Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Weirdest Dog Park Ever
On my visit to DC this past weekend, my friend Julia and I joined her friend Neil and his Standard Poodle, Mert for a romp through the Congressional Cemetery. Now, I know my loyal readers, all 6 of them, will be thinking, perhaps, that I will say something clever like: “This is where the current Congress spent it’s most recent term!” Actually I’ve decided to tell the truth.
Neil told us that the Congressional Cemetery was established in the early 1800’s to “accommodate” Congressmen who died during their terms and lived in far away states. Refrigeration and embalming techniques were primitive or non-existent in those days, to the guys ended up buried there, for uh……..safekeeping. There are also a large number of Native Americans buried there. They would come to DC to lobby Congress and seeing as Congress didn’t listen very fast, they were there a long time and a lot of them died.
Now, things have changed. The aforementioned Congress men have mostly been re-located to their home states, no doubt to join Chuck Norris in his campaign for Mike Huckabee. And the Native Americans have been honored with a beautiful wooden arch, carved and painted by Northwest tribes. As an added attraction, J. Edgar Hoover is buried there. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps because the cemetery is in the shadow of the monstrous DC jail?
After some time, the place was in disrepair but I guess it was made a Historic Place and at about the same time, it was turned into a dog park. So, for a contribution, dog owners obtain a tag/permit to let their canines off leash among the tombstones. Mert, being a poodle and super smart, was able to lead us to J Edgar Hoover’s grave. I wish I could say that he piddled on J Edgar’s headstone, but I don’t think that happened. The place was crowded with canines, crypts and tombstones of all shapes and sizes.
Close to J Edgar’s grave, Neil showed us a fairly recent grave of a gay soldier. The epitaph said something like: “when I killed men, you gave me a medal. When I loved a man, you took them away”. Just around the corner form Hoover’s grave. Hoover, a man who targeted homosexuals such as Bayard Rustin and many others. Hoover, a man who was gay himself. The irony was not lost on this tourist.
Mert didn’t seem to care much about irony. He was in the weirdest dog park in the world, he had a big stick, and I would not be getting it back unless he allowed it. As the sun was setting on this coldest of all DC days, Mert ran off between the gravestones, laughing, as poodles are known to laugh.