Virginia might have swiped the recipe for its inaugural weekend from the traditional wedding list of necessities: Something old was the ceremony itself, repeated on Saturday for the 65th time; Mary Sue Terry, the first woman attorney general, and L. Douglas Wilder, the first black lieutenant governor, were certainly something new. The limousines were borrowed.
The only thing blue about it was the sky.
It was barely 10 a.m. Inaugural Day, when two senior members of the House of Delegates strode toward the state Capitol, their backs to the sun and their gray top hats casting shadows on the Richmond pavement.
"It's right popular to be a Democrat now," said Alson H. Smith Jr. (D-Winchester). Smith, who spent nine of his 13 years in office working under Republican governors, adjusted the vest on his gray morning suit and tipped his hat as he said, "It's not a bad day at all."
The noontime oath-taking ceremony and the festivities that surrounded it drew celebrators from all over the state, dignitaries from around the country. It brought together politicos from Northern Virginia, two retired teachers from Emporia, an 82-year-old Baptist preacher and an 8-year-old who just wanted to play his violin for Gerald L. Baliles. The celebration mended gaps of geography, age and status; it was a day when anyone with enough patience could stand in line to shake the governor's hand.
Ivan Hodge, the 8-year-old from West Point, Va., who asked Baliles if he could play his violin at the inauguration, was not too young to understand the pragmatic side of politics. Ivan explained he would play Minuet 3 by J.S. Bach "because Mr. Baliles and his family said Bach was their favorite composer."
Who is Ivan's favorite composer? He mused into a dressing-room mirror, deciding. "Bach," he said.
Ivan's mother, Martha, a teacher at West Point Elementary, said she was impressed by Baliles' support for education. "If teachers get more pay, what does that mean?" she prompted Ivan.
"It means the teacher's kid gets an allowance."
Former New York City mayor John V. Lindsay stirred things up in the General Assembly's brief Saturday session. "Why has he come?" members whispered to each other and reporters.
"To salute one of the most important events in the U.S.," Lindsay quickly answered when approached. And apart from noting the election of the first black and woman to statewide office in Virginia, Lindsay said that he raised money for Baliles in New York and that "my wife's from Richmond."
For $25 each, 10,000 people got a share of the Inaugural Ball's glitter and ritual. Even the building was dressed for the occasion, the concrete-and-steel Coliseum transformed with pleats of white fabric on the ceiling and red carpet unrolled on the floor.
Huge mounds of coats rose on the tables; huge mounds of fresh fruit slowly vanished.
From the tiers of seats, it was hard to tell who on the crammed floor was dancing and who was just being nudged along by the moving crowd.
For several hours they sipped and munched and mingled and, finally, stared down in unison when Gerald and Jeannie Baliles walked from behind a replica of the state Capitol and into a spotlight.
There was applause, then brief remarks, and then the new governor and his wife danced to "The Impossible Dream."
Two elderly Fairfax women, who had passed out Baliles' literature in Northern Virginia, sat wearing minks and diamonds outside the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts and watched the delegates and newsmakers in awe.
"We would never go to an inaugural in Washington," one said. "But here, the crowd is just right."
It was the first state inaugural for Julia P. Hairston, an Alexandria public school teacher. "It means a lot to me" that Wilder was elected the first black to statewide office, she said, "because I remember when voting was difficult for blacks."
More than 1,000 people, many who strained their necks to see Gerald L. Baliles, L. Douglas Wilder, Mary Sue Terry and Charles S. Robb walk down the aisle, attended morning service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
After the service Lynda Bird Robb hurried to catch her 7-year-old daughter Jennifer, who was running through the crowd and telling reporters she didn't want to leave the Executive Mansion.
Before the Robbs slid into the blue limousine with Virginia license plate "1" and sped off to enjoy the final two hours Charles Robb would be governor, Lynda Robb said, "I'm personally sad to go."