Kohls and the Hindu Temple

Soooo, there’s a gorgeous Hindu temple in the middle of Georgia and we found it. No, seriously. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’ve lost my damn mind. But I swear, there’s a gorgeous Hindu temple in the middle of Georgia, right past a Home Depot. And we found it. Stay with me here, it’s a long sordid story full of grandmas, and shopping, and a trip to Cook-Out, but it ends with a gorgeous Hindu temple in the middle of Georgia, so it’s totes worth it.

It was last summer and my mom was in town visiting. She decided she wanted to go to Kohls to look around because #KohlsCash and #SeniorCitizens go together like Taylor Swift and shorty shorts. Some things are just meant to be, that’s all. So we headed to the nearest Kohls, which is like 20 minutes away. Along the way I caught a glimpse of something poking over some trees, just outside our city limits. Over yonder, as they say in Georgia, just past the Home Depot.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, just that it was something possibly grand, exquisite even, and that I would need to do some digging. But then my mom was all, “Is anybody hungry?” which is her way of telling us that she is hungry and we need to stop for food. Like now. (Side note: She also says things like, “Is anyone cold?” and “Does anyone have to pee so bad they think they might pee in their pants?” You know, things like that.) Anywho, Jerimiah pulled into a Cook-Out because honestly it was the first one we saw here in Georgia and having just moved from North Carolina it, well, it felt like home. If you don’t know about Cook-Out now you do. #Amazing

As we ate lunch at Cook-Out I Googled: “Big white temple looking thing in Lilburn, Georgia” and lo and behold the Google Goddess answered.

There is indeed a giant, gorgeous Hindu temple in the middle of Georgia. It’s in Lilburn, Georgia to be precise, but since Atlanta has the largest Metro area ever, it’s considered the Atlanta temple.

The temple itself was built strictly by volunteers on top of what used to be a skating rink. Volunteering is a cornerstone of the Hindu religion and it is known as Seva, or selfless volunteering. It took 1.3 million volunteers working two million (wo)man hours to complete the temple in a little over 17 months. It is made of three types of stone, Turkish Limestone, Italian marble, and Indian pink sandstone. That’s it. Just those three stones. According to their website more than 34,000 individual pieces were carved by hand in India, shipped to the USA and assembled in Lilburn like a giant 3-D puzzle in accordance with the ancient Hindu architecture scripture. I can feel you guys still think I’m a liar, liar pants on fire, so here’s a picture of Jackson standing in front of it in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, which is fitting because this place is BIG! Like Disney BIG!

The Temple, or Mandir, is a place of worship for people who practice Hinduism. This particular Mandir is for people who practice Swaminarayan Hinduism and, although there are two million Mandirs globally, and 450 in the United States (with the most in Texas) the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn is the largest Mandir outside of India. Whew knew?!

Okay, so there we were back at Cook-Out and we were debating to stop by the Mandir after our trip to Kohls. I’m pretty sure my Mom had no idea what we were talking about and I was not pronouncing Swaminarayan correctly, but we decided since it was on the way home, why not? I think my Mom was still a little nervous, being a Baptist and all, but she went along with it. I bought her ice cream. Then helped her use her Kohls Cash, so it seemed fair for her not to complain.

When we got to the Mandir we weren’t sure where to go, or how to act, or what have you. I mean, we are not Hindu. We didn’t want to pretend to be. And I can honestly say that none of us have ever been to a sacred temple of any kind. Not our style (previously). So we drove very slowly in, thinking we might get asked to leave, but no, they waved at us, showed us where to park, and were all around very friendly. Though I think my Mom and Jackson were still a bit confused by the whole thing. Me? I was just in awe. This is the picture I took when we got out of the car.

A storm was rolling in and I think my Mom was both worried about her hair getting wet and about all the people who did not look like her. This was a lot for a 75-year-old from Kansas, but she didn’t say much. She just looked around, slowly climbed the steps, and stood in awe. I even caught her snapping a few pics, which may seem weird to some, but it is encouraged here. They worked hard on this building and they want you to take pictures. Of the outside, not the inside. Since it is a traditional Mandir the inside is a place of quiet and calm. A place reserved for meditation, prayer, and solitude. But in order to get inside you have to your legs covered, of which none of us did! But don’t worry, they are prepared for crazy, white people.

When we reached the top of the steps a man greeted us and asked if we wanted to go inside. We said, “Of course,” though again, I was the only one super sure about it, and he told us we’d have to cover our legs. He gave us all a long black piece of cloth, and we wrapped it around our legs like a skirt, then we were allowed to enter.

Inside was like something I had never seen before. There were beautiful carvings everywhere, and the room used for prayer and meditation was covered in marble and glass (all the floors are marble and you have to take off your shoes at the entrance too).

It was very quiet in there, as most of the visitors were praying. But upstairs there was a room not unlike the main floor of a cathedral. In fact, I was suddenly transported back to that time we spent an hour or so exploring St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. There were people worshipping in the middle of a large room, sit on the marble floor, and others walking all around the edges to visit statues of various deities in the Hindu faith, much like at St. Patrick’s and St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square in New Orleans. It was just that instead of the bust of Joan of Arc, there was a statue of Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj. Same. Same.

I was totally drawn into the quiet of the place, like most churches I have been in. I like quiet, have I mentioned that? I’m a fan of quiet. Though I did feel rushed by my Mom who asked, “Does anyone have to pee?” and my son who was asking in very loud tones, “Why are they walking in circles around that statue?” (See postscript). I did not have an answer for him, but I did sense it was time for us to leave the inside. So we did. But I tell you what, I have plans to go back. Alone. And if you’re ever in Atlanta, maybe I suggest you check it out too? It really is a lovely place. The last picture is from the back of the Mandir. I made Jerimiah stop as we were driving out to take it. I mean, come on!

We were all impressed by the structure, and I think we all learned something that do too, though it may have been different things, we all learned something.

When we got home I posted some of the pics on FB and told people to get there if they are in the area. My Mom asked me to tag her in the pictures, so I did, and one of her “church friends” commented immediately that she “felt sorry that we were in an area that had a large Hindu population” and continued to display her accepting, Christian nature, by adding how disgraceful it is to worship more than one God and asking when Trump was going to send them all packing. Then she blessed us, I’m pretty sure, and my Mom said, “Oh, she’s crazy. Delete that comment.” And so I did.

M.

PS… I have an answer for Jackson regarding his astute observation, “Why are they walking in circles?” It’s called circumambulating. Because Hindu temples are built where positive energy flows, the main idol is placed in the center of that gravitational force on a copper plate so it can beam the waves of positivity. People who practice Hindu believe that our energy is drained throughout the day (I hear that!) and when they visit the temple they are restored, particularly if they go to the main idol. Thus a person regularly visiting a temple and walking clockwise around the main idol receives the beamed magnetic waves and his body absorbs it. 

Nothing Important

Seriously. Nothing to report, other than I’ve been very busy and struggling to write everyday. A road block I felt coming, but kept just pushing away. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. On the contrary, I have so many things to write about. I have our awesome long weekend where we took a couple walking tours around Atlanta and learned a ton of history. I have this MFA application process I’m currently in the middle of. There’s Jackson’s middle school trip this week, and the trip we’re planning for next month. There’s new friends. Planning my charcuterie board for book club night. Jackson’s fun music lessons, geez, there’s a lot. But this is all I can muster. A post about nothing.

We did go to trivia night last night. That’s fun. We always try to beat our last score, and so far so good. We’ve been 8th place, 7th place, 6th place, and last night we came in 4th! We actually knew the grand finale question this time! It was which two countries (out of eight) do not have Spanish as their official language? Do you know? Okay, here’s the list: Nicaragua, Morocco, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuatorial Guinea, and Honduras. Which two don’t speak Spanish as their official language?

Waiting.

Don’t cheat! You know it!

Yes, you’re right! Morocco (they speak Arabic) and Belize (they speak English). Jerimiah was 100% sure of Morocco, meanwhile I worked in a restaurant with a woman from Belize and she couldn’t understand the cooks. Haha, that’s how I knew Belize! She had a proper English accent because Belize was formally British Honduras, because colonialism. Wasn’t that fun?! Here’s a few more questions we randomly pulled the answer to out of our arses last night. Try your hand at them. Answers at the bottom of post.

1. What is the capital city of the African country of Seychelles?

2. What 13th century empire was ruled by Osman?

3. If supersonic speed is approx. one times the speed of sound, how many times more is hypersonic speed?

So, hmpf, there it is. I’m busy again today you guys, but I guess never too busy to boast about random knowledge. And if you ever find yourself round my parts (no, not those parts you perverts) if you ever find yourself around The ATL, then come play trivia with us. It’s fun and nerdy. Like us.

Until tomorrow when I’m SURE I’ll have something important to say!

M.

Answers:

1. Victoria

2. Ottoman Empire

3. Five

Bonus question we didn’t get right: When President Jefferson died, which former president and Jefferson BFF, did he leave his cane to?

We guessed John Adams because Samuel Adams because beer list because we don’t know American history. But it was James Madison. Which made me slap my leg and yell, “Oh Dolly! I should have known!” 🙂 But you knew, you smarty-pants!

It's Book Club Time!

Oh my goodness, do you guys remember like forever ago when I wrote about my secret desire to be part of a book club, but that I just knew that I would never be invited into one because I suck so hard?! Remember I called it Book Clurb because I was putting extra Rs in words to annoy my husband at the time? Okay, well guess what?! No, I wasn’t invited into a book club. Sad face. I started my own! Eek! Okay now before you are all, “Jesus Missy, this won’t end well.” Listen to what actually, for real happened.

First of all, at the beginning of the school year I met this friend named Julie outside the walker line at Jackson’s school. Not to be confused with THAT Julie. She cray. This Julie is legit, and nice, and totally, usually, up for whatever. So Cool Julie (who also has an MA in English) was all, “I’ve been thinking about trying to start like a book club or something.” And you know I tapped into that shit hard! I played it cool at first, I was all, “Hmm, I book club. I don’t know. I mean, do people read anymore?” And she was all, “I think so. I mean I do.” I looked toward the ground and pretended like I was unimpressed. “Sure, sure,” I countered, “But like what do you read?” And she proceeded to tell me some books and I fell in actual love with her.

Fast forward a couple of months and we have a book picked out, “Hillbilly Elegy” one of those ones we were always meaning to get around to one day, and a couple of people in the club. Full transparency, one of the people is my husband, BUT, he said he wanted to read more this year and in January we read a book together, “The Nest” and had our own mini-book club and it worked well, so there’s that. Also, read “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, especially if you love New York City, or family dysfunction, or various POVs. Good stuff.

Even fuller transparency, we are holding it at my house mid-month, we have very little rules other than we all have to be reading the same book, and you know I am gonna make a Charcuterie Board (and you know I can!) and have plenty of wine on hand. So if we actually get around to reading and talking about the book, cool. If not, that’s cool too. Either way I will let you know how it goes. And if anyone wants to join now is your chance! There is only one spot left if I stick to my original plan… Five. Five is a good number.

Cheers to reading!

M.

Happy Valentine's Day <3

My two favorite things to do on this day are to send Jerimiah really, really bad, hella inappropriate Valentine cards (see above) and text/call all my girlfriends and tell them that I think they are awesome, because V-Day sucks for some people (mostly women) and I don’t want it to suck for people that I love. I just think it’s a great day to remind people (mainly women) that they are loved, they are worthy, and they are not alone. I mean, any day is a good day to do that, but sometimes it has more impact on a day like today. So just in case no one has said anything nice or loving to you today allow me to say this:

You are amazing. Your hair, did you do it today? Did you just recently get it colored? Did you get a blow-out? What, you did it yourself?! You’re amazing. That color, geez, that color suits you so well. What’s that? Is that a new trick you saw on YouTube for your mascara? You rocked it, girl! You should start your own YouTube make-up tutorial channel. You’re not wearing make-up? Oh, so that’s just your natural beauty. Cool. Cool. Cool. I’m not jealous of you. Just kidding, I’m hella jealous of you.

But remember, your self worth is not tied up in your hair, or your make-up, or your amazing birthing hips. What I like best about you, and so do so many other people, is how kind, and empathetic, and honest you are. I love the way your hair flips at the ends, sure, that’s cute, but I love that when I’m having a bad day you reach out a hand, or an ear, or your arms. I love it and I appreciate it. I appreciate you.

I love that you smile at strangers. I love that you get upset and cry when you see children and animals in pain. I love that you stand your ground, that you have a soft heart and sometimes soft skin, but that you can rise up when you need to. You can stand up for yourself, for the women around you, those you know and those you don’t, because you know that there are people who can’t do it for themselves. I love that you take your responsiblity as a woman in the fray, very seriously.

I love you for allowing yourself to be open with me. I know it’s not always easy, but you always try.

I love you for understanding the importance of self-care. That sometimes you need to cry alone in the bathroom, while partners, or kids, or pets, or strangers bang on the door looking for you, needing to suckle your time and your strength. They only do that because they absolutely NEED you and your strength. Because you are strong, and smart, and encouraging. Because you can lead, and sometimes it feels like you can’t, I know that, but when it comes down to it, you’re capable of so much more than you know. You will remind yourself of this time and time again, try to see it when it happens.

Lastly, I love that you are respectful, open-minded, and that you always do the right thing. I know this sounds silly to say, but in a world like the one we live in today, that is harder and harder to find.

You amaze me, girl. And I gotta ask: Will you be my Valentine?

M.

The rest of these images are specifically for Jerimiah. You’re welcome, Babe. And you’re obviously the luckiest guy in the whole world.

Life or Death

Both Jerimiah and I have been called to jury duty. Both times it was in the State of Missouri, and both times neither of us had to serve. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to. We understand the value of this particular civic duty, and would normally welcome the chance. It was just that, umm, well yeah, it was that we didn’t want to. For two very different reasons.

I was asked to serve first. On August 9th, 2011 I was served with a Federal Court summons to appear for jury duty for the State of Missouri. It was exactly five days after I found out that my daughter, the one I was carrying inside of me, had a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18. When I pulled the jury notice from my mailbox that evening, I had just came home from spending the afternoon crying in my doctor’s office while she explained that what I was about to go through was considered a “late-term abortion,” but insisting that she supported my decision. Until this point, it was the worst day of my life and I thought it couldn’t get any worse, then I opened the mailbox. I walked into the house, slammed my jury summons onto the counter and yelled to no one in particular, “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

It felt like the world was conspiring against me. Later that night while Jerimiah and I sat on the couch, a two-year-old Jackson taking his evening nap between us, we laughed for the first time in weeks. We laughed at how absurd it was that in this middle of this shit storm that we found ourselves in, that I was served with a jury summons. I don’t remember who started laughing first, but I know it felt really good.

The next day I called the State of Missouri and a curt woman on the phone informed me that it was a grand jury trial that I had been summoned to, and that I needed to be in Jeff City for the pre-trial hearings. That was the state capital, over two hours away. I asked the date, and the woman said the exact date I was expected to be in the hospital delivering my baby, who was the size of an avocado. I laughed. The State of Missouri did not. Rather, she told me that short of a “life or death situation” I was expected to be there. I told her that I was having a late-term abortion that day, did that count as life or death? Then the State of Missouri and I sat silently on the phone for several moments until she said, “A doctor’s note will do.”

Jerimiah’s summons came from Taney County, Missouri several months later, a coincidence we’ve always wondered about. Taney County was the place we had lived for nearly five years. The place our son was born. Where our daughter had died. The place, up until those last few months, that we thought we would always call home. He didn’t try to get out of it, couldn’t even if he wanted to. He didn’t have a “Get Out of Jury Duty Free” Card. He wasn’t an only parent. His job allowed him to be away. He wasn’t having a late-term abortion. So Jerimiah had to show up to for the jury selection, but he didn’t mind because he was actually a little intrigued by the whole process.

The day he had to show up for jury selection, we met that evening at the local McDonalds (the really clean one with the awesome playground) because Jackson had a playdate with his best buddy in the ball pit. While my friend and I discussed what our toddlers had been up to that week (they had both simultaneously, unbeknownst to each other, tried to eat dog poop the day before) we watched Jerimiah saunter into the play place, and I immediately knew something was wrong.

He sat down in the seat next to me and I asked what happened. I was afraid he’d been picked to serve and that he really didn’t want to. Too much going on at work, our new-ish desire to relocate, the very fresh loss of our daughter, there were a millions reasons why his mind or his heart probably wasn’t in a felony burglary trial or whatever it was.

Thats’ when he told us that he had been relieved of jury duty upon the defendant’s attorney telling the judge that Jerimiah, potential juror #8, had “made a face” when the account was read aloud. What kind of face did you make? I pressed, laughing a little, because he does show his emotions, even when he tries hard not to.

“I guess it was shock, or disgust, or…” he trailed off. He didn’t know what the face was, but at some point he was taken into the courtroom with 11 other people, placed in the jury box and told details of the case with the judge, the prosecuting attorney, and the defending attorney present. What was the case, my friend and I wanted to know. Jerimiah explained that the case was over an accusation that a 12-year-old girl made. I sucked in my breath. The girl was accusing her stepfather of repeatedly raping her over numerous years. And there it was, the face back on him. It was shock, and disgust, and well, it was anger. He had already made his mind up about the case. He was going to sentence the step-father to prison. To death, if possible.

We all sighed a long sigh. I put my hand on his arm in a comforting way, and he tried to smile, but hearing about that little girl, well that stung. It stayed with him for some time too, and obviously it has stayed with me, because here I am sharing it with you nine years later. The sadness. The cruelty. The insanity in this world. Sometimes it all feels like too much, even for the strongest of us.

Jerimiah and I were never called for jury duty in Missouri again. Likewise we were not called in North Carolina, and have yet to be called in Georgia, but I’m sure our time is coming again. And when it does we will answer our civic call. Until then, we will reflect on the other two times, and do our best to stay positive in a world that just makes it so damn hard sometimes.

M.

How ‘bout Them Chiefs?!

I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I tossed and turned. Got caught up in reading some comment sections about the half-time performance (y’all some haters, JLo and Shakira literally ROCKED our socks off! Don’t be jealous, or racist.) And as far as I’m concerned, I’m now a lifetime fan of both ladies because y’all, THE CHIEFS WON THE SUPER BOWL! I couldn’t sleep because I was so amped up on chicken wings, fudge brownies, and sexual thoughts about Patrick Mahomes, or was it Shakira? Maybe it was Andy Reid? Doesn’t matter. At two am, I was like, it’s cool, who needs sleep?! Then I started searching for pictures of the times I made my son, who has no desire to watch football, and who isn’t allowed to play football (because some brains are worth saving) dress in Chiefs gear since he was a baby. I found some. Then I finally fell asleep. That is to say that this post is really just a post of pictures. A post of disappointment over the years, rooting for one of our favorite teams (Jerimiah is a Packers fan) and then getting our hearts broken repeatedly.

In fact, it wasn’t until the Royals won the World Series a few years back that we even knew what winning felt like, and you guys, it feels damn good. Some of us have been waiting on this win for longer than others of us in the Goodnight household. But the win is for us all.

It’s for Kansas City, it’s for Kansas and Missouri (even though our dumbass President doesn’t know which state the Chiefs play in). Shit, maybe I should clarify that real quick for some of you. Arrowhead is in Kansas City, Missouri. But Kansas City is split in half. Half in Kansas and half in Missouri. (But trust, you don’t want to be on the Kansas side of the city by yourself at night). But honestly, honestly, the Chiefs are one of those teams that belong to a lot of people, not just in two states. They belong to the Midwest. To all the men and women in little towns with tattered Chiefs flags hanging from their front porches. They belong to our families in Oklahoma and Arkansas. To our crew down in Southern Missouri who hosted parties every time the Chiefs made it into the bracket, then lost. To our friends out in western Kansas, with Chiefs banners stung across old barns on wheat fields. To our friends in the Flint Hills, in Jeff City, in St. Louis, cause I mean, St. Louis needs a win. The Chiefs belong to Nebraska, because college ball is only good for so long. They belong to the people who hate the Broncs and the Raiders. And yes, they belong to Kansas City, first and foremost.

Last night’s win is for our friends and family members, the ones in their sixties and seventies who have been waiting, relentlessly waiting, for this day. It’s for my mom and my mother-in-law, who have sat screaming at television screens for too long. It’s for our friends and family members who aren’t with us anymore. Who didn’t get to see the win here on Earth with us. Today, especially for me, it’s for my Uncle Arthur, and my nephew Little Scottie. Sending love and hugs to wherever you are. The Chiefs did it!

We celebrated bigly last night in the Goodnight house! Jerimiah, a true Kansas boy, let me scream and yell and run around, while he just smiled and laughed, “I can’t believe they pulled it off.” Jackson, who was born in Southern Missouri, high-fived me, more excited that he got to stay up past bedtime than watch that fourth quarter unfold like it did! And then there was me, just a 38-year-old Chiefs fan who was so used to saying, “We’ll get ‘em next year” that I pulled out all the stops to try to indeed “Get ‘em this year,” including making a prayer candle in honor of the ghost of Derrick Thomas. I have my beliefs, about who helped us this year, and my lucky things, but I gotta say none of that really matters. Those guys played a hell of a game, both teams did, and I congratulate the 49ers and their fans. They showed up. It’s just that the better team won. Wow, that’s crazy to say.

Hoping to get some sleep tonight, but until then, have a look at some Chiefs fans over the years! And HOW ‘BOUT THEM CHIEFS?!

M.

His first Chiefs jammies!
Game day with mama, 2010
Tracksuits and toddler Chiefs pride!
Indoctrination at its finest! Bentley was a HUGE Chiefs fan!
Rock climbing Chiefs fan!
Gearing up for a pre-season game against the Panthers!
My favorite jersey of all time!
A gift from Uncle Josh in our first year in North Carolina!
Watching the Chiefs play the Patriots in Washington DC with friends in 2019.
We were #10 for awhile in preschool.
The only Chiefs’ fan doing a prowl!
Chiefs were served a crummy loss at Arrowhead this day.
Super Bowl prepping
He knew what I needed for game day
They ordered me wings, and donned their brightest red
We won! Finally!

Trivia Night, but Not Really

Jackson, Jerimiah, and I went to Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday night for Trivia Night. It’d been years since we last did it with friends in Charlotte, and we knew it was fun, so we kept meaning to go (the MM is like a mile from our house), but never made it a priority. We also weren’t sure if Jackson would like it or not, turns out yes, he does, and he even answered a couple of the questions himself. One of them was about The Office, which y’all know he loves, the question was: What is the primary crop that Dwight Schrute grows on his farm? Jackson freaked out and scribbled down: BEETS! The second one he got right was: Whose home, known as Mount Vernon, was neutral territory during the Civil War? “We’ve been there!” we all yelled, and he jotted down George Washington.

The questions got harder and harder with each section, but we didn’t too bad for our first time. There were 15 teams and we took 8th place, and mind you there were whole teams of people. Like two groups of 10 people who meet there every Tuesday night, and it was the three of us, so we were pretty happy with our results, and the wings, and the beer, and we’ve already recruited friends to go back another night. But that’s not what this post is about, cause that’s not how I operate. The Mount Vernon question reminded me that I haven’t shared some of the travels we have been on over the last few years, and I thought I would go back and do that now, starting with Mount Vernon. So please, enjoy. Or stop reading now, cause a whole buncha history gonna be thrown at ya!

I think one of the reasons I forgot about the visit to Mount Vernon was because it was on the heels of our trip to the Women’s March last year and that took precedence. But this is how we travel. If we go somewhere to visit, and there is something sorta cool and it’s relatively close, and we have an extra five hours or so, we stop in. That’s what we did with Mount Vernon. It was the day we left DC with our friend Beth and her daughter Morgan riding back to Charlotte with us, and someone said, “Hey Mount Vernon is just like, I dunno, somewhere over there.” And that’s all it took.

Mount Vernon was just somewhere over there in Mount Vernon, Virginia about 40 minutes south of DC. Mount Vernon, in case you don’t know, is the estate of our first president, George Washington. And it’s pretty cool, as far as old estates owned by rich, *Slave-owning, white men go. I mean, it wasn’t totally awesome, but it wasn’t a shithole either. And any way you slice it, a lot of history happened there, good and bad, so you know, we went with it. But before I show you the pics you should know it was January in DC, it was the week of the government shutdown, and we were all a little tired from having marched our asses off for women’s rights, so there was already a little skepticism about any white males, particularly ones with power.

Blisteringly cold day at Mount Vernon
Much warmer inside, but alas, we had to go back outside

Mount Vernon is situated on the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia (where my ancestors were first recorded on census, for real). It’s near Alexandria and across from Prince George’s County, Maryland. George Washington’s great-grandfather owned the land and a small house as far back as 1674, and our dear, old GW didn’t become the sole owner until almost 100 years later. Of course there are expansive grounds, including gardens, barns, a dock on the river, and the Slave Quarters, which are all open to tour if you are so inclined, and have the time. We did, so we made our way around most of what was accessible to tourists, including a tour of inside the house (no photography allowed) and the Slave Cemetery where you know, they’re trying, and the tombs of both GW and his Slave-owning, hella racist, bitch wife Martha. Ahem.

The house was what you would expect, as well as the Slave Quarters. It’s said that he treated his Slaves better than was expected, but, nah, I don’t buy it. Although his wife Martha sounded like a real piece-of-shit. Maybe he was nicer than she was. I dunno.

The kids liked to see the animals, and I liked walking along the shore of the river, and taking in all the architecture, even though again, hella cold.

I liked the animals too. Did I mention it was cold?

The best part of the whole thing was honestly the inside stuff, and not just because we were fucking cold. So cold that, yeah, that’s my son’s Harry Potter scarf I took off of him and told him to run around and he’d heat up. The inside has the museums. One is dedicated to GW and his life, including as a general and a president, and the other is dedicated to the Slaves at Mount Vernon. It is called Lives Bound Together and it was actually really interesting, educational, and infuriating, which I think is what a museum dedicated to Slaves needs to be.

I’m not going to share pics from inside there, because I think it’s just something you need to go see for yourself, and I don’t think I took very many. I was so engrossed in their stories. This part was my favorite. And I would like to point out, that after struggles with lawyers, Washington dying, and debates with his bitch-ass wife and her bitch-ass dead first husband’s estate, several shitty kids and grandkids, and some cousins on the Washington side finally, on January 1, 1801, all the Slaves on Mount Vernon were freed. So there’s that.

If you’re wondering why I’m all caught up with the Slavery at Mount Vernon, it’s because I was legit shocked at it. It’s like I didn’t pay attention to what my history teachers said, or they all loved GW and pretended like it was all cool beans over at the little ‘ol Washington farm. Uh no. And while we’re at it, there’s no damn cherry tree, and no, it’s not because he chopped it down, it’s more likely that Martha sold it out from under him, to wrangle up some cash to buy more Slaves. SMH.

But you know what there IS? His dentures made of wood! (GASP!)

Not what you were expecting huh? Me neither. So much that I wasn’t expecting.

So there you have it. This was a shitty review of Mount Vernon, I get that, but it was an interesting time, it really was. And I’m glad we went, and as usual I’m happy about who we went with, and what it taught the kids, and me. And oh, I almost forgot, there was this really creepy giant head thing when you first walk in. And his eyes follow you. So yeah, good luck sleeping tonight.

Thanks for reading about one of our many adventures, I have more on deck so don’t go anywhere. In the meantime, enjoy some more pics of Mount Vernon, and if you’re ever in the area, stop on by, you probably, most likely, won’t regret it.

M.

He just needs to run around, he be fine

*I used the word Slave rather than Servant or Enslaved Individual because I think that makes the whole Slavery situation sound like a fancy thing, when really it was a crock of shit and GW was way part of it. And as I may have mentioned before, so was his bitch of a wife, Martha. You guys I think I hate Martha.