March 1 is here which means day one of a Slice of Life. Yes! I am taking the plunge and I’m going to write and post here every day for a month. That’s 31 whole days during the month of March! I’ve been following a blog called Two Writing Teachers and they’ve challenged their followers to write every day during March. Today is day 1! I’m going for it and you personally have my permission to hassle me if you see me slacking. Each day, I will draft up a daily dose of daily doings. There’s plenty and today’s a perfect day to begin.
Here is a multiple choice question: What is the benefit of living near the Georgia capitol? (a) you have stately, gold-domed buildings to gaze upon during down town commutes, (b) you have seasonal XL traffic downtown, (c) you have parking garages, decks and sketchy lots scattered about (d) you can have your kids page under the gold dome, (e) all of the above. If you picked (e), then you are correct! Today, we experienced all of the above: traffic and buildings, a $13 parking spot, rain, paging and Georgia peanuts (little packages of Georgia peanuts are ubiquitous at the capitol!).
Our objective today: blaze through the rain and traffic, get to downtown, park and make the paging training session by 12:30. All of that effort was worthwhile to page at the Georgia Capitol. The Georgia Paging Program is a fantastic way for young people to learn about the legislative process by actually being right in the middle of the action. House Pages hand-deliver messages from constituents and lobbyists to the representatives on the house floor. Usually, these are small notes regarding upcoming bills and resolutions that are being addressed that day. This process is kind of old school because all of these representatives could easily receive texts or email, but the Georgia General Assembly has reserved this job for our young students. My paging- child said of it today, “It made me feel like I was doing something important.” Here he is checking in at the Paging Desk.
What’s captivating is the activity going on all around. There’s legislators chatting quietly in small groups, constituents sitting on benches with brief cases waiting for a chance to talk with their Senators, interns bustling busily about the marble floors and elementary school groups listening to tour guides under the giant rotunda. The capitol is both quite and loud at the same time which is likely due to the abundance of sound-absorbing marble everywhere inside. It is also one of the best people watching places in the state. Everyone, it seems, was here today.
Putting on a coat and tie is just one of the perks of paging. They also pay each page $10 for their service and provide lunch and snacks. Here’s a glimpse at the page training session which we barely made on time. We had about 30 pages working today, a robust number. After the training, its time to await your turn. These patient pages seem unaware of the stately men and women who have roamed these halls before and whose pictures hang above their heads. Can you tell this picture was taken just before snack time?
While my ninth grader was busy paging, we took a tour of the fourth floor museum where we learned all kinds of interesting tidbits about the capitol. According to our friend Chase, this painting of Lester Maddox is the only painting of a governor wearing a seersucker suit. And, on the last day of the session, every legislator wears a seersucker suit in his honor. It is a stellar tradition and Chase says he’ll be buying a one to wear in the next week. The Georgia peaches next to Lester’s wife are a nice touch.
No annual visit to the Georgia Capitol is complete without a stop by the two-headed calf. This weird exhibit has been wowing visitors for years and never ceases to amuse my youngest child. It is a bit strange to have this in the capitol. Hopefully our visitors realize that all Georgia cows aren’t born with two heads!
At the top of the capitol looking down over the beautiful architecture and the cascading while marble steps, we heard that the session was adjourned. It was time to check out our page. “If you don’t check your page out, they can’t leave,” they told us as we dropped him off earlier. Down the stairs and a couple of steps around the corner, there he was looking very business-like, Alexander Stephens looking over his shoulder.
That’s it for our first slice. Its a slice of Georgia life. See you tomorrow.