Norma Sanders, Rissa Lawrence and Brenda Willis started planning for Friday’s presidential inauguration before even Team Trump.
“As soon as Trump won the election, we started planning,” said Sanders. “It was a given we would go.”
The three women have strong ties to the Republican Party. Sanders was an alternate delegate to the GOP Convention in Cleveland in July. All three are members of Lowndes County Republican Women, with both Lawrence and Willis having served as the group’s president at one time.
The trio arrived in Washington Tuesday evening, “running through the Atlanta airport like O.J. Simpson” to make their connecting flight from Atlanta.
“We’ve been going non-stop,” Lawrence said. “Originally, the plan was to go with our husbands, but they can’t keep up with us.”
“It’s a great girls trip,” Sanders agreed.
The women spent Wednesday calling on members of the Mississippi congressional delegation, including visits to the offices of U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, as well as U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly.
“We took pictures with their staff, then, after that, we went to pick up our tickets for the inauguration, then took a cab to pick up the tickets for the (country singer) Toby Keith concert and the parade,” Sanders said.
Wednesday night, the women attended the Mississippi Soiree, an event held for Mississippians in town for the Inauguration.
“It’s been busy — something to do all the time,” Lawrence said. “We had to figure out how many outfits we needed and, of course, we had to shop for that. I think I packed five outfits for all of the events. In fact, my suitcase was over the weight limit (for carry-on baggage) by a pound.”
Of the three, Willis has an edge in experience.
“I’m the only one who has been to an inauguration,” Willis said. “I went to the Bush Inauguration in 2004, so I guess that makes me the expert of our little group.”
Today, the women will do some more sight-seeing, then attend the welcome ceremony, featuring Toby Keith.
So far, the weather has been mild, but the women are preparing for the rain that is expected during Friday’s inaugural ceremony and parade.
“It’s not looking good,” Willis said. “They’re saying it’s a 70 percent chance of rain during the inauguration, and you can’t bring in umbrellas. But rain or not, we’ll be there for the inauguration and the parade. We’ll probably be soaked, which means there’s going to be a lot of hair fixing before we go to the Inaugural Ball. That’s OK. It will be fun. We’re having a great time.”
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.