Tue 20 Jan 2009
For nearly 500 West Marin residents watching TV inside Toby’s Feed Barn this morning, the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama carried the excitement of Prince Charles’ visit, mankind’s landing on the moon, and Western Weekend all happening at once.
Residents sat around a screen on which was projected CNN’s coverage of the ceremonies.
Other residents stood around those residents, and still more sat on piles of seed sacks or on towering stacks of hay bales.
Although the 2000 census found that whites account for 89 percent and Latinos for 10 percent of West Marin’s population, residents of all races and ages were on hand to witness together the swearing in of the first black president in US history.
Some adults brought children as young as toddlers to this historic celebration. Others brought dogs. However, no one that I saw brought both.
In November’s presidential election, President Obama had carried West Marin with 86 percent of the vote, and a number of people today celebrated the fact that bigotry can no longer control nationwide election results. Indeed, as soon as President Obama finished taking the oath of office, the woman standing in front of me began shaking hands with everyone around her, saying to each, “Congratulations, my fellow American.”
The center of attention at Toby’s was a projection screen intriguingly located under pallets piled with sacks of seed and fertilizer — and in front of a wall festooned with bunting, the Stars and Stripes, and President Obama’s call to action.
Feed Barn proprietor Chris Giacomini (foreground) and other celebrants clap during President Obama’s inaugural address.
Watching televised coverage of history being made.
Tuesday’s schedule of inaugural celebrations around Tomales Bay began with a sunrise swim at Chicken Ranch Beach in Inverness. I’m as enthusiastic about our 44th president as the next West Marin resident, but I wasn’t about to brave the cold or the hour.
Inverness tree trimmer Tom Kent, who did go, told me approximately 75 people were on hand, and others told me that most of those got in the water, including one young woman who braved the the chilly bay au naturel. Did Tom take a dip in the bay too? “I borrowed a wetsuit,” he replied. “It was the first time I’d ever worn one. Boy, do they take a long time to get into!”
President Barack Obama takes the oath of office. One hand is on a bible (held by First Lady Michelle Obama) that Abraham Lincoln used for his 1861 inauguration.
Today’s events are being hosted by: Point Reyes Books, Toby’s Feed Barn, Mainstreet Moms, The Dance Palace, and Point Reyes Nation. A breakfast including pastries, orange juice, coffee and tea was provided for the crowd that squeezed into Toby’s Feed Barn.
From 6 to 10 p.m., an inaugural ball will be held in the Dance Palace, $10 (“West Marin formal”). Soup will be provided (“bring your own beverages and bowl”).