Blogger, Interrupted

Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve been on two business trips this past two weeks, to Phoenix, Arizona and to Richmond, Virginia.  I didn’t bring my camera to AZ, but I had it in Richmond, a city I’d never seen before.   I spent most of my time there in the ER at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, which was not the plan, obviously.

After discharge and navigating through a Soviet-style pharmacy, I decided to walk back to my hotel. 

Here is a plaque on a building near the hospital.  It seemed strange that I would get a serious diagnosis at such an historical location:

virginia-ratifies.jpg

Then I saw this great old building, which wouldn’t look too out of place in San Francisco.  It was on Governor’s Road, not too far from the Virginia governor’s mansion:

on-governors-road-richmon.jpg

A little further away from all the Commonwealth’s majesty, I found this odd salute to the classical style of the old city:

fun-with-pillars-and-an-arch.jpg

I rested up and reunited with my colleagues for dinner at a restaurant that unabashedly bears the name, “The Tobacco Company.”  You walk in, it smells like smoke.  It has cigarette girls.  You almost want to embrace and love all the tradition.  Almost. My own condition is the result of overyielding the seductive calls of bad food.  The evil of the American diet is in the vast amounts of sugar hidden in it. Tobacco is right out there, telling its users, “I’m killing you.”  Maybe that’s part of its appeal.  If James Dean had a chocolate-chip cookie hanging out of his mouth instead of a cigarette, how many posters would he sell?

So I told my dinner companions about my day at the hospital, then wandered out into the cobblestone street on a cool evening, immersing myself in this curiously timeless little city for the few minutes I had left to enjoy it. 

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I would have to get up at 3:30 a.m. to catch my flight — 12:30 a.m. Los Angeles time, which is my approximate bedtime.  The cab driver who took us to the airport is a local historian who regaled us with tales of the Byrd family and what a close call the ratification of the Constitution had been.  That unassuming plaque commemorates a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, it turns out.  Only fitting that a pivotal moment in my life take place on the same site.

3 thoughts on “Blogger, Interrupted

  1. John:

    How just odd that I peek in to your site and learn a) of your visit to MCV and b) that you were in Richmond. Glad you got a good impression.

    The “odd salute” you encountered is an architectural mashup, if you will, with the columns and arches of another older building recovered and placed on the one you’ve pictured, that was constructed in–I think– the ’50s.

    The Tobacco Company was the city’s first “theme” style restaurant and one of the first establishments that led to the revival of this section, called Shockoe Slip. The place brings in a constant trade of residents and visitors alike.

    Unlike nearby Tobacco Row, which consists of condominiums and apartments placed within long-dead tobacco warehouses and factories, the Tobacco Company’s handsome building was, in its past life, dedicated to…fertilizer.

    The plaque honoring Virginia’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution gives a nod to Patrick Henry. By then advanced in years, the “son of thunder” used his oratorical gifts to persuade his fellow delegates to not endorse the Constitution. There was then no assurances that the liberties for which the Revolution was fought would be protected.

    What Henry got was the compromise of later amending the document. And that’s how the Bill of Rights was added.

    Hope you are recovering well.

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