Bil Browning

31 Days: The Nicest Can in the White House

Filed By Bil Browning | August 31, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Secret Service, White House, White House tour

The backstory behind this photo is after the break.


I'm doing a series of posts for 31 days that will feature a photo from my personal collections and the backstory behind the picture. I'm trying to stick with shots that have not appeared on the site before. I'm using the stories as a writing exercise to help me prepare for writing a book. You can find the rest of the series posts here:

During the last holiday season, former Managing Editor Alex Blaze came back to the US to visit family and friends. He stopped for a few days in DC to crash at Rancho Bilerico and we took advantage of his visit to do the White House holiday tour.

During the holidays the White House gets all gussied up and tourists flood the hallways to look at all of the Christmas trees and decorations. I was able to score admittance for the two of us and late one afternoon we took off for Pennsylvania Avenue.

I've toured the White House before. Normally, visitors walk through on a self-guided tour; Secret Service agents are stationed in each room and they're able to tell tourists about the history of the space and objects in the room. When Jerame and I did the White House tour with Kip Williams, however, it was a behind the velvet ropes experience. We had a personal tour guide and were able to walk through the entire space, touch objects, take pictures and all the other stuff that you normally aren't allowed to do.

During the holiday tour you're allowed to take photos, but you're stuck behind the velvet ropes. While a regular walk through the White House is exciting, there's many unique and fascinating objects in the mansion that you can't see if you're behind the soft barricade.

I think I annoyed Alex by commenting on all the things he couldn't see from the hallways. While I was trying to be helpful, Alex finally turned to me and said, "Will you stop telling me about all the stuff I can't see since I'm stuck with the huddled masses?" Whoops.

In the Blue Room was the official White House Christmas Tree. While the decorations were beautiful and the room was incredibly elegant, there was one particular beauty that stood out to both of us and we enjoyed it together.

The Secret Service agent in this photo had the nicest can either of us had ever seen in the halls of power. Someday I hope to see it again - without any barriers of course. *grins*

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I so miss Alex. I loved his posts, and often go back and refresh my memory on ones that taught me the most.

Definitely beautiful, exquisite, and quite elegant... and the tree's not bad, either.