So far, most of my summer has been marked by the high humidity of Washington, DC, and the accompanying thunderstorms. It’s like the air gets so full of humidity that it has to pour rain. We had a monster thunderstorm come through on the heels of Hurricane Bill and there was something like ten tornado warnings all around. One actually touched down in Triangle.
Summer has always represented fun and adventure for me because the weather’s so good. At least aside from the thunderstorms, but frankly, it’s not fun to go to a Civil War demonstration when the wind chill is in the single digits.
One of my first trips was to the Dulles Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. That’s an awesome place! I did a fair amount of walking because it houses planes and jets. One of the surprises was the SR-70, the Blackbird. That was a spy plane the U.S. used for a long time, but has since been retired.
But it wasn’t the first time I’d seen it.
The last time was in the 1970s, also in the summer time. My father worked at Lockheed then, and they held an organization day in Palm Springs, California. The Blackbird was on display for us to look at. I remember there was an armed guard standing in front of it, arms folded across is chest, to make sure no one else got near it.
I also remember thinking that the plane we’d heard about in the news seemed kind of small. Then I got to the Air and Space Museum, and it’s this gigantic, magnificent plane. I don’t know – maybe the one I saw was a smaller model.
After that, it was the space shuttle Columbia. I’ve seen the Endeavor in Los Angeles. There they allowed you to actually walk under it. Air and Space did not allow that. The Columbia itself was “used” – you know how film always makes spaceships like look the future is clean and perfect. I could see the impact of traveling through space had on the tiles.
Then there’s the dragon of the aforementioned title.
We had family day at work. It had the usual stuff for kids, bouncy things, water slides, pony rides, and paddle boats. Gigantor turtle (a foot long turtle) made a brief appearance, then leisurely dove back into the pond. A few of the other surfaced, but most stayed away from all these people.
We had a number of demonstrations, including dances from Mexicans and Indians, as well as a Chinese Dragon. The dragon consisted of two men wearing the dragon costume. The costume was red, probably nylon, with rows of nylon hair, and bells.
The men were pretty good. Both had to work in coordination to the music, and the back end man probably couldn’t see much.
During the dragon’s dance, it moved around the crowd, sometimes approaching the people in the audience. Some where like, “Ew! What is this?” I was laughing and enjoying the dance, so the dragon came over and snuffled up my side. The costume was a bit scratchy, but it was fun.