today, very tired.  sooo many photos.  here are just a few of the total.

first, those who started the day with me. mom, randy, martha and wanda.  even though martha and wanda kind of look like twins, they’re not even related.  martha’s shirt reads “got hope?” which is very clever except you can’t read it because of her bag.

erica was also going to join us but when i called her at 10 she sounded like she was still asleep and she opted out.  this was a wise decision on her part because later she told me she hates crowds and heat, and there was a ridiculous amount of both.

this photo could be the first shot of one of those real-life survivor kind of shows.  who will be the only person left standing at the end of the day?  but then, at about 10 in the morning, things seemed good.

as kevin reported, we waited in line from nine until eleven.  it wasn’t so bad, not hot,and after a while the line moved a little and we stood in some shade.  there was plenty to see – many people hawking t-shirts, buttons, obama bears.  i bought two buttons, only 2 for $5.

the women in line in front of us were from ohio.  they were all smoking, which was annoying.  randy offered them chocolate-covered almonds but one of the smoking one said she couldn’t have them because she was diabetic and i wondered how the smoking was helping with the disease, but i said nothing.  one was really short and wore ridiculously high heels.  i wonder how long she lasted out there in the sun.  i’ll never know.  the people in line in back of us were from memphis tennessee and we were surprised that they’d driven all the way to spfld just for the rally.

i walked over to the lincoln hotel to use the bathroomand on the way asked people near the front of the line how long they’d been there.  they got in line at seven.  i guessed there were maybe 500 people in line in front of us, and it wouldn’t have been worth it to get there at seven.

at eleven the line started reallly moving, and at seventh street and washington there was a huge line of screeners.  it was a lot like at the airport, except really really fast and we didn’t have to take our shoes off.  mounds of water bottles lined the streets in front of the screeners because no drinks were allowed inside.

we were hustled through the screening and even wanda had no problem even though she has an artificial hip.  she showed me the card she carries; on one side is a photo of the big metal implant and an x-ray of her hip, and on the other side is her name, her doctor’s name, and the date of the operation.  very interesting.  except it seems that a terrorist could make up a card like that and how would somebody know that was wanda’s hip x-ray and not somebody else’s?  luckily she’s not a terrorist.

i stopped to use the porta-potty before we went to the old state capitol grounds, and later decided this was a mistake because we probably could have gotten closer if i hadn’t delayed us.  people were streaming into the grounds and we found a spot that wasn’t really so bad.  we were maybe 20-30 feet from the podium.  i wish i had a better sense of distance.  it wasn’t very far, that’s all i know.

the thing that struck me is there was no way to gauge the amount of people there.  there could have been a thousand, 10 thousand, 50 thousand, but we couldn’t possibly tell there in the thick of it.  i held my camera up to take this photo of the crowd.  note the chubby guy in the dark blue shirt on the right grinning.  things were jovial early on.

that huge flag is draped over the pease’s candy shop on the north side of the square.  and on the right is the Lincoln Presidential Library.

see that guy in the lower-right corner?  i hated that guy.  it’s funny, when you’re standing there so close to all these people, how quickly you can form an impression.  there was an even more annoying guy than that guy next to him, but you can’t see him because he hadn’t wormed his way up to us yet.  now THAT guy was annoying.  he latched onto the guy in the dark glasses and they really hit it off and exchanged phone numbers and then the other guy kept blathering on and on and ON and i wanted to yell SHUT THE HELL UP but of course i didn’t.  also, the other little guy kept crowding me and i wanted to push him down.  he was small, i’m sure i could have pushed him.

in back of us were all the TV news people.  i think the woman interviewing senator dick durbin might be from univision, and that’s why she has two microphones.  at least that’s what people in the crowd were saying.  so maybe he was talking spanish into one mic and english into the other.

Dick Durbin

there are lots more photos here of things other than the actual candidates, because the day was mostly about the scene that was happening.  also, taking photos and shooting video helped me distract myself from the fact that we were standing in the humid heat for hours with nothing to do and nowhere to go and people only about eight inches at most from me on every side.

it wasn’t a day for the claustrophobic nor the faint of heart.

this gives a pretty good view of how far away we were from the podium.  Note the lack of sign on the front.  I took this around noon, about an hour since we’d started standing there in the sun.

SJ-R cameraman T.J. Salzman was up on the media stand, and i took a picture of him taking a picture – until it dawned on me that he was shooting video, not taking photos.

Elizabeth Wooley from WICS was also up there, looking perfectly made up and coiffed.  i knew he hair always has to be completely shellacked, but i didn’t know how even buckets of powder could keep her makeup from running right off her face.

about 10 minutes after that podium picture above, suddenly the podium had a sign attached.

there were snipers on many of the buildings surrounding the square.  here are a couple of them on top of the bank.

the snipers

these guys were on the building on the south side of the square.

a few people were sitting on the grass, and after a couple of hours i decided to try it.   it’s really tiring  standing in one place for such a long time.  it was kind of nice to sit down, plus i thought it was funny to have this view of everybody’s legs.  wouldn’t you be claustrophobic if you were a little child down there amongst all that?

those are randy’s colorful shorts.  right in back of him were the most annoying little women of all.  they finally plopped to the ground after complaining incessantly.   they proceeded to yammer.

at one point, a poor cricket hopped onto somebody’s shirt.  i’m sure it was frantic, looking for some nature to rest upon, but there was none to be found.  it landed on the woman on the left’s shirt.  randy said to her very quietly, “don’t be alarmed, but there’s a cricket on your shirt.”

he might have said YOU ARE COMPLETELY ON FIRE AND BEING EATEN BY MAGGOTS because the woman yelled and tried to get up but she couldn’t and randy had to help her up and she continued carrying on like she’d been attacked.

i said she’d be a lot of tun to take camping.

like i said, it was easy to be really annoyed by people there in the heat.

the guy in the middle with the tie getting his microphone adjusted is richard wolffe.  i didn’t know this at the time but wanda did, because she’s a news junkie and an even more zealous obama supporter than me.  richard is newsweek’s senior white house correspondent, plus he also works for msnbc and there are many things about him on the web of course including the fact that he wrote a book about tapas.

this guy, alexi giannoulias, is our state treasurer, except here he looks more like some olympic athlete being interviewed, doesn’t he?  he has very good posture.

and it’s just getting hotter and hotter and everybody is getting a little bit delirious, and TJ tied his jacket around his head like a turban.   the crowd is so hot that every time there’s a bit of cloud cover, everybody cheers.  they finally started passing back cups of water, and then everybody started chanting “water, water,” but it rarely made it even back to us.  at one point i got a small sip of warm water, and it was really good.  it was funny that nobody cared in the slightest about sharing these cups.  not nearly enough cups.

it was getting close to two o’clock and randy couldn’t take it anymore, so he left.  it’s good that he realized his limit, because others around us were dropping like flies.  i saw at least a couple of ashen-faced people being helped out of the place.  wanda’s friend martha kept kneeling down on the ground and people were fanning her and wanda called for a medic and one came pretty quick, but martha said she didn’t want to leave.

and finally, FINALLY, after a nice introduction by mayor davlin, OBAMA TOOK THE STAGE.  sometimes it was possible to see him, but there’s that teleprompter on the right which blocked part of his face a lot.  also, even though they didn’t pass out enough water, they were handing out lots and lots of signs, and people would wave the signs and then i couldn’t see again.

martha and wanda left and i thought it was because martha was going to faint, but today wanda said, no, it was because she couldn’t see obama at all because of the telemprompter.  she said they walked to the perimeter and got a drink of water and sat and listened.  not a bad idea.

obama introduced biden and the signs went up.

as biden talked i wondered what Obama was thinking about.

after biden started speaking, mom was ready to go.  i thought i’d leave too, but then i decided that since i’d waited so many hours, i might as well wait till the end.

so it was just me, watching and taking pictures and video.  me and all those other people…now they say there were over 35,000 there.  not as many as the 75,000 that kevin predicted, but a whole lot of people.  i guess they were lined up for a couple blocks in every direction.  so really, we were amazingly close.

when it was all over, and it was over pretty fast, there was lots of posing and pictures.

lots of other people left, but there were still lots and lots of pictures being taken.

and here’s the secret service.

obama walked down the steps and right into the crowd.  i couldn’t see him at all, but all those cameras showed exactly where he was.

there are the guys on top of the building after it’s all over.

i finally decided to get out of there, and the mess was, of course, plenty big.

it was surprisingly easy to get out of the gates.  i could smell the bbq and hear the music from the bbq and blues fest that was taking place right there on the other corner of the square.  mom called and said she was in the lobby of the hilton hotel.

i passed some people drinking water out of a cooler and stopped to slurp a little bit into my hand – the cups were long-gone.

as i walked i started to realize just how hot and tired i was.  i bought a bargain-priced bottle of water for one small dollar.  i reached the hilton and mom and i just sat there for a while.  i drank all my water and then drank some more and was really thankful for water and air-conditioning.

we were going to go to bennigan’s, the restaurant inside the hotel, but of course it was much too packed with people.

the family came over for dinner and i hope i wasn’t acting as tired and crabby as i was feeling.

this morning i got up and read the paper and it said that today it was supposed to be the hottest day of the week, and more humid, till a cold front comes through tonight.  i pointed this out to kevin, who pointed out that i was reading yesterday’s paper.

i’m glad i didn’t have time to read it yesterday morning.

i’m also glad i had the experience yesterday.  not ever being a big concert-goer or person who likes any kind of large group event, i’ve never had an experience anything like that one.

once is enough for me, though.  next time i’ll be content to watch it on TV.

ok then,

sunday grace.