Last night we had dinner at the Common Man in order to celebrate Washington's birthday. His birthday is on February 22nd, so it was a bit of a belated birthday celebration, but it was a fun time nonetheless. Here is a great link that has some information about the progression of Washington's Birthday, Lincoln's Birthday, and President's day. According to the site, Washington's birthday was celebrated even before he died in the late 18th century, but it didn't become an official federal holiday until President Chester Arthur signed a bill in 1885. The day we recognize as President's day is still officially Washington's Birthday according to the federal government, it was never changed to President's day. Some state governments have changed it themselves, but mostly the widespread view comes from advertising and general public opinion.
Last night we started the night off at Debbie and Bruce's house. They had snacks for everyone and we all got to mingle and chat with each other. Everyone was decked out in their finest and was looking very dapper, even Nana Janie decided to be a lady tonight! There was good conversation, good food, and good wine. What more could anyone ask for?
After that we headed over to the Common Man. We got a few looks and a few questions as we were walking in. I am sure it's not every day that you see a big group of people dressed up like us walking into a restaurant. Inside, they had reserved a room for us and set up the tables in a 'U' shape, which was very conducive to conversation. We started off with snacks first, and when the salads came out we went around the table and read thirteen toasts, which was put together and organized by Bruce. The toasts were as follows (ones in quotations are original to the 18th century):
1. To the United States of America. May she always be an inspiration of freedom.
2. To the Continental Army. May her foes shrink in her path.
3. To liberty, may Princes around the world quake at its mere mention.
4. "To George Washington, commander of the American armies, who, like Joshua of old, commanded the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed."
5. To the State of New Hampshire and her righteous spirit.
6. To John Stark, the hero of Bennington.
7. "To the signers of the Declaration of Independence. From this act of treason against the British Crown sprang a chart of Liberty and Emancipation broad as the universe and filled with glad tidings and good will towards men. They who periled their lives by this noble act will live and be cherished in the hearts of free men."
8. "Freedom from mobs as well as kings."
9. "May the liberties of America never be clipped by the shears of a bad economy and may we never be tempted to surrender to promises of security."
10. "To the illustrious Louis the Sixteenth, who, like the moon, sheds his mild and benevolent rays on and influences the globe."
11. "To the enemies of our country! May they have cobweb breeches, a porcupine saddle, a hard-trotting horse, and an eternal journey."
12. "May the world's wonder be American thunder."
13. To all our fallen brothers and sisters. May their sacrifice never be forgotten.
After the toast, Kris delivered grace for us. He did a fine job of it. Here is the grace he delivered:
Dear Lord. Thank you for the food we are about to receive. Oh Lord please watch over the First New Hampshire as we start this 2008 reenactment season. Dear Lord, please watch over the troops that are fighting to keep this country free as you watched over the troops that fought to make this country free. In your name we pray, and your will be done we pray. Amen. Then it was time to eat! We started with a lovely salad, and moved on to the main course which was a choice of either pork, prime rib, or a vegetarian dish. After dinner, which was exceptionally yummy, we got to have chocolate cake. Well most did anyway, Todd did have to go and rescue a few pieces from the kitchen for two kindly ladies that seemed to have gotten skipped over! But other than that all went well.
After dinner, we had the pleasure of being entertained by Ethan, with Bruce standing in as the official music stand. Ethan had brought his acoustic guitar with him and sang us one John Mayer song and two songs he wrote. He sang beautifully and enthralled the crowd greatly. Below are two videos of Ethan singing, the first is of the John Mayer song he did and the second is a song he wrote himself. Sorry for the lighting, it was not very well lit in that room, and YouTube made them even darker.
If you would like to see all the pictures from the night, be sure to check out my album. It was a great night and fun times were had by all.
Believe me yours faithfully,
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