Sunday, April 16, 2006


The parade wound its way back to the monument area. There was no finishing point, no judges. Just a winding, snake-like, people joining, dropping out.

The three of us left the parade at the Lincoln Memorial and climbed the steps to view the great man. Of all the memorials in Washington at the time, Lincoln`s was, for me, the most imposing. We sat at his feet and Ed opened his wallet and removed a hit of blotter LSD, offered me half. I declined, laughing, “Are we goin` to hire a driver to get us home?” He put half the piece in his mouth, sat back, waiting for the rush.

Keeping one eye on him, didn`t want to go searching again, I joined my brother who was standing back, gazing at the immense statue of “The Great Emancipator”. Mike majored in history in college and shared what he knew of Lincoln, the good and the bad. I was pleased to see he was thinking clearly, pretty sober. I`d probably need his help keeping an eye on Ed in the next few hours.

Mike and I spoke of earlier times; our age difference precluded our hanging around together but there are always stories. The one he always delighted in was his tenth birthday. He laughed as he recited the tale, smiling at my discomfort. I had bought him a brand new Wilson basketball for his present. Course, he didn`t play basketball at the time while, at sixteen, I was in love with the game. He always said it was the nicest gift I ever gave myself for his birthday!

We talked of when I scored the winning basket with 16 seconds left to capture the Philly summer league championship and of the game when he scored 17 points that summer. He was so proud of that game, playing with the older guys, getting hot, making every shot. Ah, the love I felt for him.

By this time Ed was rushing from the acid, smiling, in wonder. From our vantage point at Lincoln`s feet, he looked down at the vast expanse, the hordes of people.

“I knew this day would come” he said.

“Does it help, Ed?”

“Yes, a lot, Vince. Thanks for comin` with me.”

“No problem, Ed. Just stay with me here, no wanderin`!” We spent the next few hours tagging along as Ed roamed, seeing everything and more. I wondered what he must be thinking, of Vietnam, of this demonstration.