Those coming to Richmond for the inaugural festivities, or those who may already be here, are in for a treat. The weather, after weeks of uncomfortably, and unlikely, cold temperatures, has returned to normal on cue, as if to say, "nice job Richmond, you handled it well, here's your just reward." Who said patience isn't a virtue? The reward has been many times the labor. It feels more like mid-October than mid-January (wasn't it just Christmas?) and Capitol Square is green and lush like a park in the spring. Lawmakers, lobbyists, bureaucrats, media and anyone and everyone is enjoying walks through Capitol Square today. It makes walking up the hill and the prospect of beating your head against the wall with delegates and senators more tolerable. The weather is only expected to be better Saturday for the swearing-in ceremony.
Not all the green in Capitol Square is nature made. There are seven large howitzers cocked and ready to blast their salute for Virginia's 71st governor shortly after noon tomorrow. There are some inartistic, but inevitable mismatches, as well. Beautiful walkways, such as Darden Mall, which connects the General Assembly Building to Capitol Square, are marred with huge satellite trucks and their attendant dishes poking into the sky. So are tents. Lots of them. Most likely security check points. It's supposed to be tight tomorrow, with several blocks and parking decks blocked off, reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth's 2007 visit.
Generally, people are in a good mood. Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) came bounding down a hallway this morning and without missing a beat slapped me a high-five. It's always this way before session gets too deep and egos bruised, but more so in an inauguration year. The freshmen delegates I've met are eager to learn and excited to make an impact. The cynic would say, "wide-eyed rookies."
With larger numbers of members of the same party around now — lots of GOP'ers in the House, with their staffs, and the political appointees of the top three statewide officials — the weather isn't the only thing putting smiles on faces. Winners always smile and there are lots of new ones this time around, especially from the Republican side. A bit of homogeneity, so to speak. There's been, and will continue to be, many festivities throughout the weekend by the pols and special interest groups as well, from galas to prayer breakfasts. Parties and prayers. A combination that works every time. Especially in the celebration of high ideals.