Monday, November 26, 2007

A Night to Remember

The day after Thanksgiving we took a trip to the Ronald Reagan library and museum. I am not political so I have no comment about his presidency what he did or did not do etc... the museum is in Simi Valley near my brother's house so we went.

At this point I need to backtrack to my brothers' house and the end of the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. I left the table with a very full belly and a headache, stomach ache, chills, body aches and sore throat. I had been sick since Sunday but I thought I had recovered (fools me every time) and now all I could think about was getting back to the hotel and going to bed. But that would have been way to simple. Shortly after getting into the car the fuel light goes on and my husband says, "We need to get gas". Great. "Why didn't you get gas earlier?" "I forgot Besides it's your fault because I wanted to get gas in San Diego but you said to wait and get it in L.A. because it's cheaper" Okay. We are now driving in a city we don't know, trying to follow my Dad to our hotel because we don't know where that is and my cell phone doesn't have reception. I tried to call but only got the recorded message blah, blah, blah out of service...Thanks, isn't there an emergency number that I can use?

To make matters worse I am now certain that I need to throw-up. My husband says, " I need to catch up with your Dad" I'm thinking, "What are you James Bond, but I say, Let's just get gas and make a call from the station" So he pulls off the freeway in search of a gas station, but they are all closed. Surprise. Three times we search for a station. The third time we find a place. At this point I am so weak I can't stand and I have to throw-up. I open the car door to ask my husband to get a paper towel but I make the mistake of saying, "Hurry" My husband doesn't hurry ever. His response looked something like a really bad silent movie with keystone cops fumbling about. You've seen it, arms waving, darting back and forth, lots of anxiety - but no towels. I am holding back the puke when my cell phone rings. My son answers it but can't hand the phone to his Dad because the pump is blocking the door. So.. as I hold my hand to my mouth I grab the phone, hand it to my husband over the roof of the car and grab the two towelettes he has . Great. I proceed to retch, in public, in a gas station bay, which is certainly one of the best echo chambers. I don't care. I will never see these people again in my life and I can't really see them right now. We leave the gas station and meet up with my Dad. Miraculously no four letter words have been voiced . We finally get to our hotel. It is the military base, Point Magu. Okay. I wanted to stay at the Hyatt (5 minutes away) but I compromise. I get to bed. Every two or three hours I get up to go the bathroom. Okay.

Next day everyone wants to go to the Ronald Reagan museum. I'm feeling better so...
besides I thought it'll probably only be an hour and then we'll go home. No such luck.

The museum is huge. I really do like museums. I like to read all the captions and really look at everything. But not today.

The museum sits high on top of a mountain in Simi valley and has a spectacular view. But it was very, very, very windy that day. Santa Ana type winds and I was freezing. The first thing we saw was his burial site. Then this...

It is an exact replica of a portion of the Berlin Wall. The beauty of the single slab of concrete set against the vast background of the sky and valley seemed to yell, "Let Freedom Reign"
I wondered about the artists who painted the wall. Were they given permission to paint or did they sneak at night and smile silently to themselves when the city awoke to find color in place of cold grey cement?

Here's a picture of my daughter and the wall.
Inside we paid and proceeded to wander about.

Three things -
1. I enjoyed the gallery with Nancy Reagan's clothes. I read somewhere that she was a size "0" but I thought it couldn't be true. Well it is. That woman is tiny. I mean she is about the size of a small 14 yo. Yikes.
2. Inside the museum is a wing where Air Force One is housed. It is absolutely spectacular. The airplane sits atop pillars that are three stories off the ground. The plane is positioned at a 2 degree angle so that it appears to be in flight and it is pointed at the largest window I have ever seen in my life. Long, long, long lines of people waiting for their turn to enter the aircraft wraped around the top floor. I got queasy thinking about standing in a line that long so I decided to go downstairs -near a bathroom to wait.
3. There is an exact replica of the Oval Office. What impressed me most was the absence of technology - no computers, no televisions, nothing. Very interesting.

I left the museum thinking what an incredible life Ronald Reagan had. He did fun things like acting, he met great people, he traveled the world - in style, and he made a difference.

Here's a picture of my oldest son next to a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan.


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