The Mysterious Masonic Ring: Chapter 5 (Cont’d)

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“Hey, turns out a bunch of Catholic-hating, so-called ‘Know Nothings’ stole a block of stone donated by the Pope and then took over the construction committee. They stopped the progress of building, which was further delayed by the Civil War,” she said. Her footsteps headed back to the bedroom, but she left the bathroom door open so we could continue our conversation.

“The Civil War?!” I exclaimed, grabbing a towel. “Back up a minute, when did construction start?”

“Ummm…” she mumbled. I could almost hear her flipping the pages of the brochure. “Let’s see, ground was broken on July 4, 1848.”

“So it took almost fifty years after the city became the functional capitol to break ground on the monument,” I figured. “And I thought government was slow nowadays.” I’d finished drying off at this point and was slipping on a clean pair of boxers.

“Anyway, work on it didn’t resume until 1876,” she added, “because they wound up doing a slight redesign, making the height ten times…”

“…The length of the base,” I finished her sentence. “The classical proportions of an ancient Egyptian obelisk.” Ancient religions were an academic specialty of mine.

“I was just about to say that, smartass,” she retorted. “You know this history stuff is more interesting than an episode of Jerry Springer.”

“And more twisted,” I added, “why do you think I’m so into it. Hey babe, call us a cab, it’s time to play tourist.”

The cabbie dropped us off at 14th Street and Constitution, and we hiked the rest of the way. As we approached the World’s Tallest Obelisk, our enthusiasm shrank. A giant-sized Erector set worth of scaffolding surrounding it.

“Oh shit! The earthquake!” I exclaimed. “I forgot all about it!”

“Of course you’d forget,” she chided me, “you weren’t the one holding on to a toilet for dear life at the time. That’s something I’ll NEVER forget!”

“And you’ll never let me forget it from now on, will you?” I rolled my eyes in mock aggravation.

“Of course not,” she smiled. “So what do we do now?”

“Well, most major memorials in this town have a visitor center,” I replied. “Usually a couple of museum-grade exhibits and a gift shop with tourist-trap souvenirs. Let’s see if we can find one.”

To be continued.

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