We ended up not getting in to the convocation center--they filled up around 4:15. But our timing was good--just as we found out they weren't letting anyone else inside, we found ourselves at the corner of the soccer field where an impromptu "stump" had been set up--a small, square platform, surrounded by metal crowd-control fencing. Rumor got around that Senator Obama was going to stop there before going inside--a consolation prize for the unlucky thousands who didn't get in, us included. By that time, there was also a line to get inside the metal fencing in front of the platform, so we just positioned ourselves behind the last barrier to wait the last few minutes before Senator Obama's appearance. He made a short speech, came down in the crowd to shake some hands, then went on his way. Well worth the wait--we had better, closer, contact than we would have inside, and we were able to get away before the throngs of people left after the rally.
After escaping Harrisonburg, we decided to swing past the airport to check it out and were able to get in to wait for Senator Obama's arrival, with a small crowd where we saw many familiar local faces. We couldn't get close enough for a look, although the motorcade arrived while we were there and drove right past us. We walked around for a little while waiting for the plane to take off (we could see it, but the pictures are crappy), but Andrew finally said, "I'm cold, and I want to go home." He had been a trooper the whole day, never complaining about being bored just holding onto my coat strings, standing in line, or freezing his little butt off, so we took him at his word and came home to a late, store-bought dinner and some hot chocolate--tired, cold, but happy to have had this experience as a family and with people close to us.
No matter what your politics are, the chance to see the man who might be president in a few months is something you shouldn't pass up. Would I have gone as far for McCain? No way in hell, but that's just me. When deciding whether to go or not, to take Andrew or not, etc...the thought that kept at me was, "This is history in the making. This is a story you'll be able to tell Andrew and that he'll be able to someday tell his own children." So the fact that I've personally been just about disowned over this election is trivial--my father will get over himself eventually, stop sending me text messages that say, "Marxist Socialist!" and getting mad at me when I ask him to stop costing me money to send asinine crap he heard on "the news" he watches. In seven days, the future will be decided, today will be history, and we will have been part of it. It's worth getting a little cold. --T