All alone on an orange blanket in the middle of the Mall yesterday, Jerry DeBlaze brushed the long blond curls from his face and arched toward the noontime sun, closing his eyes and pulling deep on his first smoke of the day.
It had been a long weekend, the 22-year-old carpenter's helper from Fairfax said, and he was trying to ease the holiday hangover that was still shooting fireworks through his brain.
"We stayed up all Thursday night drinking beer and than came down early on Friday to get a good seat for the Beach Boys concert. We partied all day long . . . I passed out and never even saw the fireworks. Then we drank all Saturday, too . . . I don't know if I'll be able to make it to work on Monday."
All along the Mall yesterday, tourists and area residents strolled in the warm, breezy afterglow of the holiday weekend, taking in sights and taking it easy.
There was surprisingly few joggers, only a handful of bikers on the gravel pathways. Not one Frisbee flew over the lush, green lawn.
Tourist traffic was heavy around the museums and the familiar blue-and-white Tourmobiles were full, but even the sightseers seemed sedate.
"I'm kind of spent," said Don Murdock, a 28-year-old lawyer from Hershey, Pa., as he sat on a bench near the carousel on the Mall and watched his young son Jeffrey glide around on a Zebra.
"We came down for the fireworks on Friday and then saw all the sights yesterday. This is Jeff's sixth time on the zebra. For all I care, he could ride all day long."
Other vistors seemed only slightly more energetic. "We're heading down to the Washington Monument and then to the Lincoln Memorial," said Scott Monroe, a 42-year-old salesman from Houston, with two cameras around his neck, and his wife Claire and their two teen-age sons in tow. "There's sure a lot to see around here, but we've got until Tuesday so we're in no rush," he said.
As Monroe spoke, a team of government trash collectors cleared away the last of the debris left over from the Fourth of July celebration. "This is a hell of a way to finish up the weekend," said one of the workers. "All those people had all the fun and we have to deal with their mess. Personally, I'd rather be drinking a few at home right now."
For thousands, at least, part of yesterday was spent heading home. By late afternoon, Maryland State Police said traffic on the Bay Bridge was moderate-to-heavy as 13,000 autos drove back to the Washington area after a long weekend at Ocean City, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth.
Ocean City Mayor Harry Kelly said 300,000 visitors had packed the city's hotels and motels over the weekend. About 65,000 persons spent their three-day weekend at Rehoboth, police there said.
Some 650 campsites at Virginia's Shenandoah National Park were full, starting Thursday night, police there reported, and vistors to the park's lodges were turned away in droves throughout the weekend. Almost 12,000 cars passed through the Skyline Drive's entrances each day of the weekend.
Back at the Mall, Melvin Stafford, a 19-year-old resident of Northeast Washington, sat on a bench, his portable radio pumping out boogie beats, and raised a pair of binoculars to his eyes.
"Check out that babe," he urged a stranger, handing over the glasses and pointing toward a bikini-clad sun worshipper several hundred feet away.
"Ain't that many holidays," said Stafford, taking back his binoculars. "You gotta get your (fun) any way you can."