temporary fence and watched the
people on the hill around the Capitol. I watched the marching band organize
and then they started playing and marched around the bottom of the hill. I
stayed where I was and I found myself pinned between the passing band and
the fence. It was with surprise that when the band had passed this familiar
looking man shook my hand and then proceeded past me a few feet and turned
up the ramp to the stage. I dawned on me who he was, the Governor Tim
Kaine. I was watching the band, it never passed my mind there was somebody
following them. It was obvious with his little entourage passing with him
they were for security. He was there to open the entertainment. Moral of
the story, if you get stuck against a wall, you never know who may shake
your hand!

The music was really quite good. I enjoyed Ralph Stanley quite a bit. I
knew his voice from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Jane Powell
was a great soul singer and powerful whistler! The whistling was very
impressive. They locked Capitol Square down at 2:30 and nobody else was
allowed in.

As the moment drew closer, Larry Bland and his volunteer choir were working
the audience. I think that was my favorite music in the whole show. It was
actually pretty moving. It was while he was singing, with his gospel choir,
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands that Queen Elizabeth arrived. The
energy of the whole crowd exploded. We were a single mass and were very
drawn to the occasion. I do think the music really helped the tone. The
place where I was sitting I could hear the music loud and clear from the
speakers, it then echoed to me from the state buildings behind me, and also
an echo from the Capitol itself. So I was hearing Larry Bland and the choir
from three different angles all with slightly different timing. The
jumbotrons showed the Queen’s car arriving and the crowd’s excitement. It
was really a sensory overload in many ways. Mr. Bland went onto his
rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic which was pretty powerful too.

Finally Queen Elizabeth and Governor Kaine made their way back out of the
Governor’s Mansion towards the Capitol. They came around the side near
where I was. Due to the hill I could only see her about waste up, but it
was exciting. Everything was to be seen on the jumbotrons though, so I
wasn’t overly concerned. We watched her reception by the Chief’s of
Virginia Indian Tribes. She received her gifts and made her way into the
Capitol. I stayed so as to watch her speech to a joint session of the
Virginia Legislature.

At that point, most of the excitement was done and it was starting to
properly rain so I headed for the school to meet Amanda and head home.
Luckily, she finished school just shortly before Queen Elizabeth gave her
comments.

So that was an exciting day. I have applied for several jobs, but nothing
back yet. It was worth it though. How often do you get to see the Queen of
England in Virginia!

 

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