Well, the man did say, "Y'all come to the inauguration," so there's no need to be surprised that so many people took him at his word.
There were enough new people in town to exlain a slowdown in traffic, but not the serious ticups we experienced. There's something about heavy traffic brings out the best in some drivers - but the worst in others.
Most people enjoyed the day, but complaints of various kinds were intermingled with the festivities. Many were complaints about our weather, and I kept reminding people it could have been worse. In February of 1895, Washington experienced 12 consecutived ays of subfreezing temperatures, and until we break that record I think we ought to be grateful.
Our cousin from California is among the visitors in town. His wife is mayor of Beverly Hills and is very alert to all sorts of municipal problems. When I was asked whether this is typical January weather of Washington, I told her: "We don't have typical weather here. Our weather is either much colder than usual or much warmer than usual. It's never usual.
I told her that some winters we hardly have enough snow to let the kids try out their Christmas sleds. At other times we have snowstorms like the one that began on Jan. 28, 1922, and in two days dropped 28 inches on the city, collapsing the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater and killing 98 people in the audience.
"I'm glad that snow removal isn't one of the problems I have to contend with," said the mayor of Beverly Hills.
The day before the Inauguration, I was in a local store and pulled out of my pocket what I thought was my shopping list. As I deciphered my notes, the storekeeper asked, "Why are you scowling?"
"Oh," I said, "I wrote myself a note to remind people to put out some breadcrumbs and warm water for the birds, but I forget to look at the note until just now. I just found it while I was looking for my shopping list."
"Perhaps," said the storekeeper with a long face, "you ought to suggest that people put out a few crumbs for Washington's merchants, too. This weather has simply killed business for us."
Other types of businesses were thriving in spite of the weather. Most hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, taxi-cabs, for-hire limousines and similar undertakings were booked to capacity.
Complaints were also filed by Prince George's County teachers who were ordered to attend "professional day" workshops on Inauguration Day, and by clerks who had to take inventory when "everybody" else was watching TV.
Steven Braithwait didn't exactly file a complaint. He just pointed out that the ice was "very rough and rutted" on the frozen reflecting ponds on the Mall, and he wondered why the Park Service didn't turn some hoses on them and create a smooth new surface for the enjoyment skaters.
Jack Fish, who runs National Capital Parks, sighed when I asked him on Wednesday whether Steve's request could be granted. "Right at the moment," he said, "the Inauguration has our to priority. If we're all still alive on Monday, ask me then and we'll see what we can do for the ice skaters."
Four people complained they couldn't get a call through to AAA's road service. One was thoughtful enough to add, "I suppose they're up to their bellybuttons in problems and are doing the best they can."
When tennis pro Allie Ritzenberg had to abandon his disabled car on the Beltway and coulnd't get through to AAA for hours, he hit upon a novel solution. He set his alarm clock for 2 a.m., called AAA at that hour, and was answered on the first ring.
And, finally, John Jay Daly put his tongue into his cheek and wondered whether politically stylish diners will now begin calling for, "oysters Mondale."
Daly, the response you get from Mr. Rockefeller could be nonverbal.