Presidential Pairs

When you have a group of 45  men over a span of 240+ plus years, it’s not surprising to find some duplicate names. When the grouping is men of power, politics, and authority the public takes notice.

Among the 45, you have a variety of occupations with a heavy percentage of lawyers, military heroes, and successful businessmen. The group even includes one engineer.

In some families, sons follow fathers, grandfathers, or uncles into an occupation which threads it’s way through generations. Just for fun — we’re ending February (the month including the President’s Day holiday) with a summary of some presidential pairs.

Adams: John and John Quincey. Father and son were 2nd and 6th presidents of the United States.

Harrison: William Henry and Benjamin. Grandfather and grandson were 9th and 23rd presidents of the United States.

Johnson: Andrew, the 17th president and Lyndon, the 36th president were not related.

Roosevelt: Theodore and Franklin. While the men were distant cousins, Franklin married Theodore’s niece. They served as the 26th and 32nd presidents.

Bush: George H. W. and George W. Father and son were the 41st and 43rd presidents of the United States.


A Tough Hide

Life’s not fair. Insults happen. Words can hurt.

So how to cope? My number one advice would be to delay a response. I don’t know about you — but any witty response to a barb tossed at me is on delayed reaction. And it may be good to consider — do I want to add fuel? Escalate the situation? Or is it better to give a little space? After all, a fire without fuel exhausts itself.

When delay or ignore is not an option — there comes a time for a person to stand up, stop being a doormat, and grow a spine. (Lots of ways to phrase it.) So if the situation calls for it — reply. Respond. Stand up for your rights. Express your point of view.  With Kindness.

Designed to deflect most insults — I’d not push this zoo resident too far.


A Great American Story

The biographies at my elementary school stressed his birthplace – a log cabin.

When you pause and think about the year of his birth – 1809 – you can imagine lots of log cabins occupied by farm families. After all, a scattering a log barns and houses where a log room or two had been covered with plaster on the inside and siding on the outside existed during my childhood a century and a half later.

However, it magnifies that he did not come from a rich family. His parents were not wealthy merchants or landowners. And if you wanted young readers to believe they could become anything — even President of the United States — it made a great, true story.

Yes, today’s presidential spotlight is on Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe. Railsplitter. Prairie lawyer.

Lincoln’s portrait dominates on both “folding” money and the smallest coin. To celebrate his 200th birthday, scenes from his life decorated the non-obverse side of the penny.


The Unsung Queen

King of the Jungle. Bah! Do you know the difference between grasslands and jungle?

King? Who do you think does the bulk of the day to day work?

Yes, it’s the girls in the pride who organize the hunt, take down the feast, and get none of the glory. Who would think a little extra hair around the ears would make such a difference?

The power behind the throne must be patient.

I’m VERY patient.


Grand Land Purchase

In today’s society, we’d say he wore many hats.

Architect. Inventor. Writer. Diplomat. Public servant.

Born into a prosperous family, he inherited land and slaves at age 14, at the death of his father. Like many men of his time — he accomplished much at what today would be considered a young age. But remember: life spans averaged shorter then.

This third president of the United States can be remembered for many things. Our highlight today is a land purchase. A European ruler needed cash — and his property in the New World was difficult to administer from a distance. So…offer it for sale.

This deal, soon known as the Louisiana Purchase, prompted the explorations of Lewis and Clark plus many others. For practical purposes, it doubled the size of the young United States. All of the land in the Mississippi and Missouri River watersheds now were part of the same nation. The new land was varied — rich farmland, prairie, mountains, forest, metal ores, and an abundance of wildlife. It gave the growing US “elbow room” and settlers followed the rivers and trails to new homes.

Thomas Jefferson

Have you ever lived in or visited the remarkable Louisiana Purchase lands?


What Did You Call Me?

I beg your pardon. I am not a seal. I am a sea lion. The larger and better looking of the pinnipeds. (Lack of self-esteem is not one of my problems.)

Are you one of the humans that can’t tell the difference. Here’s a tip. Our seal relatives, when they are on land, slide along on the bellies. We — sea lions — actually walk on four legs. Yes, our front flippers are much stronger and larger. A glance at our head shows another difference. Notice my ear flaps. You won’t see them on seals.

I’m also talented. I love fish — could eat them all day and half the night. And the humans here (I live at a zoo) make us work for some of our snacks. It’s fun to show off my skills to the crowd. Stop in and be awed some summer day!

Life is good!


He was the First

February includes Presidents’ Day in the United States.

While it is good to set a day aside to honor past leaders, sometimes one day isn’t enough. So for the next several Fridays this blog with highlight some of the prominent holders of our highest elected office.

Shall we begin at the beginning?

George Washington, a native of Virginia, was born in 1732. He served as general in charge of the colonial army during the revolution and presided at the constitutional convention and was elected as the first President of the new nation. He served for a total of eight years and then stepped out of the political spotlight. His death near the end of 1799 made him the only US President to both serve and die in the 18th Century.

He’s often depicted on horseback — as in this fine example in Boston.


On the Hoof

Ewww! They smell. They lay in the mud.

First reactions to these animals often start at the dislike end of the scale.

Most years, we raised some on our farm. We never had many. We had a small farm. They had their charm. Some enjoyed a good scratch and would come up to the gate or fence when humans came out to check on them.

They all enjoyed meal time. We had a feeder with room for six. All they had to do, any time of the day or night, was lift up the light metal lid with their nose and dine on ground corn with other nutrients added.

They never objected when we filled their water tank and it ran over a little. The response was rather — Oh, good — Mud!

Pork chops, ham, and bacon growing here.

This small herd lives at a County Park