(concluded from Part Four)
Sunday, May 31 – Second Verse
When it comes to John F. Kennedy’s assassination, it seems the only thing people agree on is that he was shot. Visiting the site doesn’t help one form a strong opinion one way or the other (not this one, anyway), and I had very little prior knowledge of the topic.
We leave Medieval Times’ wenches, knights and royalty behind us and head to the nearby Dealey Plaza, where the 35th President of the United States made his final public appearance.
With plenty of daylight left after the show, we get out of the van and walk toward the infamous grassy knoll. Before we get there, a somewhat unkempt man intercepts us and starts speaking like a tour guide. He throws out a few theories on what happened, claiming that Lee Harvey Oswald did, in fact, fire a gun from the book depository’s sixth floor, but that his shots were merely distractions while the real killer fired from behind a picket fence atop the grassy knoll. The one who really shot JFK, he says, never was found.
Taking in the whole scene, it is easy to believe his story based on the various X’s on the street marking the presidential convertible’s location at the time of each shot’s impact. He states unabashedly that the flyer he sells for $5 promotes the theory outlined in Oliver Stone’s JFK (which I still have not seen).
One by one, we hand our cameras over to this stranger and pose for pictures at various spots. Moonshot comments that it feels a bit strange smiling for a photo at such a somber site. Some of us voice agreement, but most of us smile anyway.
We politely decline his offer for a more extensive tour, despite his claim that the $35 price is discounted from what he usually charges a group. Instead, Shannon buys a flyer and tips him while we continue on for the self-guided tour.
Without any signs to lead us there, we stumble upon the JFK Memorial, a spare structure that supposedly strikes a more compelling figure in the dark hours, when it reportedly appears to hover. Perhaps then it would inspire me to snap a photo.
Old Red Museum, formerly the Old Red Courthouse, which lies along our route to and from the JFK Memorial, makes us stop and take notice. Built in 1892 of Pecos red sandstone (Pecos County, Texas) and Arkansas blue granite, it stands out among the much more boring buildings on and near Dealey Plaza. My longest zoom can’t get me close enough to the wyverns (not gargoyles) to do them justice.
We conclude our final full day together by going home and snacking while talking and playing Rock Band. Our parental sides admit that we miss our children.
The next day is fine. On the way to Grimaldi’s, a favorite pizza and salad place, I show them where I work and the infamous storm drain that received so much attention here in the past. Following a fine lunch on the restaurant’s back patio, we drive to the airport.
Once more we squeeze our friends we first met online and wish them a safe trip. We know we’ll keep in touch, as we always have.
Next time, Canada, here we come.