"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Monday, March 30, 2009

Speaking of Martha...

Yesterday, Paul and I spontaneously decided to head down to Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. And this was spontaneity at it's finest, let me tell you. We literally got in the car and just started driving south. We weren't sure where exactly we wanted to go, but about 10 minutes into the trip, Paul suggested Mount Vernon (as we had heard there was a peculiar set of dentures there) and a plan was formed. I know it seems weird that a old set of fake teeth was our deciding factor, but Paul and I are a bit odd I suppose.

Anyway, I was genuinely fascinated with this place! There are A LOT of pics in this post because I swear, around every turn was something that truly interested me.

We had every intention of going into the mansion first, but one look at the line to get in coupled with the rule prohibiting strollers inside forced us to explore other attractions on the property first. I was more than okay with this because I could smell the farm animals while we were in line for tickets and was eager to see what kind were there.

Our first stop was "Ye Olde Bull." I have to say, I was a bit nervous about approaching the bull pen after one look at their very large horns, but they seemed like well-fed, happy bulls and that proved to assuage any hesitance on my part.

They were quite friendly actually. One of them even came within arms reach in search of a good head scratching, and I was happy to oblige.

After peering down at my now very dirty hands and fingernails, I decided that I might as well get to touching every other animal that was available. So off we went to see the sheep or "sheeps" as Eva called them. The adult sheep were no fun as they stayed away from the fence and had no interest in a head scratch or anything else of the sort, but the lambs...now they were fun!

One little lamb was so taken with Eva and I that the sweet thing stuck it's head through the planks of the fence and suckled our fingers for a while. It was really adorable!

As we walked down the fence a little ways, we heard some commotion and chatter about two brand new lambs. I mean really new. Like born 20 minutes ago new. We hurried down to catch a glimpse and there they were; pitch black fleece and umbilical cords still attached. I tell you what guys, I was meant to have been born in that century on a farm. I pouted for a second that we had just missed the actual birth but quickly recovered and marveled at how precious the newborn lambs were, grateful that I at least got to see them this new.

After standing there for more than a short while, I glanced at Paul, a smile of awe still spread across my face and realized that he wasn't as thrilled as I was about the newborn lambs. So, I reluctantly pressed on.

We then came to the servants quarters. They were made up of cute little structures, about the size of a typical bedroom, each with a particular purpose. The first one we peered into was the kitchen. Now guys, I thought MY kitchen was on provincial side with it's 15 year old appliances and flat wooden cabinetry, but one look at this one, and mine seemed gourmet!

We then came to the laundry "room"...I shall never complain of having to do laundry again! God bless my washer and dryer!

Once we had made our way through the stables and servant's quarters, we headed down a quaint brick path (Eva and I actually skipped down this path as I sang "We're off to see the Wizard") with gorgeous green grass and shady trees along the sides and finally came to the tombs of George and Martha Washington.

A few things captured me about this stop. The first was this engraving in the wall right above the sarcophaguses.

It's John 11:25-26 which, in modern english says "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

It's a verse that many an American would find close-minded and offensive, but a verse so important to our first president that he wanted it inscribed above his grave. Truly baffling.

Another aspect of the tomb that amazed me were these engravings on the brick that surrounds the graves.

Apparently, George Washington predicted that at some point, a civil war would break out in our nation and that deeply saddened him because he never wanted to see his beloved country divided. So, at the request of the Washington family, Mount Vernon was declared neutral territory during the Civil War. Therefore, all soldiers, both North and South were able to seek shelter there during the war. Because of the great admiration these soldiers had for Mr. Washington as our first president and the vision he had for this nation, they diligently etched their names into the walls surrounding his final resting place as a way to pay their respects. I can't tell you how emotional it was for me to put my fingers in the grooves that I know were repeatedly hammered and scraped by men who participated in such a pivotal time in our nation's history. It was amazing.

One of our final stops was down a long, brick path laid on a hill that ended at the banks of the wide Potomac River. The weather was still bright and beautiful, although a little windy and Paul and I took the opportunity to snap a few quick shots.

Please don't mind my very wind-blown hair.

So that's our trip to Mount Vernon. It was crazy fun even though we never actually made it INTO the mansion. But we plan to visit many more times in the future, so I'm sure we'll get in there eventually.

And yes, we did get to see the dentures that Washington wore, made with animal teeth, wood and porcelain, however cameras weren't allowed in that part of the exhibit so there are no pictures. But they're dreadful. Definitely worth the spontaneous day trip.

1 comments on "Speaking of Martha..."

Katie on March 31, 2009 at 8:36 AM said...

That one of Paul and Eva is just perfect! You should get a big print of that to hang in her room.