In 2006, I came to DC to work on Capitol Hill for Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX), a real standup guy for whom I worked two hard fought Congressional campaigns before coming home to DC. Later, I would work two separate stints with the House Veterans Affairs Committee (Democratic Staff).
Several activities were part of my lunch routine. Chet’s office was in the Rayburn House Office Building so the Rayburn Cafeteria was the usual hangout. The House Veterans Affairs Committee, situated next door to the iconic Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), occupied the 3rd floor of Cannon House Office Building with a long balcony facing the Capitol. It was prime House Office Building real estate. Lunches at the Longworth House Office Building were the norm there, but in the summer months, office picnics on the balcony were always a treat.
Sometimes, I would skip lunch and take a stroll around the House and Senate office buildings and the Capitol building. The views are great, there is much to explore, and the tourists wonder if you are somebody important! The place has an indescribable aura and even a unique smell that doesn’t change!
If I ever wanted to eat lunch offsite when I was working on the Hill, I would go to Cosi located at 301 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. The food is good. The wi-fi is reliable. The upstairs section has sofas where you can tuck yourself away in a corner, work on your computer, and admire the view through the windows.
Fast forward to 2014. Chet Edwards lost his reelection bid in 2010 and is no longer on the Hill. Capitol Hill does not feel the same for me without Chet around.
Much of my youth as it pertains to Capitol Hill is gone and the nostalgia is hard to recapture. I guess you can’t go home again.
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood…back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame…back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” – George Webber in Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again”