Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Ford Schedule for Next Week

Tuesday, January 2nd

  • Morning: Funeral at Washington National Cathedral
  • 02:15pm: Casket arrives at (GRR) Gerald R Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • 03:30pm: Casket arrives at the Gerald R Ford Museum. President Ford will lie in public repose thoughout the night.

Wednesday, January 3rd
  • 02:00pm: Funeral at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids (East Great Falls from American Pie). Private internment will follow in the crypt north of the museum.

The Secret Service and TSA have designated this an extreme high security event with physical security to the areas of the museum, the church, and routes between. I have business that will take me to all sides of the city that day, so will have to route via the outer beltways rather than going through the city center.

The south parking lot at the museum is already full of TV satellite trucks and they have started shutting down some of the roads in preparation for this event.

Its a good thing that school doesn't resume until Thursday as we have 3 Universities, a Community College, and an Art School all within a one mile radius of the Ford Museum. The Secret Service doesn't need to deal with students that "have to get to class" in addition to accommodating Shepherd Smith and the other newsreaders.

The Crypt at the Museum

The Gerald R Ford Crypt

The fence appears to be only a year or so old. Other work (besides adding the "2006") includes caulking around the primary slabs at the back of the circular area. This may have been in preparation for moving the slabs to access the burial site. These changes can be seen more clearly in the following picture.

Crypt Close-Up

There are few memorial gifts at the North sign to the museum.

The majority of the chaos is at the South end where the TV satellite trucks are parked.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ah-Nab-Awen Park

The following link to Google Maps shows the Gerald R Ford Museum. The Museum is the triangle shape to the left of the words Ah-Nab-Awen Park. You can see the location of the "crypt" just north of the museum. There is a semi-circular walkway leading from the front sidewalk to the "crypt" area.

Across the Grand River you can see the DeVos Place convention center and the City/County buildings with the Alexander Calder painting on top. There is a Calder stabile in the plaza in front of the buildings, but it isn't very visible in the satellite photo.

This whole area will be blocked off for the funeral (much like they did for the dedication when we hosted another gaggle of Presidents/former-Presidents). The Secret Service will make it more fun than dealing with the TSA.

The Wikipedia entry provides a fairly accurate description of Grand Rapids.

Update: PDF of current plans for President Gerald Ford's lying in repose and funeral in Grand Rapids from today's Grand Rapids Press. Note the use of the Grand Hall of DeVos Place for screening people prior to viewing the casket. This allows plenty of room for the metal detectors in a warm, weather protected location even though the lines will end up outdoors and across the river.

Plan for Viewing
The Plan for Visiting the Repose

The Actual Lines

Its no wonder that it took people 4 to 5 hours waiting in line. At least they used the three football field sized (160,000 square foot) DeVos Place Exhibit Hall to hold a good deal of the lines so that people weren't standing outside the whole 5 hours.

The passing of President Gerald R Ford

President Ford official Whitehouse portrait

I was looking for something else and came across this. My first thoughts were that it was a dummy entry like the test posts that the NYT occasionally releases, but after checking Google News I found that that Betty Ford had just announced it.

Needless to say this will make for an interesting two weeks here in GR. The planned resting place is on the grounds of the Gerald R Ford Museum on the west bank of the Grand River. The "crypt" location sits north of the museum proper (which is to the right of the picture of museum on the web site). This overlooks Ah-Nab-Awen Park, a broad grassy area (6+ acres) that is used for the musical performances that accompany the Fourth of July celebrations as well as the September Celebration on the Grand.

(Now if I can just get my act together and get my posts from the past year out of "draft")

Update: Major local coverage can be found at MLive and the Grand Rapids Press

Another Update: The Grand Rapids Press published a Special Section about President Gerald R Ford. Note how they attributed the "played too much football with his helmet off" quote on page 7 to one Linden Badness Johnson. (I think that was a transcription error and they meant Lyndon Baines Johnson.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Another Clone Gone

I hate it when this happens. An ordinary afternoon is broken by a phone call from my wife complaining that someone has sent us another "offer" to buy a headstone for a deceased spouse. The last time this happened was in 2000 when "one of my clones" lost his wife to cancer. This letter was addressed to the surviving wife, so I looked in the local newspaper's on-line obituary listings and found the following:

Mr. Thomas ********, age 45, passed away suddenly Tuesday, December 20, 2005. He was preceded in death by his father, brother, wife, and daughter. He is survived by his wife, daughters, son, mother, sister, brothers, his late wife's parents, and several nephews and nieces. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 27, 2005.
What a hell of a gift for Christmas.

So the young man who lost his wife five years ago has also died.

By "one of my clones" I am referring to the six others with my first and last name who reside in the metropolitan area, but have unlisted phone numbers. As a result I get lots of interesting calls from their creditors and I have to ask "which one" are you looking for? The young man who died was one who had creditors as a result of his wife's cancer, but he worked with them and had his accounts clean a couple years before this "sudden" surprise.

In addition to strange calls from creditors (and people trying to arrange high school reunions), we have also fielded calls from LEOs trying to chase down someone conning old ladies in mid-Southern states. I don't get around that much and my residence and phone number has been the same for more than 20 years, so the LEOs then have to dig harder than the phone book to find the person.

One of the more interesting clones was a resident at one of our local hospitals and would give out my number to young ladies in bars. True, it is a good way to brush someone off, but then I had to deal with my wife's anger and the questions about just who is "Mary" and why would I be "calling her back"? Fortunately I was home the night "Mary" met "Thomas" at the bar. Sure makes life interesting.