July is for George Part one
It wasn’t fair but that’s just the way it was.
We all loved Abraham Lincoln but we just gave a respectful nod to George Washington.
Their two portraits watched over America’s school children. Lincoln was craggy and tall, his face showing the results of grief and responsibility and integrity. Washington’s portrait seemed almost dandified.
Although reading has only enhanced the respect and affection held for Lincoln, reading about the life and responsibilities of Washington has become nothing short of a thrilling revelation.
His contemporaries said that he was “First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
It wasn’t just patriotic rhetoric. It was true. His fellow countrymen knew him as the great American hero that he was.
Washington was the one man who held the 13 colonies together. Because he held us together so securely, he also held our independence in the palm of his hand.
No, not held with a pen; held by the country’s faith in his integrity, his bravery and his stalwart honesty.
And so, as we near our 239th 4th of July celebration, it’s worth it to take time to learn a little more about the “Father of Our Country.”
Washington may not look like it but he was tall.
He stood head and shoulders above most of his countrymen.
Washington was considered the greatest horseman of his time, and even more interesting, he broke and trained all his own horses.
He loved dogs. Washington raised and bred hounds. His vast kennel reveals the attention and affection with which he dealt with his hounds.
Mopsey, Pilot, Tartar, Jupiter, Trueman, Tipler, Truelove, Juno, Dutchess, Ragman, Countess, Lady, Searcher, Rover, Sweetlips, Vulcan, Singer, Music, Tiyal and Forrester, just to name a few.
As for that frisky bitch, Madam Moose, Washington obtained a new coach dog so that “her amorous fits should therefore be attended to.”
Washington was a graceful dancer and women discreetly lined up in hopes of being taken into his arms for a whirl around the dance floor.
In fact, before returning to Mt. Vernon at the end of the Revolutionary War, he was the guest of honor at a Victory Ball, where he was obliged to dance with every woman in attendance.
“They all wanted a touch of him,” wrote one bystander.
The Victory Ball was held in Annapolis, Md. By this time, Washington had been away from his family and Mt. Vernon for eight years. He had been able to return only once in all those years.
The victory celebration was held on the night of Dec. 23, 1783. After dancing for hours, Washington strode out of the ballroom. He mounted his horse and rode through the night. He rode across Maryland and down the Potomac River into Virginia. He traveled through the late night and the morning hours.
His destination? Mt. Vernon.
After eight years, he rode night and day because he wanted to spend, in his own words, “Christmas dinner at home.”
At the Twelve Bridges Library
Free Mother Goose on the Loose: 10:30 or 11:30 a.m. Thursdays for kids.
Events are sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library. Wheelchairs and handicapped access are available. The Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive in Lincoln.
This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404 or friendsofthelincolnlibrary.com. Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library