John McCaslin

Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, arrived on schedule in Washington last week to address a conference of the Churchill Center.

One of her hosts, Radio America President Jim Roberts, suggested she reschedule her visit in view of the impending arrival of Hurricane Isabel. Sandys, however, was positively Churchillian in her disdain for the gathering storm.

She recounted that shortly after becoming prime minister in 1940, her grandfather decided to fly to France in the height of a storm to give encouragement to the French government.

"He said, 'Whatever the weather, I am going,' and go he did," she said. "It was a case of 'never give in.' Many people have told me that I should not go to Washington at this time. I am going."

So, while Uncle Sam stayed home for two days, Sandys made her rounds, albeit often in the dark. Thousands of Washington-area residents remained without power.


There will be a unique parade along Constitution Avenue in Washington next Tuesday, Sept. 30, as an original 1903 Winton Touring Car will lead several classic vehicles - including a 1928 Studebaker, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, a 1957 Chevy convertible and a 1961 Cadillac - to the entrance of the National Museum of American History.

Upon arrival around 2 p.m., the museum will provide a sneak peek at "America on the Move," an exhibition opening this fall in the new General Motors Hall of Transportation.

On behalf of the new exhibit, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns asked many U.S. senators to comment on their first automobiles. Here's a sampling GM kindly shared with this column:

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Pinto (red and white): "I was working on Jerry Brown's campaign for president and one day when he was visiting a city in Ohio I was there with my car. Jerry wanted to ride around in the Pinto, so he climbed in and four other guys crammed into the car to ride around town in the Pinto."

Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-Wy.), 1967 Cougar XR-7: "My first car was metallic lime green with leather seats, toggle switches and multi-directional tail lights. I put a lot of miles on it going to Laramie, Wyo., to court the lady that became my wife. After my wife, Diana, and I had our first child in November of 1971, we traded the car in for a station wagon."

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), 1948 four-door Chevy: "The interior was huge. The back end was higher that than the front, so I took it down to the beach and put a large sack of sand in the trunk to give it that lowered-in-the-back look. Paid $125 for it. Loved it!"

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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