Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Abraham!

Today is February 12. The day we traditionally celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. And even though my ancestry connects me to one of the Lincoln Conspirators who was tried and thrown in prison as a conspirator, aka Dr. Samuel Mudd, you know, “your name will be Mudd", I have always had a soft spot for Abe. First of all, his wife was a little crazy but then you would be too if you’d lost a couple of children, was obsessed with the possibility of someone killing your husband (which proved right), had everyone criticizing the way you dressed (which is political suicide), and then have your oldest son commit you to a mental institution. Abe was constantly tortured by nightmares, usually of his own death. The stress of war paid its toll on Abe as well…Thousands and thousands of young men dead, brother killing brother, cousin killing cousin. His own cabinet of long beards was against him. The North hated him. The South hated him. Thank god Abe believed in preserving our union. Thank god, the slaves are free. Thank god, we have great movies like Gone With The Wind. Thank god, Mammy got an academy award. Thank god, for Stephen Sondheim. Wait a minute, what was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, the man couldn’t even watch a play without some crazy, starving for attention actor coming in and rudely upstaging a great performance (one which Lincoln was enjoying, by the way) to shoot and kill him.

Did you know this country had Abe exhumed in 1901, 36 years after his death just to identify the poor man’s body in the casket because rumors surfaced that his body had been taken? Good thing Mary wasn’t around when that happened! That would have really sent her off the deep end.

And finally, remember Shirley Temple in the Little Colonel when she sat on Abe’s lap and he shared his apple slices with her and then he freed her father in prison….How can anyone not love this man?

Abe, Happy Birthday. Rest in peace.


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