About 11:30 a.m. a man in a radiant red sports jacket appeared in the distance, his wheelchair rolling speedily down the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue, rounding a corner and headed for home.
It was Stan Musial's Day at the White House.
"This is the greatest day I had in my life," Musial would say later, as this most magical and meaningful day began to wind down.
And from the beginning you could tell that The Man was ready to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was fired up, sharp, mentally locked in. Smiling at President Barack Obama. Applauding the 14 other recipients. And not missing a beat.
And as a natural-born crowd-pleaser, Musial was also ready for the big show. A clutch hitter, you just knew he'd come through in a way that matched the magnitude of the occasion.
And he would come through just by being Stan Musial.
"Stan remains, to this day, an icon, untarnished; a beloved pillar of the community; a gentleman you'd want your kids to emulate," Obama said at Tuesday's ceremony.
Musial has always been about providing joy for others. For reminding us that there's something to be said for going to sleep happy, and waking up happy, and spreading happiness throughout the day. It's probably the secret to Musial's longevity.
So did you really expect Musial to make a solemn pose at the White House? There wasn't a chance of him striking out in this one.
And so at the most famous address in America — 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — Musial would step up and offer two harmonica concerts.