Today, President Obama visited Charlottesville. The President of France is visiting and Obama chose to take a little jaunt to TJ's stomping grounds because of Mr. Jefferson's love of all things French. I would like to add that he could have visited Francophile James Monroe's estate as well. Monroe was once given a bust of Napoleon of Napoleon from the Emperor himself and I'm not sure you can get more French-loving than that. (Then again, Monroe also established the Monroe Doctrine, which advocated an American foreign policy of "we'll leave you alone if you leave us alone" so perhaps that is sending the wrong kind of message in an attempt to have a good working relationship with foreign heads of state?)
All day, Charlottesville has quietly buzzed with the pride of the idea that at some unknown time, Obama and the President of France (Hollande) would descend on our community. We weren't told many details but that all or any roads could be closed between the hours of 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm. My friend and I tried our best to figure out day care scheduling. You can imagine our thrill when we traveled down 29 to find very little traffic...that is, until we saw the roadblocks. Of course, my friend's son's daycare was smack dab in the middle of section of road blocked off. There wasn't much we could do but park and walk into to retrieve the baby on foot.
It was a surreal feeling to walk down a normally busy street, while cars beyond the barriers adjusted their routes in desperate attempts to return home during a suddenly not-so-normal commute. The baby was about as thrilled as the weary commuters so we sang his favorite song in an attempt to distract him.
"The wheels on the bus go round and round..."
In honor of the occasion, we even invented a few new verses:
"Obama on the bus goes 'Shut down all the roads' all through Charlottesville."
"Le President de France goes 'Take me too' all through Charlottesville."
But did I glimpse of any presidential convoy? Nope. Not one bit. I could almost believe I made it up.