Posted tagged ‘George Washington’

“Someone once called Lincoln two-faced. “If I am two-faced, would I wear the face that I have now?” Lincoln asked.”

February 20, 2017

The gray sky has returned. After the beautiful day yesterday, I was hoping for more, but I guess one sunny, warm day will have to do for the meanwhile.

When I was a  kid, we didn’t have President’s Day. We celebrated Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. Well, we actually didn’t do any celebrating. It was always the first day of February vacation which was a celebration in itself.

My first president was Truman, but I was too young to notice. President Eisenhower, however, I knew because he got a toast from me every day. I watched Big Brother Bob Emery on TV, and we all lifted our glasses of milk and toasted President Eisenhower while Hail to the Chief played. I have to think I was a bit fuzzy as to the connection between President Eisenhower and me.

The politics or the political parties of these presidents didn’t matter to me as I didn’t even know what a political party was. I just knew some neat stories about the presidents. George Washington cut down the cherry tree and told the truth when confronted. I always pictured him as a little kid wearing his general’s uniform and tri-corner hat and standing by a cut-down tree with an ax in his hand. To me, Lincoln always wore his top hat making him even taller than his contemporaries. I always liked Teddy Roosevelt. I saw him with sword in front as he and his horse charged up San Juan Hill.

When I first got to Ghana, the country was in the middle of a campaign to replace the military government, formed after a coup, with a civilian government to be called the Second Republic. It was exciting. Women wore dresses made from cloth covered in party symbols. I saw Busia, one of the candidates, speak at a rally in Bawku. He spoke English which was translated to Hausa. The crowd went wild listening to the Hausa. In my town, there were impromptu rallies with singing and drumming. On election day, the lines were long. You couldn’t see the end of the line from the beginning. People voted the symbols of each party, not the names, so literacy wasn’t a prerequisite for voter registration. Busia was elected. Later, he would be deposed in a peaceful coup.

If given a choice, I’d pick drums and dancing. I’ve had enough rhetoric.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

February 21, 2011

The snow is gently falling in tiny flakes. It’s leaving a coating on the lawns but not the roads. I think it’s pretty. Today is cold but without a wind it seems warmer. Finches have taken over my feeders. Most are goldfinches, but I did see a house finch. A nuthatch flew in quickly, grabbed a seed and settled on a branch to enjoy it. I haven’t seen a chickadee in a while. They used to be my most frequent visitors, and I miss them. The suet feeder is empty. I’ll have to brave the elements later and fill it. I have a couple of woodpeckers who drop by all the time to dine at that feeder.

Today is called Presidents’ Day. It didn’t exist when I was young. We observed Washington’s birthday, February 22nd, as a holiday and always had it off from school because it usually fell during our February vacation. Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th, and we had that off from school too. Later, the powers that be tinkered with the birthdays and decided a Monday holiday combining both was the best idea so today unofficially celebrates Lincoln and Washington. There is no official federal holiday called Presidents’ Day. The federal government celebrates today as Washington’s Birthday and that’s it, nothing else. The other presidents were tossed by the wayside.

I’m okay with recognizing Washington. He was, after all, the first president, and there are some great myths associated with him like his wooden teeth and the chopping of the cherry tree. I went looking and found some facts I didn’t know about Washington. He was the only Founding Father to free his slaves; he is credited with introducing the mule to America; his second inaugural address was the shortest ever given, and he grew marijuana on his farm, never smoked it though, didn’t even inhale. He used it for hemp.

I figure lots of presidents belong by the wayside and ought not to be celebrated so, like the federal government, I’m sticking with Washington.


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