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A kid’s perspective on COOL

As I looked out the airplane window, I saw nothing but fog and clouds. I closed my eyes as I felt us land. We were finally in Washington D.C. after the four-hour flight. Stepping out of the airplane, I knew that this trip was going to be fun. A group of people, my mom and I went to a place called Union Station. We had supper and talked about the main reason we were there. We walked back and went to our hotel room. I looked around outside our hotel window and then went to bed, anxious for the next day to arrive.

When the alarm rang Monday morning, I looked at my watch. I learned one thing. Washington’s time is two hours ahead of Colorado’s time. I had to get used to this. Another thing I learned is during the winter it is wise to bring a sweatshirt, a coat, gloves, and other things you need to keep warm. It was freezing!!

As we walked to the National Farmers Union building, I learned more about what we were here for. I learned that country-of–origin labeling (COOL) was important to most farmers. I learned one theory for why we got a cow with mad cow disease in the United States. There are people who believe it is because some farmers are feeding their cows chicken litter, which may have ruminant (cow & sheep) by-products in it. This is called ruminant-to-ruminant feeding. This is where a farmer feeds his livestock remains of other animals. Scientists believe ruminant-to-ruminant feeding causes some cows to get MAD COW DISEASE.

That day we talked more about mad cow disease as we walked to Union Station. We bought tickets for a tour and set off. I learned a whole bunch of things. I know it’s scary but it’s true. I learned that there’s a Chinatown in Washington, D.C., and they have a great gateway that is made of wood and handmade and hand painted. I also learned there are three office buildings where senators work: the Hart building, the Dirkson building, and the Russell building. By the end of the day we were all bushed. We then went to Chinatown for supper. As we walked back, I realized how tired I was and decided to hit the sack.

The next day, which was Tuesday, I knew that today was going to be an important day for my mom’s job and those who like hamburgers. We all got dressed in our best clothes. (At least the best clothes we had packed.) As we went out, a sudden cool breeze hit us and whisked us to the Building of the States, which was where the NFU office is located. I listened to the lecture on what we were supposed to do and with whom we were supposed to meet. I recognized the names of two people on the list. The two people were the senators of Colorado, Senator Campbell and Senator Allard.
We all then walked back to the basement of the three Senate buildings. As we stepped in, we all got really serious, and soon, I found myself enjoying this. As the day dragged on, I was disappointed. Mr. Campbell decided to be gone when we went to visit them on COOL. But, as soon as I got out of lunch and was still in the cafeteria, I noticed Mrs. Felzein rush off all of a sudden. I followed her and nearly collided with Senator Campbell. I saw that he wasn’t very sure about talking with us, but then I gave him my best smile and handed him the papers on COOL and said I suggest that if he likes hamburgers he should read the papers I gave him. I was shocked at my boldness. At the end of the day I also learned that Senator Allured was also in 4-H. I was so happy.

We finished our visits to senators’ offices and went to the Senate Gallery, where we heard them talk about COOL. When we got back to the hotel, my mom and I went out for a girls night out, just the two of us. I learned that my mom can embarrass me, but she is still the greatest mom, even if she does liked grape leaves rolled up in goop.

The next day, which was Wednesday, was our last day. We first went to the Capitol and got a personal tour of it. I learned so many cool things. For example, in the middle of the Capitol is where they had planned to bury dead people that made a difference in the country. Freaky, huh? I also loved the staircases, and we actually got to see Senate in action again. This time they were talking about energy savings. Then we went around and saw that one of the two statues in the Capitol for Colorado is a woman. Also, I learned that a great statue in one of the Senate office buildings on the ground floor was built in three different pieces and is an exact replica of a statue the bronze statue on top of the Capitol. I learned that at one time, when the British burned the Capitol, only a few columns were left from the original building. It was so fascinating.

After the Capitol tour, we took the Metro and went to the one and only National Spy Museum. Forget my other dream jobs, I’m joining the FBI when I grow up. It was so cool. I learned about espionage and saw the replica of the 007 car that James Bond used in all those movies. I also found out there were women spies. I learned what happens if you get caught if you were a spy. You won’t want to get caught. People were shot and even electrocuted!! As I wandered from place to place I saw that many famous people, such as Marie Antoinette had many spies and they had a replica of a desk she had. She had many secret drawers and other nooks and crannies. I also learned that spies can go by different names, each one different than the last. I was so caught up in the museum that when mom said it was time to go I nearly cried.

I was so sorry to leave Washington, but I had fun. I learned many things, including a lot about COOL and that I dislike clam sauce. I can’t wait to go back and maybe if I wish really hard I’ll see the president himself. Thanks to my mom and the other RMFU members for dragging me along it was fun.

Editor’s note: Kelly Wentz, Strasburg, Colo., is a home-schooled eighth grader. Her Mother, Marilyn, is the communications director for the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.