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Grandma's Vunderful Horses

By Joyce Turner Stahle
April 1997

In late April and early May of 1954, Signe, my mother, traveled east to pick up Grandma and Art following their release from their mission to Georgia. Larry, my husband, and I, along with my sister Carolyn, accompanied her.

One major stop planned for the return trip was Arlington National Cemetery and Washington D. C.

After touring Arlington and witnessing the changing of the honor guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, we planned to proceed to the Jefferson Memorial. As we left the cemetery to go into Washington D. C., we found ourselves in the midst of the five o’clock rush. All cars were being routed out of the city.

As we crossed the bridge entering into the city, Grandma caught sight of four statues of huge horses. Enthusiastically she exclaimed with her charming Norwegian accent now augmented by a Southern drawl, “Look at those magnificent horses. I am so sorry I vill never see them again!”

Because we could not change to an outside lane, which we knew was essential to make the right turn to the Jefferson Memorial, we were routed back to Arlington where we made a loop that led us back across the bridge. Grandma was thrilled and exclaimed, “How vunderful! I get to see the horses again!” On this second attempt, all of us helped Larry get into the outside lane. We made our right turn. Guess what? The road had traffic patrols that quickly routed us back to Arlington. With new found prowess, we made the loop and found our way back to the bridge. Admiring, with no less enthusiasm, Grandma said “Look at those beautiful horses I vill never see them again,” and we all rolled with laughter. On the third try, we decided to ask a police officer for directions. He pointed to a road, and we obediently turned, but soon found we were about to retrace our steps to Arlington and the now infamous bridge. When the horses came into view, Grandma’s voice could almost be heard over the laughter as she quipped, “Look at those vunderful horses, I vill never see them again.”

Thank goodness this time she was right.


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