Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen – “You were my teacher!”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen – “You were my teacher!”:

Clio and Winston Dash emerged from the stillness of the Madison
Building into the effervescent brightness of the mid-Wednesday
afternoon sunlight. All of Washington seemed alive before them. Streets
teamed with traffic. Tourists mixed with locals as they pounded the sidewalks
and packed into and emerged out of the South Capitol Metro stop. It was
their sixth day together, and both were in need of a major distraction. Once
outside, they determined to take in as much of the Smithsonian Institution
and Mall as time would allow. They scanned the scene before them.

Of the sixteen museums and galleries that made up the Smithsonian
complex, nine buildings spread out before them in the Mall area between the
Washington Monument and the Capitol. Seven lined the south side of the
Mall along Jefferson Drive; two on the north side along Madison Drive.
Begun by an act of Congress in 1846 and signed by President James K. Polk
at the height of American expansion toward the Pacific, the museum’s initial
collection came to be housed in a single building known as the “Castle.” Over
the next one hundred years, the Smithsonian added only three more buildings.
But in the last third of the twentieth century, it virtually exploded with
ten new museums on or near the Mall, mirroring its country’s equally expanding
population and cultural interests. The number of museum buildings
along the Mall surprised Clio, prompting a comment about the growing problem
of the nation’s “junk.” Winston responded with something about the
need for a massive national garage sale.

Excerpt from Chapter Fourteen – “As long as it is with you”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Fourteen – “As long as it is with you”:

For thirty minutes, Winston raced through microfilmed documents to
or emanating from Theodore Roosevelt, written sometime during the
month of March, 1903. Many involved the ongoing negotiations over a proposed
isthmian canal. President Roosevelt had determined that one would be
built, in Mexico, Nicaragua, or in Panama. He cared not about the location,
only that it be built and that it be built by the United States. The project, for
Roosevelt, would become a cornerstone in making the 20th century “the
American Century.” Although his March 14 letter to John Burroughs didn’t
say it directly, Winston knew the reference to an “unforeseen disaster in the
Senate,” probably had to do with the canal negotiations.

He also knew, from his perfect 20-20 historical hindsight, that disaster
was not far off. It was a negotiation that would first place the proposed American-
built canal in Nicaragua, then in the Colombian state of Panama. But
negotiations with Colombia would eventually break down over Colombia’s
desire for more U.S. dollars. It would produce the tirade from Roosevelt,
calling the Colombian Senators “a bunch of bandits” and the classic Roosevelt
line: “Trying to get the Colombian government to come to an agreement is
like trying to nail currant jelly to a wall.” Roosevelt’s anger, coupled with
Colombia’s recalcitrance resulted in an August, 1903, revolution in Panama,
followed by immediate American recognition of the new Republic of Panama
and a treaty allowing the United States to built Roosevelt’s canal. And
Theodore Roosevelt’s role in all of this? Winston remembered the simple line
from Roosevelt’s autobiography: “I took Panama!” And so he had.

Excerpt from Chapter Thirteen – “Sugar in the Capitol Cafe”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Thirteen – “Sugar in the Capitol Cafe”:

Beneath the ground between the Jefferson and Madison Buildings, an
area that Winston estimated put them somewhere under South Capitol
Street, he and Clio entered the Capitol Cafe, the cafeteria that served the
Library of Congress. Cheery, brightly lit, spotlessly clean, it was a place the
two would visit every day; a combination reflection-meditation-decompression
chamber for the Dashes. Adding to its charms was the fact that it served
some of the cheapest food in town, at least in their part of town. The Capitol
Cafe was exactly what Winston needed.

Breezing through the service line with food trays in hand, Clio located a
corner table while Winston paid the tab. She dumped her tray onto the table,
pulled a plastic bag from her back pocket and sat down. Into a ceramic coffee
cup she tore up a long, green leaf, followed by steamy hot water. The water
instantly turned a pale green color. Clio then placed a saucer on top of the
cup, allowing its contents to steep.

Excerpt from Chapter Twelve – “Among Jefferson’s Books”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Twelve – “Among Jefferson’s Books”:

Music blasting from overhead speakers filled the bedrooms where
Winston and Clio slept. Sitting up with a start, Winston checked
his watch. It was 7:00 a.m. His initial reaction to the music was something on
the order of “what the heck . . . ?” After another more lucid moment, he
smiled and laid his head back down on the pillow, tucking both hands under
the back of his neck. Within another ten seconds, Clio burst into his room.

“WHAT THE HELL?” she blurted out, arms flailing.

“Come lay down next to me, kid. I’ll fill you in.” Clio plopped herself
down on top of the covers without a word. Winston then asked, “Do you recognize
this music?”

“You know I don’t know this stuff like you do, Papa. What is it?”

“It’s Richard Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture. Hampy is playing a game
with us . . . or with me. Did I ever tell you how I got into classical music?”

“Nope,” she said simply, grabbing a share of Winston’s pillow.

Excerpt from Chapter Eleven – “L’Enfant’s City”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Eleven – “L’Enfant’s City”:

The final descent through Maryland to Washington, D.C. was quick
but not entirely without initial distractions. It began with a long-distance
phone call from Samuel’s Cafe to Dr. Hampton Bugh. Hampy, an old
and neglected friend, lived in D.C. and taught ancient Greek and Roman history
at Catholic National University. Winston’s call caught Hampton taking
his lunch at home. It was the first time the two had spoken in more than ten
years, one of four or five times since graduating together from the University
of Iowa’s doctoral program. His motive was not so much an attempt to renew
an old friendship as to make a helpful Washington contact, a person to help
take the edge off the big city. Hampy would be that, at least, Winston
thought. The call yielded that and more. Not only did he insist on showing
the two around town, but he gleefully volunteered his home near campus as
their Washington home base for as long as they needed it.