I always have fun when I pick up my handy “Questions and Answers” book. It’s beside me now, within arm’s reach, and I’m eagerly anticipating the question I’ll find when I open it. Are you ready?
LOL! That’s my first reaction. OK, so here it is. It’s a question I’ve seen bandied about on the internet from time to time. Even so, it’s always interesting.
What famous person would you bring back
from the dead to have dinner with?
Answering that question is fairly easy for me. Of course, there are many “famous people” from the past with whom I’d love to have dinner — or lunch, or only a conversation, no food required. Some, like Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett, are on my list because of their eccentricities as well as for their role in American history. Others, like former president Franklin Pierce or war hero Winfield Scott (Old Fuss ‘n’ Feathers) are figures from the past who’ve caught my interest in one way or another.
Fourth president James Madison, once described as the “inconsquential little man with libraries in his head” would make a fascinating dinner companion. Or, for more salacious entertainment, I might call upon Maria Reynolds to learn first-hand about one of the nation’s first shocking sex scandals.
Yet every time I see this question, I quickly give the same answer. It’s because of a place in Pennsylvania known as Jumonville Glen.
On May 28, 1754, this peaceful glen became the tumultous scene of battle when young Lieutenant-Colonel George Washington’s men surprised a French scouting party near their encampment at Great Meadows, an attack which ultimately led to two wars.
What really happened that misty morning at Jumonville Glen (named for the French ambassador who was brutally murdered during the fracas) has been the subject of many debates. Different witnesses told different stories. So-called “facts” changed from time to time. Arguments have raged, articles promoting one view after another have been written, and in the end, nobody really knows exactly what took place that day.
I have this weird, inexplicable fascination with the French and Indian War, more correctly known as “The Seven Years War”, although it lasted unofficially for nine years. History, you see, is not keen on exactness…which brings me back around again to Jumonville Glen.
Actually, it brings me back around to a mid-summer’s night and a strange dream I had. Nothing Shakespearean about it. No Puck, no Oberon, no Titania, and no one becoming “enamored of an ass”. No Kevin Kline either, darn the luck. But, just for fun, you can watch a clip here:
But, back to my dream. I’d obviously been spending a bit too much time reading about the French and Indian War and the events leading up to it. I’d not only been reading it, I’d also been battling it out for myself with a table-top “war game” from Strategy and Tactics. I had computer games, too. I was, shall we say, “totally immersed” in the history of the war.
In this dream, I was sitting on the front porch with George Washington himself, having a lovely little chat. We’d talked about the weather, about this and that, and then I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. “So tell me, George”, I said — and don’t you love the casual, first-name basis? — “What really happened at Jumonville Glen?”
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to be on the verge of KNOWING the absolute truth, heard, as they say, “straight from the horse’s mouth”, or in this case, straight from the lips of the Lieutenant-Colonel himself.
But then, I woke up.
Most likely it was the excitement that did it. Frantic, I turned over and tried desperately to force myself back to sleep again. Finally, in despair, I got up and faced the simple truth. The dream was gone, and I would never know the answer to my question.
So, if I could bring back one famous person to have dinner with, it would be my old friend, George, and I would, at last, find out what really happened at Jumonville Glen.
WHO WOULD YOU BRING BACK FROM THE PAST?
DID YOU KNOW: George Washington hired staff to brush his horses’ teeth each day? (Trust me on this one. George and I go back a long way.) The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia
THANKS FOR VISITING TODAY!