Posted tagged ‘President’s Day’

“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.

“I know I am getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators.”

February 17, 2014

The world on Cape Cod is a winter wonderland. I took the long way to my breakfast spot this morning and saw limbs split and broken from the weight of the snow, tree branches laden with heavy, icy snow and bent to the ground, fronts of houses hidden behind walls of snow turned to ice and side roads still covered in snow and ice, including mine. The sun is blinding. The temperature is 18˚.

Today is Washington’s Birthday or President’s Day: which one you celebrate depends on where you live. The fact that Washington was not born on this day does not affect in any way the cake and candles. It became a Monday so people can have a three-day weekend. Lincoln still has his own day in some states but mostly he is just throw into the President’s Day mix.

I knew lots of facts about some Presidents which gave them a bit of nobility far beyond those of mortal men. Those facts, however, later proved to be folk tales, myths. Washington never did cut down that cherry tree and for all I know he lied through his teeth which were not wooden even though they taught me that in school. Lincoln was Honest Abe because he walked a mile to return a customer’s change. He was also an educational inspiration. I had pencils and paper. He had coal and the back of a shovel. As for the Gettysburg Address, it wasn’t written on the back of an envelope.

Nicknames in those days were flattering. Washington was the Father of His Country and Lincoln was the Great Emancipator. I think it was President Nixon’s Tricky Dick which reversed the trend.

Many Presidents don’t deserve mention, but they still get a piece of the day. Lumping them all together is a good idea because I suspect none of us would celebrate Hoover Day unless we were talking about a really good vacuum cleaning or Gerald Ford Day because there isn’t a reason for him to have singular recognition. Besides, I’m still mad at him for pardoning Nixon though I did feel bad when he fell down those plane steps. Jimmy Carter got attacked by a rabbit which is another event we don’t celebrate, and he saw a UFO though I like that about him. One slang word for a certain male body part is a johnson. LBJ called his Jumbo. That’s a fact!


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