March 20 – the first day of Spring! And Melayna came to visit us for 10 days! Most of the time she was here, however, it did NOT feel like spring, and the CHERRY BLOSSOMS were not in bloom! But we didn’t let that stop us from having a wonderful time. We had 2 days of lovely weather, which we totally took advantage of. The rest of the time we just endured various combinations of COLD, WIND, RAIN, SLEET, CLOUDS, ETC.
Friday Mar 21, after we finished our temple shift, we went to the Washington National Cathedral and got lucky to hear a very talented man practice on the amazing organ they have there—what a treat! The Cathedral is beautiful inside, and they say it is very similar to the European cathedrals.
Saturday was chilly and windy, but dry, so after our morning shift at the temple, we rode the Metro downtown and ate egg salad sandwiches on the National Mall, then walked all around the Tidal Basin—trying to imagine cherry blossoms on the trees. We spent some time at the Jefferson and FDR Memorials. Then we walked down through the new WW II Monument and to the Lincoln Memorial. On the long walk back to the Metro station it was getting dark, so Melayna got her wish to see the monuments lit up at night. Our feet were so sore when we got home at almost 10 pm.
Monday we took an overnight trip up to Strasburg, PA. On the way we stopped at Fort McHenry in Baltimore where we saw 2 tall ships sail by, one firing fake cannons at the shore, and men in period costume firing back at the ship. We learned a lot of War of 1812 history there! We stayed at the Hershey Farm Inn in Strasburg, and ate dinner at an Amish smorgasbord restaurant. The next day was cold and wet, even snowy! At 11 am we went to an amazing musical at the Sight-Sound Theater right next to the hotel, called "Moses." (Check out Sight-Sound.com) One of the things that made it amazing was live animals (camels, horses, sheep, and goats) that would come down the aisles and up on stage. We spent the rest of the day driving around Amish country—lots of horse and buggies on the roads, and a couple farmers plowing their fields with a team of 4 big work horses. Then we headed back to Kensington in light rain and fog. Great time!
Melayna went to the temple with us on Wednesday afternoon, then hung out at the Visitor’s Center and got to meet a young sister missionary in the VC who is serving from Italy. Thursday night we went to a musical Easter production at the VC called Savior of the World. The same production was performed in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, but there was a first “act” written just for this production in DC. It was excellent!
Friday after our morning at the temple we went back downtown on the Metro, and met up with Jason Brown (Shellie Fillmore’s husband) who works on Capitol Hill. He gave us a VIP tour of the Capitol, where we of course stopped to enjoy Dad’s statue in the Capitol Rotunda. (I will copy below Dad’s account of this statue, from his history, for posterity!)
Sunday we went to Jason and Shellie’s ward in Chantilly, VA, and spent the rest of the day with them.
From “Our Lives and Family,” by Julian C Lowe: “Some time ago, Stephanie, or was it Judith, after a sightseeing trip in Washington, brought it to my attention that there was a bigger-than-life size statue of me on display in the United States Capitol Building and that I might like to go and see it. Although worthy of such acclaim, I, of course, passed off the remark as a joke and dismissed it from my mind. Later, however, when others also reported the same thing, I concluded there must be something to it and decided to stop by the Capitol Building and see for myself. Sure enough, there I was carved in stone and displayed for all time with the other American greats! I liked the sculptor’s work and thought the statue was a good likeness. Observing it more closely, however, I found the sculptor had made one serious mistake. The name appearing at the base of the statue was Robert La Follette of Wisconsin. It was an inexcusable error, but being a humble man, I have decided not to report it.”
It really does look just like my DAD!
Then on the last Monday Melayna was here – March 31 – it was sunny and warm (in the 60’s!), so we went to Mount Vernon. Wow, has it ever changed since I remember going as a school kid. This picture doesn’t do it justice. The grounds are huge, with slave quarters, gardens, Washington’s tomb, and a working farm. Plus a great interactive museum. We bought season passes so Ed and I could go back multiple times – since it changes with the seasons.
So . . . with all this fun, did we keep the Temple in sight??? YES! We had permission to miss the one Tuesday afternoon shift to go up to Strasburg, but we were in the temple every other day it was open! Even more than that, I realized again the hand of God in establishing this great country. Reading the quotes in the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and learning about President Washington, there is no doubt they were very religious, and inspired and directed by God. I was reminded of a painting that hangs in the Washington DC Temple. It shows George Washington, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence as they appeared to Wilford Woodruff in the St George Temple to request that their temple ordinances be performed. (“That We May Be Redeemed,” painting by Glen Hopkinson)