Inauguration day in Tampa for local residents and visitors could not have been more exciting and, well, plush.
Exciting if you like the every four-year pageant which surrounds the transition of government in our democracy, and plush, if you were lucky enough to view the solemnity and pageantry of the occasion from a seat at the Tampa Theatre.
For the fourth year, the historic and gilded theatre opened their doors to any and all who wanted a first hand and free look at the goings on way up there in chilly Washington.
The smallish crowd of 100 people - 1,000 people showed up four years ago -queued up outside the theatre a few minutes before showtime and chatted with each other and reporters.
Many remarked on the juxtaposition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the second inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States.
Many of them knew each other from long hours working for the President's re-election during the campaign on phone banks and manning busy campaign offices, and ringing doorbells.
One woman from Brandon recalled working on his first campaign back in 2007 when he was not well known in a unit called 'The O train,' another recounted losing her voice several times over the weeks and weeks of phone bank work.
The people in the crowd were all ages, all sizes and all social and economic strata and dressed in everything from shorts and flip flops to business suits to frilly dresses.
A lady wearing a tan buckskin dress, cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and jangles and jangles of bracelets up and down her arms was interviewed by a local TV reporter, who had to interrupt her gushing endorsement of 'The greatest president we have ever had, and I love him so much' just to get in a question.
A six-year old girl clad in a sundress and daisy sandals proclaimed that she was there "To see my President augerated."
Yes, all of the people waiting outside the theatre were Obama people to the core and why not, it was his second biggest day, and they had all, it seemed, worked for that, and/or voted for him.
Inside the theater, MSNBC was up on the big screen with a live feed from Washington, D.C.
And there was popcorn. Good popcorn.
Up on that screen we watched the procession of A-Listers into the VIP area of the grandstand, and then the arrival of the President's family, and finally the President.
After some brief and fine entertainment, and excellent and inspiring poetry, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States was sworn into office with his hand on two bibles, One belonging to the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other to President Abraham Lincoln.
The inauguration speech was mercifilly short and to the point.
Basically, he said, 'I won and this is what I am going to do.'
Whether or not he can accomplish his whole to do list in four years is doubtful, but it is ambitious and worthy and includes climate change, a note of hope for the poor of the country, a caution to a dwindling middle class, and a shout out to all of us that it is time that the gay men and women amongst us are given equal rights and recognition.
In addition, a mention of wrongs he intends to right which included preventing people from standing online for hours to vote brought the largest burst of applause from the audience, naturally, this being Florida where most of that skullduggery during the election happened.
After the speech, Beyance -without missing a word -serenaded out the standing crowd with The Star Bangled Banner.
We noticed more than a few tears on the faces.
There were moments which will linger. First Lady Michelle Obama's Bangs. Sacha's yawn. The 21-gun salute. The sight of the President stopping during his exit, turning back, looking at the crowd and saying, "This is the last time I will see this."
And the popcorn. The Tampa Theatre really does have great popcorn.