Sunday Brunch

It’s an overcast day in Washington DC, our Nation’s Capital. Signs of spring are everywhere–from the budding trees making verdant lace against a soft grey sky, to gas hovering around $4.25. It’s a little cool and early in the season for a down home crab feast, but the Queen is in the mood for some seafood. Let’s hang out by the Tidal Basin for a bit, grab a bite on the wharf and then head downtown to the National Portrait Gallery. Perfect day for a stroll…especially since petrol is so damned high.

Benjamin Banneker

Photo by Janet M. Kincaid

Before we get to the wharves, let’s walk through L’Enfant Plaza. Although most of the shops are closed, we can still traverse the sweeping boulevard that spans Interstate 295, and see much of Southwest and the Waterfront. On a midsummer’s evening the view is a breathtaking amalgam of the Urban and the Bucolic. At the end of the boulevard sits Benjamin Banneker Memorial.

Photo by Janet M. Kincaid

From jimbo.info

Like the man, the memorial gets little due these days. But is a quiet tribute to a genius who is credited by some with helping to shape the landscape of the District of Columbia. Legend has it that Pierre L’Enfant–the architect who was commissioned by President Washington to design the city–was fired a year later, and took his plans for D.C. with him. Banneker, who was one of the members of the surveyor team was able to reproduce them thanks to his photographic memory. Some scholars disagree with this, but the Queen chooses to believe it. If for no other reason than the Memorial in his name is great for cruising hunky tourists in the summertime.

Getting Black-Listed

Entrance to "The Black List" exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Now that our bellies are full (I TOLD you the Stuffed Flounder was DIVINE at Phillip’s Buffet!), let’s walk off some of this food (and those Bloody Marys) by heading over to the National Portrait Gallery. Of all the Museums in Chocolate City, this is one of the Queen’s favorites. There is something about a good portrait that really does offer a glimpse into the soul of the individual. I love wandering through the Hall of Presidents. It feels as if you get an understanding of these leaders in a way that no other medium gives you. If the Queen had understood in school that our past is much more than just a bunch of dates–he might have chosen to be a Historian.

When the Queen saw The Black List exhibit for the first time, to be honest he was slightly underwhelmed. The concept itself brought tears to my eyes. Seeing an entire section of the Gallery dedicated to people who looked like me was overwhelming. I was delighted to see familiar faces, and grateful to learn about people of color that I knew little to nothing about (Maya Rudolph identifies as Black–who knew?). However, the “soul captured” that I talked about loving in good Portraiture is missing from many of these photographs for me. I love that there is a chronicle of people of color that spans the generations, but the spark that makes them unique is missing for me. I bow to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for his work. The thought behind it is revolutionary. For the Queen the result doesn’t always live up to it.

And Finally…

There’s a lot of crap going on in this country and world of ours. From the European Debt Crisis and Syrian Uprising, to young people dying for no reason. It is easy to give up. It is difficult to push through. And then I see a cherry blossom softly dance in the wind and land on grass the loveliest shade of fern I have ever seen. I remember the older gentleman who went all over the mall looking for me when I left my wallet at Target (yes the Queen shops at Target. I am not ashamed). I remember I have new support from people on a blog–whom I’ve never met. And I remember that it is Spring. There is the miracle of New Beginnings. And it really can be a Wonderful World.

Thanks for sharing the afternoon with me Miss Things. See ya’ tomorrow.

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23 thoughts on “Sunday Brunch

  1. Scotty, that was lovely. Thank you. You know, every time Spring rolls around, I’m so grateful I live where there is a winter (not that there was much of one this year) because I’d so miss that sense of exhilaration you get at every little sign of Spring. And this year it is especially meaningful.

    A few years ago, I went back to college after decades of delay, and graduated in 2009 (to what I’d hoped would be a great job, of course), and along the way met an amazing group of other “non-traditional” students. And it’s so strange, because all of us in one way or the other got whacked in one way or the other: divorces, deaths, unemployment, foreclosures, and like so many in this country and around the world, big financial hits leaving us scrambling to start over at ages we thought would be somewhat secure. Nothing unique, of course, and all too many people are going through far, far worse. And we’re very, very lucky to have each other.

    So here is to a vibrant Springtime for everyone! We all deserve it. And thank you so much for starting this little group, Scotty.

    • That’s wonderful, mefein1. A dear friend of ours plunged back into the matriculation scene around the same time. It enhanced her life in so many ways that I believe had to do with the life experience she took with her to University.

      Congratulations and continued success to you. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks Forever Femme! And, yes, I think life experience enhances the university experience a great deal. Loved, loved, loved every minute of it, even the stomach knots over exams. Hopefully some day it will translate into more gainful employment (could there be a more inauspicious year to graduate than 2009? Who knew?) but even if it doesn’t, I don’t regret a thing, including the student loans I’ll be paying off for the rest of my life. If I had won that goddamn megamillions over the weekend, I would have SO sent myself back to school!

        Congratulate your friend for me. Older students rule!

      • Thanks Scotty! It’s amazing how close virtual hugs can be to the real thing!

  2. I can only echo what Mefein1 & Mary said.

    This blog is proof, I think, that when life is daunting & the feeling of defeat is in the air, it is almost always better to do something than to do nothing. However imperfect.

    And sometimes the result is a delightful surprise.

  3. Let me add my thanks for a lovely Sunday post. The cherry blossoms are blooming here in Vancouver, too, and we actually had a sunny afternoon! Spring, finally!

  4. Can you stand one more heartfelt thanks? It felt as if I was back at 20059, many many moons *cough* class of ’84 *cough* ago. Go Bison! πŸ˜‰

    My wife is a DC native. When we first met and she told me that “The Awakening” was no longer alongside the Potomac where I’d left it I was crushed. Then she took me to a lovely Morrocan (sp) restaurant that made me feel better about the gentrification 14th street. *laughing*

    • OMG a Howardite! No wonder you’re so dang Fierce. I was at NYU while you were roaming the Quad (*cough*we graduated the same year *cough*). Howard was my stomping ground when I was in High School–I was a member of Howard University Children’s Theatre. I used to dream of being a student there, but ended up at Tisch School of the Arts instead. It is such a small world.

      The Awakening was such a piece of my high school years. Hain’s Point was the “Parking” spot around the time I got my first car. When they removed the sculpture from East Potomac Park, they took a piece of my childhood as well.

      Although, I will admit that the sculpture did freak me out a bit. To me it looked like he was sinking into–not rising from–the ground! πŸ˜€

  5. What an incredibly beautiful and uplifting post. Did much to lift my spirits all the way on the other side of the world – since it rekindled my memories of having spent good times in some of the places that you took us to. And oh – I can’t even describe what you did to my taste buds, as I relived the experience of many “crab feasts” that I attended. With a continuation of your wonderful Blog, and a few more posts like this – – I’d vote for a “soulful” picture of you to be added to THE BLACK LIST.

  6. You are a lovely soul, my Fierce Black Queen. Thank you for brunch, it was truly divine.

    I hope to see more of you in the future!

  7. Thank you for brunch dearie!

    For the first time, I live somewhere that has seasons. I spent 21 years (of my 26 year long life) in the Southwest, and last July I moved to the Midwest. Spring is TRULY an amazing thing to experience here. Spring in the Southwest is about 3 days long before it’s 100+ outside.

    I went to DC in the summer of 1997 on a school trip, and I really don’t think I understood the gravity of everything I was seeing. I’d love to go back again and see it with “adult” eyes.

    • It was truly a beautiful place to grow up. And it was fun to show friends the sights “off the beaten path”–like the lovely C&O Canal that takes you through Georgetown, and the stairs where they shot the exterior final shots of The Exorcist. I know, I know: I’m weird.

  8. What a lovely post, Scotty.

    While I love living in NC (the winters are mild and spring comes early), sometimes I miss my hometown in PA. We were 2 hours from Philly, 1 1/2 hours from Baltimore, about 2 1/2 hours from D.C., and 3 hours from New York City (the tunnel, of course. It takes at least another hour to get pretty much anywhere once you hit the tunnel). We spent a lot of time in all those cities, and I think the most in DC, as we had close friends in northern VA.

    The museums were a revelation to me. I’d never been to the National before I went with my then-boyfriend (now husband) in the early 90s. I remember standing in one of the galleries and thinking “so this is where they keep the f****** Picassos.” Ha! My husband swears I touched one, but I honestly don’t remember doing that, and I’ll deny it until the day I die.

    Thank you so much, Scotty, for sharing your weekend with us.

  9. Were you really not aware that Maya Rudolph identified as African-American? (rhetorical) It’s like when I watch Jeopardy and any questions about African-American history are followed by a long stanza of crickets. It’s as if African-American history is taught as a subcategory of history. But I digress. Maya is a beautiful biracial woman.

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