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An afternoon at the Smithsonian

ON SECOND THOUGHT by James Logue

NEWS EDITOR

Our family took a trip to Washington, D.C., over the Memorial Day weekend. It included a trip to the Smithsonian, which is a pretty cool place, I must say.

First stop was the Air and Space Museum where we saw Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, Chuck Yeager's X-1 and the plane the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.

I read once that when Lindbergh was an old man, the museum people lifted him up in a cherry-picker, and he sat once again in his old plane. One can only imagine what went through his mind as he sat there, especially when the flight attendant told him to turn off his CD player.

At the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, we were treated to a special exhibit on the American presidency. We saw the tophat that Lincoln wore to his ill-fated visit to Ford's Theater, FDR's cape that he wore at Yalta and a chiffon evening gown that Grover Cleveland wore at a State of the Union address.

The Smithsonian is famous, of course, for historical artifacts ranging from dinosaur bones to George Washington's false teeth. But the museum is also known for its relics of pop culture.

You can't visit the place without seeing the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz." I don't know why they're so fascinating, but they are. I just stood and stared at them for several minutes, thinking that the great Judy Garland wore these very shoes, walking around a soundstage so many years ago in a drug-induced stupor.

Another exhibit that isn't quite so popular is a hair ball coughed up by the Cowardly Lion.

Other items I thought were rather impressive were Archie and Edith Bunker's living room chairs from "All in the Family," an Emmy award won by Groucho Marx and a pencil sharpener that Buffalo Bob used to torment Howdy Doody.

As we left, I wondered what we might find 20 or 30 years from now at the Smithsonian. As we rode the Metro back to the motel, I compiled a little list:

1. President George W. Bush's collection of CliffsNotes.

2. The last SUV to roll off the production line, before they were banned in 2002.

3. An autographed program from the Rolling Stones Farewell Tour of 2030.

4. The desk President Britney Spears used in the Oval Office.

5. A copy of Timothy McVeigh's 27th stay of execution, filed in 2015.

6. Sen. Daschle's hairpiece.

7. A lawnmower donated by the James Logue Foundation, used only on rare occasions.

News editor James Logue can be reached at 626-1031 or by e-mail at jlogue@exponent-telegram.com.

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