The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History December 4 - 10.
Whenever we leave a situation, a job, a community, or whatever, we always seem to end up at a bar. Booze appears to be a handy aid when it comes to ending a particular time in anyone’s life, be it with someone you love, or someone you are glad to see leave.
It’s along long-standing American tradition that when someone moves on to another job or retires, a bunch of people gather for the last time at the local pub. Some credit cards are thrown down and the festivities begin in earnest.
There are speeches given by those who know the person best. Someone is sure to mention the good times they had attending conferences or dealing with difficult clients. Perhaps the person leaving is a difficult supervisor, so perhaps later in the evening a subordinate with liquid courage may stand up and declare that putting cover sheets on the TPS reports is silly.
George Washington found himself out of a job when he won the Revolutionary War over our British Overlords. As the commanding general, he looked forward to going home and spending the rest of his days doing the exact opposite of being a commanding general.
So his officers threw him a going away party on December 4, 1783, days after the British left New York City to head back across the ocean and lick their wounds of defeat. It was Washington’s chance to say farewell fellas.
The party took place in Fraunces Tavern, in New York, which is still a restaurant today. I couldn’t find a lot of information on the event, then again, I made an okay effort, but I did find out the soldiers held a turtle feast for their beloved leader.
A turtle feast is something the British invented and it was considered a high-status culinary affair. Green sea turtles were the prized cuisine and I guess you boil them and put them in some sort of stew to eat. Supposedly what they lacked in looks they made up in taste and I’m just going to take the word of people in the 18th century on this one.
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Here are Washington’s farewell remarks:
With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.
After speaking to the group, it is said that Washington held court with each officer individually in private. You have to wonder if he asked each of them what they thought of eating turtles.
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
1. Diane Feinstein became the first female Mayor of San Fransisco on December 4, 1978. Feinstein was serving as the president of the Board of Supervisors, when fellow Supervisor, Harvey Milk and Mayor, George Moscone, were assassinated on November 27. She held the position for ten years before running unsuccessfully for Governor of California in 1990. In 1992, she was elected to the United States Senate, a position her staff held until her death this past September. She was 90.
2. The 21st Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on December 5, 1933. When the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified back in 1920, the country confirmed its silliness. We quickly figured out we needed to change it and by golly, we did, with an amendment to repeal that sucker and secure its place as a top ten Constitutional Amendment. I’d like to thank my home state of Ohio, for being the state that put the booze back in legal standing.
3. President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential address by radio on December 6, 1923. The 30th president (top 30 in the OKH presidential rankings) addressed Congress on numerous subjects, beginning with the death of the previous president, Warren Harding, which occurred earlier that August. Coolidge then went on to talk about the economy, Prohibition, and immigration among other things. He also invoked the Monroe Doctrine and its importance. He wrapped up by stating that Florida State deserved to go to the college football playoffs because they went undefeated this past season in a power conference and that should matter.
The Christmas decorations are up, thanks to Anonymous. The house is covered with these snow baby things. I broke one either last year or the year before, I can’t remember, and I swear they grew in number like Hydra. They are funny to look at.
It took us a few hours on Friday evening to get everything set up. It was a family effort. I drank beer and kept an eye on a basketball game. Blue laid on Christmas lights, in front of the tree, and eventually, when we finished, we took a picture of him in front of it. I neglected to get them from Anonymous so you will have other Blue pictures at the bottom.
We are racing to the end of the Constitutional Amendment ranking. I’ll be back on Friday with my latest edition. Only four more!
Let’s try the poll again. Last week it didn’t go as planned.
Thank you for your support of Okay History and may your week be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.