I drove to Cleveland on Wednesday to hang out with my sister for a few days. I got there at about 3:00 after an uneventful drive. It was a bit cool and damp, so I hung out inside with the cats rather than on the porch. I was a tad tired from the trip so we all had a quiet evening, just went to dinner at a local pan-Asian restaurant which was quite good.
Stacey was working, so on Thursday I took myself to the Cleveland Museum of Art
, which is in the midst of reconstruction and renovation. So they were having a moving sale in their shop, and I picked up a couple of books (this will be a theme), one on the artist Bettye Saar
, and the other on ebru
, Turkish paper marbling. The weather, though a bit overcast, was cool and the rain held off, so it was a good day to walk around the Cleveland Botanical Gardens
. They have a lovely variety of gardens, including an herb garden, within which are beds dedicated to culinary and medicinal herbs, a Japanese garden, a Children's Garden, and I took scads of pictures. Inside, they have a "Cloud Forest" room, with flora (and some fauna) of the Costa Rican rain forest. They release butterflies there and you walk around with butterflies and little tropical birds flying around. I got some photos, but mostly the butterflies were moving too fast.
In the Children's Garden is a koi pond, where I took one of my favorite pictures ever
I also visited the Western Reserve Historical Society
, primarily to see the exhibit on Louis and Carl Stokes (Louis was Ohio's first African-American Congressman and Carl was the first African-American mayor of a large U.S. city), but found that there was an exhibit of children's clothing (called "Short and Sweet"). It's interesting to see how clothing reflects the changing view of children, from miniature adults to childhood as a very distinct period of life.
After dinner at an excellent place called Luxe
(I had a very yummy gnocchi with asparagus in a lemon basil cream sauce), we went to a friend of Stacey's to watch Barack's acceptance speech, which was, I thought, spot on.
My sister had directed me to go to Loganberry Books
, which is a fantastic store! It's bright and big and roomy, and has scads of books, and the prices are extremely reasonable. After browsing for a couple of hours, I picked up a few goodies, including Louisa's Wonder Book
, a work by Louisa May Alcott that was unknown until Madeline Stern discovered it after some bibliographic sleuthing. There's a bindery in the store as well, but they weren't open.
Directly across the street was a delightful café called Flying Cranes, which, in addition to the expected quiches, salads and sandwiches, serves Japanese food, such as teriyaki and udon. So I had lunch there in their big garden, filled with flowers, on a trellised deck. The street has a lot of antique shops, too, so I wandered about before heading back to Stacey's to enjoy a book, cats and iced tea on her porch:
(The book is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals
, which is huge! And which I managed to leave at Stacey's - really annoying - but she's going to mail it to me.)
In the evening, we went to an art gallery opening and stopped in at a nearby bookstore, where I found a huge gorgeous volume on ikebana
for a ridiculously low price. Then on to Jazz 28
, a small venue that has good food and live jazz.
On Saturday, we attended funeral services for Stacey's Congresswoman, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones at Cleveland's Public Auditorium. Tubbs-Jones had a lot of "firsts" - first African-American woman on the Court of Common Pleas, first African-American woman elected a county prosecutor in Ohio, first African-American woman to represent Ohio in the House of Representatives (she filled Louis Stokes' big shoes). All the big shots were there - Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Sherrod Brown, Ted Strickland and the list goes on. They eulogized her with warmth and affection and humor - she was obviously much loved. Two of the Congressmen who spoke, Kendrick Meeks from Florida and Tim Ryan from Ohio, came up to the podium together, as young men she had called her "black son" and her "white son". When they were done, her biological son came up and the three hugged for a very long time.
Inevitably, given the timing and a room full of Democratic politicians, you'd have been forgiven for at times mistaking the event for a Barack Obama campaign rally (though he himself confined his remarks to honoring her legacy). Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, after a nod to the bipartisan composition of the congressional delegation, gave a rousing call to get out the vote for Obama, and Louis Stokes turned to Barack and thanked him, saying, "I'm 83, and two days ago you gave me something I thought I'd never live to see." (I had thought, when I was going through the exhibit at the WRHS, that it was too bad Carl wasn't around to see that day.)
But the most moving part of the event for me was the young lady who followed a boatload of high-powered, professional speakers - ministers and politicians - to the podium. A 16-year-old high school student, Tiffany Robertson described how Tubbs-Jones visited her eighth-grade class, looked around at the girls, and told them they were the future. She promised them that if they got their grades up, she'd be there for them, and she kept that promise. Tiffany called T-J "mom" and her son "brother". Not a lot of politicians get a eulogy like this:http://www.wkyc.com/video/default.aspx?maven_playerId=articleplayer&maven_referralPlaylistId=playlist&maven_referralObject=837187371
With all those pols, it was not surprising that an event scheduled for 11:00 - 1:00 was still going strong at 2:00. We had to leave, so we could grab a bite to eat before I started my drive home, but heard all the special tributes (we figured that it would take forever to read all the resolutions and acknowledgements!).