Normally St. Paul is a ghost town on a Sunday afternoon. Residents and bicyclists leisurely stroll or ride the streets, but businesses are closed except for a limited few. This Sunday was different. It was quite apparent an invasion was coming . . . or maybe it was an elephant circus! There were military people everywhere, police from all over the state and maybe beyond, unmarked police cars spit shined for the occasion, closed roads with check points for entrance, lanyards with multiple security tags attached, heavily laden back packs, and a few curiosity seekers checking to see how much the invasion had changed our town!
Sheepishly I admit to being one of the latter. For a week the heavy military helicopters have circled the air space above my home in their regular route around the Capitol. Thawonk, thawonk, thawonk is hard to miss when it's right overhead. The large green choppers were the most unnerving as they sported a full arsenal of weapons. Day and night they have toured our neighborhood keeping us ever aware that the Republicans are coming! Biking downtown seemed the sensible thing to do with the number of meters sporting red "No Parking" caps these days although we discovered the bikes were not welcome in some areas that were pedestrian only areas.
All around the Xcel Center check points were operational. Downtown was alive and full of energy. Candyland had already been discovered by visitors. Gift shops were open. Elephants were all around. Welcome signs and flags were everywhere but not nearly as prolific as the number of security staff. I wasn't sure if they thought they were incognito or not, but a hearing aid attached to a wire down the collar of the shirt under an FBI type suit is a dead give away. Only one security guard asked that I not take pictures and they weren't even near the Xcel Center!
It's nearly midnight and the steady hum of the choppers, the additional sirens, and the lighted Capitol all remind me that there's a party in town, the Republican Party!