Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Annual Christmas Tree Run 2016 Version.

I no longer work there, but I certainly have friends there and so yesterday I led a noontime Holiday Season Decorations Run on the Mall, as I have every year for the last decade and a half.  Here is a group I led in 2008, at the National Tree on the Ellipse.

Here is the 2016 version of the same scene.

I had tried to lead the same run earlier in the month but the Ellipse was blocked off for some reason and this was as close as we got the the National Tree that day, plus there was no Menorah erected yet, so I rescheduled the run.

The run yesterday  got off to a rocky start.  We skipped the scheduled first stop, at the Botanical Gardens, once we saw that the line to get in to see it snaked out the door.  Here is a picture of the tree from last year''s run, with its cute little Thomas the Engine running around the bottom of the display.

We had better luck at the nearby Capital Tree outside the Capitol.

From there we ran up to Union Station to see the tree inside its cavernous interior.

We were the beneficiaries of melodious singing from a high school choral group from Catonsville, Maryland.

The little Norwegian mountain village display with trains running through it on multiple tracks had been set up behind the chorus.  When my children were young, three Christmas seasons in a row I brought Jimmy, then Johnny, and then Danny to Union Station to see the trains and have lunch.  Merry Christmas, boys, and also to you, too, Laura!

Resuming our tour, we ran by my favorite but mostly unknown Christmas tree, the Peace Officers Tree at the District's courthouse.  You might know that I was a peace officer for nine years in the eighties.  The tree's ornaments are photos of local police officers, including slain officers from the DC police force.  A strong wind the day before had blown several of these tiny, light ornaments off the tree and we collected them all and re-hung them.

Here is a picture of the same tree from the run a few years back.

Last year I participated in the Christmas Tree Run organized by my former running club one weekend.  Here is what the Peace Officers Tree looked like a year ago.  This stop was not on the club's schedule that morning but I told the group about it and insisted we run by it.  This living tree seems to have become more scrawny each year.

Then our tour resumed and we ran by the full, big tree at the Canadian Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here's a view of the same stop from the 2014 run.  A mountie came out and snapped our picture that day, and offered to take my running mate's hockey team on a tour of the embassy.  She never took him up on the offer.

Now the run became a little unmoored.  We went into three establishments along Pennsylvania Avenue that might or might not have had a Christmas tree inside and we were rewarded each time.  The first was inside the Navy Memorial's data room.

As a bonus, we got to pose with a doughboy outside the Navy Memorial's visitor center entrance.  He's a tall boy.

Next we ran up to and went into the recently-opened Trump Hotel, the old Postal Pavillion.

Here you go.  Make America great again (so when did it stop being great?).

We ran across the street to the Willard Hotel.

The Willard Hotel had this tree in its lobby.  Which do you like better?

The Willard also had a tree tucked away in the Nest, behind the Round Nest Bar.

Outside again, we the group posed by another tree at the Willard.  When I asked where the agreeable tourist who snapped the picture was from, he sheepishly said, "I don't know if I should say so, but we're from Texas."  One group member briefly chatted up the man and it turned out they both had some connections to southwest Texas so hopefully we allayed his feeling of being an outsider here.

The run was more than just a quest for every Christmas tree we could find.  We ran by people bedecked out in the holiday spirit.

Here's a picture from the last decade when I conducted the run from work in the evening.  I remember how bitterly cold that night was.

The holiday decorations in front of the White House was our final stop.

We passed by the Menorah on our way back to my running mates' office, where I peeled off to return home.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

No comments: