Inspired by Dr. Seuss (1904-1991).

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away”

Nearly a dozen years have passed since I called Washington home. When I decided to move back to my hometown, after spending a decade in rural New York, I chose to live in Southwest where I bought an apartment at the historic River Park with its unique aluminum architecture. I was enthralled with the proximity to shopping, entertainment, museums, The Wharf, Nationals Stadium and of course, the charming Duck Pond.
I felt quite sophisticated standing outside CVS proudly admiring my newly purchased SmarTrip Card. Its soft hues of blue and green proclaimed the wonders of the Nation’s Capital, all within easy access by Metrobus or rail from my new home.
“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Blissfully embracing my new car-free life, I parked my Town & Country minivan in my assigned parking space, pulled on my Reeboks and jauntily walked a block and a half to the Waterfront Metro Station. My destination was a small museum near McPherson Square for a one o’clock panel discussion about famous American women.
After finally realizing the McPherson Square Metro Stop was not on the Red Line, and a change or two of trains, I arrived at the museum ten minutes before the end of the program. I must have missed a good one because the audience enthusiastically applauded the speakers.
I sat outside Cosi’s in a black wrought iron chair easing my disappointment with a pesto chicken sandwich and large coffee. Staying on the Green Line until I learned how to follow the Metro map seemed the prudent thing to do.
“Out there things can happen, and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you.”

The National Archives is a vast resource for distinguished authors’ talks and lectures. It is also on the Green Line. I expertly tapped my SmarTrip card, boarded the train and congratulated myself when I arrived at the Archives Metro Stop. I felt very humble standing in the quiet dark Rotunda viewing The Charters of Freedom and the scholarly presentation on the War of 1812 was excellent.
The majestic vista from the steps of the Archives Building presented an immense menu of museums and attractions offering an abundance of opportunities to discover more about our nation’s history, art and landscapes. Deciding I had enough cerebral stimulation for the day, I crossed Constitution Avenue heading for my favorite Washington attraction; the Smithsonian’s Merry-go-Round.
“Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.”

I successfully navigated Metro and soon smugly exited at the Waterfront Station. A half hour later I emerged from the impressive new Safeway weighed down with two heavy white plastic bags bulging with fresh produce and scrumptious items from the deli.  Okay, perhaps they were scrumptious items from the bakery, but they were still heavy. Ten minutes later and with my arms two inches longer, I entered my apartment and immediately added to my shopping list reusable grocery bags and a grocery cart.
It will take awhile to get acclimated to my new urban lifestyle and exciting neighborhood with all it has to offer. I am looking forward to Neighbors’ Night at Arena Stage, cheering for the Nats at the new stadium, fresh Maryland crabs from the Maine Avenue Fish Market, the Southwest Arts Festival and eventually becoming an expert at deciphering the Metro map.
“You’re on your own.  And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
D. Sherwood Chamberlain is a professional speaker and writer specializing in the history of America’s First Ladies. You can view her website at: www.deborahjonessherwood.com.

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