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Half-baked at the White House


The conveyor belt and metal detector were temporary, but the guard stood immovable. “You can either take it back to your car, or leave it with us,” he said. “And if you leave it with us, you don’t get it back.” He pointed to the sign that noted no insulated cups were allowed—even empty ones. So I turned in my potential weapon. Then I gripped my pink ticket for the White House Garden Tour and resisted the desire to tell the guy that no one in their right mind would try to park here.

I joined the crowd. I imagine us all imagining sun glancing off pink, purple, and yellow blooms, the diva perfume of lilac and the tender sweetness of daffodils.

But as I followed the masses down the path, I started to suspect mugs weren’t the only items banned from the grounds. Clouds layered themselves between me and the sun as I passed by a Rose Garden without roses and expanses of closed green buds. No perfume or sea of color here; just a half-baked project in a vacuum of chilly air.

As if to accentuate the theme, off to one side stood an area that looked like a patio trying to become a half basketball court. The green-tinted ground was fringed by rusting park benches and perhaps a bag or two of cement and paint to mark fresh foul lines. Continue reading

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