"You Too" and Stuff...

If it's "a penny for your thoughts" but you have to "put your two cents in", someone is making a penny somewhere.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"To This Place I Owe Everything..."

It was a HUGE day for Springfield yesterday! After months of waiting, hours of hard labor, $115 million, and thousands of cuss words from frustrated downtown drivers, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Complex is finally open.

The city has been eating, sleeping, and breathing Lincoln for the past week and Springfield has been crawling with these:

Ironically enough, the weekend celebration that kicked off the events was called "Looking for Lincoln." You must have been blind if you couldn't see him...

On Sunday, there was a massive $75,000 fireworks display/laser show courtesy of taxpayers. I missed the display due to a family crisis, but I heard that a small child with a laser pointer and a smoky cigar would've been a comparable example. However, this picture taken by the SJR's own Justin Fowler, makes them look pretty cool over the complex.

Monday night, the National Guard infiltrated the city. Once again the Feds put a damper on my social life...sigh. We were headed for Blues Night at the Alamo and were stopped on the way in by the owner stating that the guards told him that all activities planned for the bar that evening would have to be cancelled due to security preparations and all foot traffic in the downtown area would be halted in the downtown area at midnight. Watching security get set-up was the exact purpose of going to the Alamo, also to take in the newly opened beer garden in the gorgeous weather. The Alamo was catty-corner from the new Lincoln Complex so we thought we'd head to the inner-most downtown to another drinking establishment.

Let me preface this tale by saying that Springfield blocked off 42 blocks in preparation for the opening on Tuesday. This made parking very difficult. Imagine my surprise when I found a great close spot. As you'll find later, it wasn't as convienent as I had expected.

We ended up walking down to Floyd's, another fun Springfield hotspot. All of the downtown shops and restaurants have been decorating their front windows with Lincoln themes. This is what was in the window of a local popcorn shop. (yes, it's Abe's hat made of black popcorn...)

Floyd's cleverly decorated their window with a Simpson's theme, this is Springfield after all. Nice.

Every Monday night at Floyd's is "Your M.O.M.", a fun open mic night with a fairly large following. On this night, the bar was practically empty, but the boys were still setting up the equipment for those who wanted to brave downtown and take a step up at the mic. Once the event actually began, there was quite a crowd. Of course, each person who got up to sing and/or play dedicated their selection to either Honest Abe, George W., or "librarians in short plaid skirts", in honor of Tuesday's festivities.

The longer we sat and talked and the closer it got to midnight, the more concerned I got about my car. I kept trying to think of solutions in case my car was blocked in by the National Guard. I didn't want to have to rely on my mad Ninja skills to get me out of the jam. It wouldn't be pretty for either party. Jenny decided to meet a friend somewhere else so Lisa and I hung out by ourselves. Lisa was getting sleepy so we decided to leave. I had to walk a couple of blocks back to the car, but I wasn't particulary concerned about security because it was everywhere. However, once I got to my car, all of the excess security became an issue. The street on which I was parked was blocked on both ends with gun-wielding National Guard officers standing at the barricades. I really needed my car and couldn't wait until Tuesday night to get it. I walked over to a police officer that I spotted and, it could've been the short-ass skirt I was wearing, but he was more than willing to escort me, lights and all, out of the barricades onto a safer street.

Then comes Tuesday...the BIG DAY for Springfieldians! President Bush landed at the airport in his Air Force One (could he have been wearing a "perr" of Air Force Ones as well? No, probably not, Nelly is from St. Louis...) and headed straight to the complex. Rumor had it that Clinton, Bush Sr., and Carter were all going to attend the dedication ceremony, but they all had prior engagements. In order to attend the event, one had to have tickets and it sounded, as I listened to the dedication on the radio on my drive to work, that even the "standing room only" spots were packed. I was a little sad about missing the event, but the more I heard, the happier I was that I was tooling down the obstruction-free streets all alone.

As for the complex, it sounds really amazing, it certainly has a grand presence. I'll admit that when the idea was first introduced to the city, along with the price tag, my first thought was of how many citizens in need could be assisted with that much money. Being in social services, my mind just automatically drifts to those issues when the topic of funds is introduced. However, now, after seeing what I've seen of the museum without actually going inside, I think that it's going to be a great addition to Springfield. Growing up here where Lincoln is always the "talk of the town", I think that we sometimes take advantage of what this city has to offer us as well as the rest of the world. Hopefully, the new complex, which is two times larger than any other presidential museum in the country I might add, will enlighten us a little to what our fair city can provide.

I can't wait to actually see what all the fuss is about. I've heard that it's kind of an Epcot-ish, smoke and mirror approach to learning about Lincoln's accomplishments. If that's what makes people pay attention and draws in a larger crowd, so be it. Rest assured that I'll be posting a full review after I've visited...to be continued...

2 Comments:

Anonymous le bozo electrique said...

Land of the FREE, my ass...more like land of the expensive and annoying. A huge celebration for a white elephant if you ask me - and one that will likely have the ivory stripped from it very soon.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous le bozo electrique said...

Land of the FREE, my ass...more like land of the expensive and annoying. A huge celebration for a white elephant if you ask me - and one that will likely have the ivory stripped from it very soon.

12:17 PM  

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