by Melissa Brunner
The 2011 inauguration ceremony is officially in the books. Two themes come to mind as I take a few minutes to collect my thoughts - one, I still enjoy the ceremony of such events and, two, the best laid plans can so easily go astray!
And so it went with Mother Nature. Sure, the organizers said the event would move indoors should it snow. Initially, that was to be the Dillon House at the corner of 9th & Harrison. Suddenly, Saturday, that was changed to the House chambers. What's the difference? Well, for us, it's the difference between pulling cables through a ground level door to a ground level room from a street-side spot, to figuring out how to get cables to the third floor of the Statehouse through secured entrances! It's not like the movies where you pick your spot, flip a switch and magically appear on the air!
Still, a group of us came in Sunday and proceeded with "Plan A," knowing what the forecast had in store. We brought our trucks down to make sure we got our desired spot on 10th Street. We marked a spot on the media platform outside. And we waited. Sunday night - organizers still hoping to go ahead outdoors. By 6am Monday, well, so much for "Plan A!"
It took three times longer than usual to get to the Statehouse, with I-70 traffic crawling or stopped for slide offs at the Gage and MacVicar ramps. But once we got there, I have to give a big thanks to the Statehouse facilities management personnel. Gov. Brownback's staff put us in touch with Marilyn, who walked outside with us to find an appropriate spot for our trucks, Barry worked to get gates and doors open (he was even willing to use a bolt cutters if needed - it wasn't!), a Highway Patrol trooper put up with us going in and out the door he was assigned to secure, and other staffers carried carpets to doorways to ensure people wouldn't trip over our cables. (Side note - we used my scarf to tie off one cable, so as not to risk suffing the pretty woodwork on a railing!) The weather adding to an already hectic day could have put everyone in a grumpy mood. Instead, they took it all in stride. Unfortunately, it appears you all learned how snow can impact satellite receivers - sorry for the technical glitches you saw in our picture.
My mom finds it fascinating when I cover events like an inauguration or a Presidential visit. I'll often put her off and explain all the "hurry-up-and-wait" involved and we really don't get too close to the action. But when I step back and take a moment to soak it in, I'm reminded of the importance of these events and remember how it's pretty cool that I get to be a part of them - even if it is from the media's back row!