Posts Tagged ‘Washington’


She’s Back!

Originally posted January 1, 2006 by Linda Lou Burton from Seattle, Washington, United States – The baby beside me cried all the way from Los Angeles. The plane shook, and bumped, the air pressure seemed to change. The pilot apologized, explained, tried to keep us calm. My ears were in a furious ache. What must the baby feel? He screamed, and screamed. The brother, a toddler sitting with his Dad, screamed too. “Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy, Mom MEEEEEEE,” echoed in my head. Mother exchanged squalling baby for screaming two-year old. I kept crying too.

Then it was over. We were on the ground. I can bear anything now, I said to myself. Anything. I’m almost HOME. I found a cart by the baggage carousel, retrieved fancy-schmancy in no time, wheeled my way to the correct floor, the right spot in the garage, checked in with Shuttle Express. Driver stashed my luggage in the van. So close!

A passenger in back inquired about my trip. “Antarctica and South America,” I replied. “My God!” he exclaimed. “You rode on South American planes? That’s not good. I work on planes. I know. They are NOT maintained.” “Thanks,” I said. What else could I say?

The driver waited for the van to fill, it took an hour. Once on the freeway, it began to rain. Through the city, traffic heavy, traffic stopped. Five miles from my house, all lights were red. Cars sitting, braked. Off the freeway, onto a side road that I often use. Stop and go and stop and go and stop and go. And stop.

My driveway! My carport! The porch light on, a timer set before I left.

My luggage was the bottom of the stack. The driver moved all bags out into the rain, reloaded. I shook his hand and tipped him well, felt like giving him a hug. Still such a drive he had ahead! But me, I’m home.

Inside, it’s warm. Jack and Alex meet me at the door, tails curled, a normal greeting-purr. “Food please,” they begged without a hint of shame. I opened Fancy Feast, filled the water dish, watched them as they ate.

Bags to the bedroom, my bed! I’m not tired now. Into my office, I hooked my camera to the cable, began the pictures move to my computer screen. I could hardly wait to see it all again.


What Did Tennessee

2016.02.choochooLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, ArkansasWhat did Tennessee, boys, what did Tennessee? Remember that old Scout song? Entertainment around the campfire, roast a weinie, toast a marshmallow, sing nonsense till you pass out in your tent. What did Delaware? What does Iowa? Where has Oregon? These and other intellectual questions (What does Mississip?) kept me smiling as I sang my way across Mississippi into Tennessee and then back to Arkansas this month (she saw what Arkansas.) My turnaround point for a little vacation was Chattanooga, where I lived when my children were growing up, and again later 2016.02.betty and linda pwhen I became “Ms Chattanooga,” a spokeperson for a beautiful city; so precious to me I wrote a guidebook about it (Chattanooga Great Places) and a second guidebook about the surrounding area (SE Great Trips). And then (it follows) a weekly travel column for the Chattanooga Times entitled “Here or There” which focused on things to experience in and around that lovely town. (Me, left, with books and illustrator Betty Harrelson, Books A Million in Chattanooga, 1996.)

Those were very happy days, living in a place I loved and then pointing out to everyone how wonderful it was! That’s what we all should do, I believe. Just think, if every single person in the US of A really cared about their homeplace, and bragged about it, and worked to make it the absolute finest place in their part of the world, then – well gee! No urban blight, no rural downtrod, no crumbling infrastructures; you get the idea. So here’s my message, wherever you are. TODAY, do these three things: » read more


A New Pencil Box

25 Linda schoolLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – A new pencil box and the first day of school. Who is old enough to remember the fresh wood smell of newly sharpened pencils? I’m thinking about that as I put on my hat and head out the door for my first day of classes at Henderson. The American West and Arkansas History; that’s my course of study this semester. Why? On the Journey I explored almost every inch of the “western” states but was left with more questions than answers by the end of it. I want to learn more about the legislation that opened those vast lands for settlement, the many treaties with the natives who were already living there, the creation of the new states; in other words, the expansion of our country throughout the 19th century. All to make this site more useful for everyone who accesses it. The Arkansas History class will help with that too, and additionally will provide insights about the emigration of my ancestors who died here in 1849 on their move from Alabama to Texas. Ancestors. A little family talk now. And “how I spent my summer 25 group at pianovacation.” Since I’m settled in one place with plenty of room for visitors, I invited, and they came! Grandson Andrew arrived June 21; grandson Sam July 12. Andrew left July 16; son Mike, and his Brenda, and her grandson Michael arrived July 31. Granddaughter Kayla and son Rick arrived August 2. Mike and Brenda and Michael left August 3; Sam left August 6. Rick and Kayla left August 16. Did you notice? There was a perfect alignment of planets on August 2. » read more


The Soup Bowl

07 Welcome to Washington DCLinda Burton posting from Washington, DC – I call it “DC.” When I lived in Seattle if you said “Washington” folks thought you were referring to the state; Washington DC is considered the “other Washington” there. But I’m on the east coast today, easing into “the District” from Maryland and headed for the US Capitol, an icing-on-the cake post-stop in the Journey Across America. The majestic dome loomed tall as I approached; I circled in confusion and landed a parking spot on the other side. The Washington Monument was a few blocks to my right, covered in scaffolding due to earthquake repair. I coaxed the cats to the window to 07 capitol aheadlook; then tied my red wool scarf tight around my head before stepping out into the wind. Not a day for sightseeing. But people were out; a Chinese chorus was performing across the street; cameras were in evidence in every hand. Washington, DC! What is so special about this place? Why do 19 million visitors come every year? It’s exciting, and vibrant, that’s why; a bubbling soup bowl brimming with a little bit of everything. The resident population is 601,723 (US Census 2010), but that jumps to a million throughout the workweek; commuters pour in from the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. After all, the centers of all three branches of the federal government are 07 car and capitolhere – the Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court. Flags from all over the world fly here; count 176 foreign embassies. The headquarters of international organizations, trade unions, non-profits, and lobbying groups are here. There are more museums here than you could visit in a year; 19 within the Smithsonian alone. The architecture, park spaces, and memorials are stunning. You’ll find both inspiration and controversy here; it’s all in the soup. » read more


Five Domes, And Plenty

03 capitol front 4Linda Burton posting from Des Moines, Iowa – There are three unusual things to note about the Iowa state capitol. One you spot right away – it is the only five-domed capitol in the country. The capitol and its five domes are visible from just about everywhere; located atop a sweeping hill above the city; steps lead up and up from the promenade that slopes to the Des Moines River through a grassy park. It is a spectacular sight; with flags flying and gold gleaming, it grabs for attention right away. I was pleased to find plenty of well-marked free visitor parking, in front, in back, and on the west side, and good signage directing visitors to the entry door. But I didn’t find out 03 flag in rotunda 2why the capitol has five domes; the guides at the Visitors Desk said there was no particular reason; “It was just the architect’s design.” The center dome is covered in gold leaf; from inside you can see its ornate beauty and even climb up into it on special guided tours. The four copper-covered domes are trimmed in gold and hold down each of the four corners of the building, but are not accessible nor 03 extra domevisible except from the outside. “They’re just there to be pretty,” the guide further explained. The design is quite pleasing to the Iowans I spoke with; most calling it “very beautiful;” one person commenting that “every other capitol is a disappointment after you’ve seen ours” and calling out the name of one she found particularly “boring.” Capitol rivalry! I entered the building on the Ground Floor, stopped at the Visitors Desk, and took the elevator to Floor One, where my senses were further assailed; the color palette was rich with vibrant blues and reds and greens, and a looking-up sight that fools the eye. » read more


Uncles and Aunts

Uncle Rick talking with Nephew Sam

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington while traveling between Juneau, Alaska and Helena, Montana – This post is a bit of a stretch, capital-city wise. But I am in Washington state and it is the only state named after a president (although we know for sure George Washington never slept here!). I was thinking about George’s relatives today, because I spent the afternoon with some of mine. With all the stories I have heard about our first president, I never learned about his relatives. Did he have any kids? Or nieces and nephews? A little research tonight led me to the answer; turns out George has often been referred to as “First Uncle.” George didn’t have any children of his own, but he was step-father to Martha Dandridge Custis’ two children, Jacky and Patsy, only four and two when George and Martha married. George had two half-brothers, three brothers, and a sister; he wound up with a number of nieces and nephews too. And since George outlived all his siblings, it follows that he wound up with responsibilities towards their children. » read more


How Nice, Olympia

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – The children at the next table were squirmy bored. Mom offered crayon enticements to no avail; Dad kept eating. The little girl wiggled out of her chair, slid backwards, and wound up by the flower bed. “Look, Mommy,” she said. “Pretty.” She leaned over the fragrant lavender and pulled it to her face. “Nice,” she smiled. I had to agree with the little girl. It was nice, outdoors on the patio of this restaurant-by-the-water; the warmth of the late-afternoon sun; the scent of lavender. Red geraniums and ornamental grasses filled my view to the right; the boardwalk stretched my gaze a mile towards town. I could see the dome of the capitol above the masts of sailboats moored on water that was smooth as glass. The little boy joined his sister; they sat together on the planter’s wooden edge and talked the talk that children talk when all is well. After a bit the family headed down the boardwalk, holding hands. How nice, Olympia. This seems to be a magic place. » read more


Windows in Time

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – “You should get together with that blond lady that’s staying here,” Mae told me as she took my ticket and greeted me in the breakfast room every morning. “She knows everything about the history of Olympia. You two should talk.” But we kept missing each other, until finally the planets aligned and we wound up having breakfast at the same time. “You must be the person writing about capital cities,” she said, standing beside my table with a cup of coffee in hand. “And you must be the blond lady that knows everything about Olympia,” I replied. “Please sit down.” The “blond lady” I’d finally met is Susan Parish, and the ensuing conversation led me to believe she not only knows the history of Olympia, she has a photograph of most of it. She’s staying at the Governor Hotel now because she’s commissioned to “recreate the history of the hotel” through researching the art and times of the hotel’s early days, now being remodeled to capture the look of its beginnings, the 1970’s. As we walked through the newly renovated rooms on the upper floors, Susan showed me the photographs she is installing, and told me more of her work. » read more


Bonjour, Governor

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – Lavender? Chipotle Chocolate? Strawberry Margarita? Cupcakes by the dazzle sit before me arrayed on china plates and perched in baskets on a stand, their names in silver holders, tucked into a glass case framed in walnut, in a room of crystal chandeliers. The sugar-plum fairy has surely been here, lives here, runs the place! I approach in awe, a lavender cupcake? That will be my first choice; I’ve never had flowers-in-cake before. But look at that, chocolate with a pretty swirl on top, Fleur de Sel is what it tells me by its tag. Choice #2, a French delight. “May I help you?” lifts me from my reverie, and I have to say “I’m still thinking,” which I am. I must take three, no, make that four, to fit evenly in the box (and they’re just bite-size, I justify). Red Velvet will be #3; and then I agonize. Toffee? Honey Almond? No, I settle for Key Lime Pie; Key Lime Pie in a cupcake. I call my choices one by one; my treasures are cradled in a pretty box, presented to me with flair. What is this magic shop? » read more


Sunday Morning Coming Down

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – The joke is “summer doesn’t arrive in the Pacific Northwest until after the 4th of July” but it’s no joke. In 1987 I dried out in front of a blazing fire after giving up on the soggy Seattle fireworks display and coming home sopping wet and shivering. It looks as though this year will follow that pattern; it was raining when I woke up; a Sunday morning gray. A cat snuggled tight against either side of me; I guess I’m forgiven for taking off for Hawaii and leaving them behind. I opened up the Fancy Feast and then slept two hours more. Under the blanket and the pile of cats it was cozy and warm, but checkout time loomed close; time to load the car, drive to Olympia, unload everything, settle in for the next two-week stint. I was misty-soaked and feeling blue in all the gray, my body temp still set on Hawaiian warm. Just drive, I told myself. » read more