Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Got here just in time

Wednesday August 29, 2012
Charlottesville, Virginia


Amazing that my friend Lynda emails me on Tuesday to find out if I am back in Charlottesville and to tell me that President Obama is coming to speak the next day at the end of his “college tour”.


WOW!  Color me excited!


She says she can get tickets for us and that  he won’t be arriving until about 3:00 but the tickets say the gates will open at 1:00.  Her office is just down the block from the open air pavilion where he is to speak so she suggests I meet her at her office at 1 and we will just go on down and sit and wait and talk.


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At about 12:45 here I am approaching Charlottesville’s downtown mall which is a gathering place in this town.  It is one of the longest pedestrian malls in the country at 8 blocks long, is bricked in and lined with shops, restaurants with outdoor seating ,a movie theater and an ice rink. 

The Omni hotel anchors one end and the open air Pavilion where we are headed the other.  City Hall is also here as is the beautifully restored 1930’s Paramount Theater where vintage movies and live touring entertainment perform.  There is a children’s merry go round, a Free Speech wall complete with chalk for stating your opinion and lots of vendors with tables.  It’s the old main street of the town and a very interesting place to visit.


Just walk on down and sit and wait…..


So here I come at the far end of the mall, 8 blocks from the pavilion.

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As I approach the Regal Cinema, one block in, I see it…. the line to get in is SEVEN blocks long.  Duh….it’s the President.  What WERE we thinking??

I hurry up to Lynda’s office, she gets her things and in the 5 minutes that takes, the line is another block long by the time we get back.






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But it is now 1:00 and the line SLOWLY starts moving forward.  It takes an hour to walk those 8 blocks.  LOL!  We go by the Free Speech wall. VICTORY is right since it is just steps away from the point at which we see why the line is moving so slowly.





Obama TIXA


They take Our tickets and shuttle us through 3 secret service check points.  You have to have electronics on, so they can make sure they are real I’m told,  and all bags opened.  They take everything out of ladies purses.  HA!  I don’t want that job for sure.   I don’t take a picture of this “just in case”.




Well maybe this isn’t going to be so bad, look at the room.


At first it seems there is a nice open area under the tent cover so we go on in. A few other folks do too.  But mostly everyone is to the left.  We wonder why.   We have a fairly good look at what we think is the “stage” there in front of the American Flag.

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There is a Virginia Blue Grass group playing music there while we wait some more.  And wait we do.  Another hour and a half.

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We figure it out when the speeches start and someone about six feet tall says that the podium is in front of the camera  platform which we are BEHIND.  WAY BEHIND!  Another DUH here!!!

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Good thing it’s a friendly crowd.

This in fact is our spot along with ultimately 7500 of our closest friends and I do mean close as we are in the standing room only section.  This is what we get for not coming as about 10 folks did at 8:15 in the morning to make sure they got good seats up front

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But it’s not as bad as it could be, these are the folks behind us standing in the 86 degree Virginia sunshine.  Whew….glad we at least got under the tent.

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We stand for another hour and a half waiting and listening to UVA student speakers, the former very popular local congressman, the former governor now running for the senate.

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Finally a roar goes up and we know he’s come in

He shakes hands with  students in the bleachers set up for the cameras.  I’ve wisely brought my binoculars so that when the camera man on the platform leans to his left, I can actually see the President of the United States. 

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But this picture, taken with my camera,  is compliments of a man 6 foot tall standing to my side.  In my next life, that’s how tall I’m going to be, so that no matter how far back I am, I can still see!!


The President’s speech draws lots of cheers and is directed at the students, reminding them that they were very instrumental in his victory 4 years ago and that he has kept faith with them.  He promised he would tackle the student loan problem and he has, he promised he would deal with health care and his plan allows them to stay on their parents coverage until they are 27, time enough to get through college and even some graduate school.  He mentions green jobs as the real energy future and numerous other parts of his platform geared to the young and tells them that again he needs them to stand with him so he can finish what he’s started in trying to right an economy it took 8 years to move from a budget surplus we had in 2000 to the deficit we have now.  This gathering of people love him as he tells them that he loves to hear their chanting but what he needs is their voting!


We’re all energized by his enthusiasm and that of the people around us.

When he leaves people stream out looking happy and excited.  Charlottesville is a pretty small town for a Presidential visit.

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We later hear that he actually walked down the mall and stopped at the recreation center and made a surprise visit to the Democratic campaign office also on the mall.  Imagine what the secret service thought about all of that.  But good for you Mr. President!  

We are pretty happy too that we were able to hear the President speak just by being willing to spend some time waiting.  Well worth it say we both.  But maybe we should have milled around some more.  Who knows??

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  1. Great blog! Loved the pictures and the story too. Very cool that the President came to Charlottesville and very sorry I missed out on that - except for the waiting and waiting in the hot Virginia sun. I hope Charlottesvillian will head his message and get out the vote!

  2. How exciting! I'd definitely spend the time waiting. And, how sweet that the tall man took a picture for you. Lefties are nice people. :D

  3. Wow you got to see the President! My brother in law just waited in Denver to see him. I'm sure you're glad to be closer to home. What's the weather like? Is it cooler at night? Take care and tell David to keep on eating! Haha

  4. What an awesome opportunity and certainly worth the wait. Need one of those extension thingys for the camera.

  5. Oh how exciting that you got to see the President!! Boy, how lucky that you got back just in time. We overheard a little boy telling someone that he recently got to shake the President's hand. He was waaaayyyyy excited!

  6. Well what a great day you had...very exciting....

  7. Sounds like a great opportunity for anyone who can bear the crowds ... not for me I'm afraid. I'd be hyperventilating in that press of humanity.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful day!

  9. How exciting to be in the presence of the President. No matter what your political affiliation, he's a very charming and influential man.

  10. The last I heard the University of Virginia wasn't going to allow him to speak there. Did they change their minds, or was he off campus?

    1. He was at the Pavilion on the Downtown Mall in the middle of Charlottesville as the blog said. Secret Service said they'd have to close down a serious number of buildings and President Sullivan didn't want to cancel so many classes since the semester had just started. But the venue was within easy walking distance of the University and the students made a up a large portion of the crowd. So it all worked out fine.

  11. THUMBS UP! How exciting...what an opportunity! I hope his message met the crowds with cheers...rights for woman, more green energy and cleaning living, insurance for all, and college grants for those in need!

  12. See, all that PDD style of travel got you there just in the nick of time! Glad you enjoyed the President's visit, it isn't everyday that you get to visit with him (and 7500 of your closest friends). ;c)

  13. How exciting to have that opportunity, and just at the right time! I remember seeing President Clinton about 20ish years ago when he was on the campaign trail. Actually, I got to see Hillary; I was too far away to get a good view of Bill. Exciting, none the less :)

  14. Rock on Party Girl!
    How fun.
    !!! FORWARD !!!

  15. Oh what fun!! So great you got back at just the right time and have a wonderful friend who made this happen for you:o))) You both look like you had a great time!!!

  16. Wow, how exciting! It is so wonderful to hear folks who are excited about our President, to see people gathering to listen to him. I live in a part of the world where that doesn't happen enough. I do get awfully tired of the Obama bashing that goes on. I am a left-of-the-middle-of-the-road progressive in an extreme right leaning world. Oregon is truly only progressive in the Willamette Valley.

  17. Oh and i did not comment on your seeing 'the president'..i KNEW when he was in East Davenport i should have made more of an effort. Sue is right, they just don't come to Oregon, or at least NEVER to the 'little' people places in Oregon :)

  18. Perfect timing for you...so happy that you got to see President Obama! Sounded like a fun and great opportunity.

  19. Lucky you!! We were in Indiana having our RV painted the year Obama was elected. We lived in a motel for 3 months and loved every second of the election and we are simply Canadians.


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