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Inauguration, here they come from Kansas

Barack Obama was just a candidate working through frozen January days a year ago when inspiration told Marvin Lyman to secure himself a chartered bus.

The co-owner of Papa Lew’s restaurant in Kansas City was thinking Inauguration Day 2009.

And he was thinking about people like Joann Wyatt, 70, of Liberty.

She’ll have a seat among the 106 people — now filling two buses from the restaurant — who will be squeezing into the throng on Washington’s Mall Tuesday, wading in with perhaps a million people or more.

“I can still remember when I couldn’t go into Kresge’s (dime store) and eat,” Wyatt said.

She and others gathered at Papa Lew’s this week to talk about their plans and the daunting logistics they and other area residents must face to join what’s expected to be a record inauguration crowd.

She can remember, she said, how she had to go five miles to a two-room segregated school in Armourdale. She remembers not knowing if there would ever be a black American president.

So don’t wonder whether she’s going to be able to handle the crowds, the packed trains, the lines or whatever the weather might bring.

“This is my day,” she said, “to go through the front door.”

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