By Nick Bridwell, American Writer
USA! USA! Happy Independence Day, Saddlebackers! Today, we’re rolling out our brand new Saddleback Leather US Constitution Booklet! This bad boy is Made in the USA and it is perfect for a little bit of patriotism in your pocket. To celebrate, here are 5 Fun Presidential Facts:
1. “Four Score and Seven Beers Ago…”
The President of the United States if a pretty serious gig, so it’s nice to know our former leaders could cut loose once in awhile. Washington owned a whiskey distillery and Jefferson brewed his own beer. But, Abraham Lincoln is the only US President to have owned a License to Bartend. Before he won the Presidency, Lincoln co-owned a tavern in New Salem, Illinois called Berry and Lincoln. The liquor business was a bit seedy, so he searched for a more pure-as-the-driven-snow occupation and chose politics. More on this here.
2. Patriots to the End (and the Beginning)
Three of our US Presidents were such awesome patriots that they actually waited to die until the 4th of July. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died within two hours of one another on July 4th, 1826. That’s 50 years, to the day, after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. President James Monroe died a few years later in 1831. Only one president was actually BORN on the 4th of July. That honor goes to Calvin Coolidge, who was born on July 4th, 1872 in Plymouth, Vermont. Talk about an eagle of an omen!
3. Two Turkey Days?
Picture this: It’s Independence Day t-shirt shopping time and you find aisle after aisle of red, white, and blue turkey tees. Here’s one featuring the turkey with Old Glory wrapped around his shoulder like a cape. There’s one with the a goofy turkey perched upon lap of Lincoln like a housecat. Sounds pretty far-off, right? If Ben Franklin had won the debate over our nation’s symbol, the eagle would have gone the way of the dodo and we’d all be basking in the glory of the turkey. Ben said, “For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” Read more about that here.
4. Patriot by Design
Andrew Johnson, who ascended from VP to President when Lincoln was assassinated, was a man of sartorial substance. For most of his life, and even through his presidency, he insisted on designing and constructing his own suits. This makes Andrew Johnson the only known tailor to hold the office and the closest thing the US Presidency has had to our own Dave Munson.
5. Just a Big Old Teddy Bear
Ever wonder why we call stuffed bears “Teddy Bears”? In 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt went on a Mississippi hunting trip with Governor Andrew H. Longino. The group hunted for three days without a single kill. On the 4th day, the hunting guide’s dogs cornered a very old black bear and attacked. The guide tied the bear to a tree and Longino invited the President to take the kill shot. Roosevelt refused, however, because the bound bear was not an honorable kill. He did allow the guide to put the bear down as the hounds had injured him. Word got back to the press about the President’s mercy and pretty soon stuffed Teddy Bears started flying off the shelves. Check out more about that story here.
That’s it for now! Have a safe Independence Day. Be happy that you get to rock a bald eagle on that t-shirt your wife is making you wear for the family photo… instead of a fat turkey.
Nick Bridwell is the author of the novel The Ties That Bind and a regular contributor to the Saddleback Blog and Plano Magazine.