Pratt pulse: Candid thoughts and feelings shared about Inauguration Day 2021
Inauguration Day 2021 was a quiet day in Pratt. The wind blew old leaves down the street, pigeons flew from their favorite roosts over the Taylor Building in the 400 block of S. Main to the top of the old I.O.O.F. building on Third Street, big trucks continuously rumbled east and west on First Street transporting goods across the country, while far away in Washington, D.C., Joe Biden transitioned into serving as the 46th President of the United States.
For some in Pratt, January 20, 2021 was just another day, for others it was a chance to watch history unfold and breathe a sigh of relief.
Pam Webb, a hostess and waitress at Club D'Est, a casual dining establishment at 202 S. Main in Pratt, said that the usual run of customers came into the restaurant on Wednesday, where the inauguration was broadcast on all of the wall televisions in the dining areas.
"It was pretty much just a normal day," Webb said. "Some customers watched the proceedings while they were here, others didn't pay attention."
Webb said there were no special watch parties or groups gathered just to watch the inauguration that she knew of at Club D'Est on January 20.
Ezzie Diaz, manager of The ServaTeria, a popular breakfast and brunch hangout at 1123 E. First, said the usual customers came in but the atmosphere of the coffee crowd was a bit more subdued than usual on Wednesday.
"On just about any day, you can hear all kinds of political discussions going on, and sometimes they get a little rowdy," Diaz said. "But on inauguration day they were all very quiet. It was just personal discussions, nothing at all about presidents or inauguration. That was unusual."
For long-time Trump supporter Ginger Bowe of Pratt, keeping quiet on Inauguration Day 2021 wasn't something that came easy for her, but it was the right thing to do.
"There are a lot of things that I would like to say, but I just don't want to start an argument," Bowe said. "After all the violence we have seen go on in the past few years, I am afraid to say something because it might come out wrong and then people will react. I will just let our sign do the talking. A picture is worth 1,000 words."
Bowe and her husband, Dennis Bowe, own Safety First Auto Repair at 1132 N. Main in Pratt, where they proudly display a large red and white metal sign with the words, Trump 2021.
"You can bet we will keep our sign up for the next four years," Bowe said.
In the past few weeks, there were several reports of Trump support signs being stolen in the city limits of Pratt, but the local police department as well as neighborhood watch groups have been unable to find out who is behind the thefts. Bowe said she wasn't worried about anyone stealing their Trump sign.
"It's very heavy," she said. "If someone wanted that, they would need a couple of helpers, plus our neighborhood is well watched."
Bowe said she watched some of the Inauguration Day 2021 proceedings on television throughout the day on Wednesday.
"I kept the volume off except for the Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez music," she said. "They were good, but I just couldn't handle the rest of it."
Pratt retired school-teacher and county vice-chair of the local Democratic party group, Martha Wade, said she watched the Inauguration Day 2021 proceedings on television, with her volume on.
"It was a very emotional day for me," she said. "I started watching at 6:30 a.m. and just kind of held my breath all day as I watched the transition."
Wade said the day was especially important for her 95-year-old mother who lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, whom she hasn't been able to see in person since January 4 last year because of the coronavirus.
"We talk Face-Time with her as much as possible and she has been so upset about the violence in our country," Wade said. "She lived through WWII years, was a child of the depression, she has seen our country brought to its knees and she just couldn't handle the violence and riots and uprisings going on now. Watching the transition to a new government gave her some hope. It was a sigh of relief for all of us. We are hoping it will all get better now if people just give President Biden a chance."
Wade and her mother may have identified with the poem, composed by and read for Inauguration Day 2021 by 22-year-old Amanda Gorman in Washington, D.C. which contained the lines: "For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us."