Lillie Suggs, a night security officer at the Civil Service Commission, was stranded at her guard post yesterday. Her replacement, due in at 7 a.m., had called to say she couldn't get to work.
"It doesn't make much difference," said Suggs philosophically. "I couldn't get out of here even if she did show up. The snow is waist high and there are no buses."
Tony Adamski, the duty officer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, started walking to work at 8:30 from Crystal City when a farmer offered him a lift in the back of an open pickup truck.
It was cold, wet and breezy, said Adamski, describing the ride -- which was like most trips yesterday.
Suggs and Adamski were among the handful of government workers on duty for George Washington's birthday.
Like Suggs, many government workers did double shifts because replacements couldn't get in, Like Adamski, many trudged, hitchhiked or skied to make up the skeleton staffs for the Monday holiday.
And some, like a pentagon spokesman marooned at his home in Maryland, were answering calls relayed to him from the pentagon switchboard.
"Everything is normal. There's no crisis or anything," said the spokesman. "Individuals on a shift remained until others got in. If someone needed (to get some sleep) there are a lot of desks."
They could also catch a catnap on the carpet-covered floors, he said, "but there isn't much padding there."
Asked if the snow has jeopardized the nation's security, the spokesman replied: "If Secretary (of Detense Ha rold) Brown or any other official of that magnitude had to be at a certain place at a certain time, he would be there."
At the White House, where President Carter was due back at 5:30 from Camp David, only about 30 people came through the gates to work.
"The security guards and secret service are probably there," said Mark Henderson, White House associate press secretary, who was snowed in at his home in Northwest Washington.
Another White House worker, Beth Lumpkin, was walking to work along Pennsylvania Avenue when a bus driver on his way back to the Metro garage stopped for her and others and gave them a free ride.
Lumpkin said she and a few others in the White House press office had come in to finish some reports on Carter's Mexican trip and work on preparations for today's scheduled visit to Atlanta, where the president is to receive an honorary degree from Georgia Tech and unveil a porteait of himself as governor of Georgia.
"The biggest problem is how to get the press out to the airport to go with the president," she said.
At the State Department, the operation center staff on the 24-hour world watch were starting their third straight shift because most of their replacements had not shown up.
"We can't get out of State," said an officer on the East Asian desk who was monitoring the situation in Iran. "We have three or four beds, mainly for task force people, that we can use to get a little sleep. But it's no Holiday Inn"
Bill Yager and Kayle Jackson, legislative aides to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) came to work on cross country skis, Yager from Southeast Washington and Jackson skiing in from Fairlington, Va.
"Even by Montana standards, it's good powder," said Yager. On his way to work he even saw snow plows stuck in the snow.
At Fort Myer, a spokesman said soldiers were busily shoveling and crews from the Engineer Corps had been out all night with road-grading equipment converted for snow removal.
"Fort Myer is like a little Washington," said the spokesman. "I doubt if anyone in this area is equipped to handle this much snow. It will be interesting to see if people can get to work tomorrow."
The NASA tracking station at Greenbelt, Maryland, was almost buried in snow when plows dug a path to the buildings yesterday afternoon.More than 120 people had been working 18 hours.
"There was so much snow you couldn't see the automobiles in the parking lot," said NASA Network Operations Director Henry Iuliano.
Iualiano said the only food available was from vending machines and that some of the buildings were so snowed in the vending machines could not be refilled until late in the day.
The station tracked a Japanese satellite launch last night. Since the fresh crews and technicians could not get to the station, a telephone conference call kept them in touch with the launching.
At Arlington Cemetery, only six out of the normal crew of 100 workmen showed up to shovel snow, but honor guards were at their posts at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the chapel in which rested the coffin of Ambassador Adolph Dubs, who was killed in a gun battle between police and terrorists last week in Afghanistan.
"We have been bombarded with phone calls," said Mary Jayman, who handles calls for the military district of Washington. "Everyone wants to know what to do with flowers for Mr. Dubs."