Day 51: Lancelot Lafayette
Waking up early the other day, I made the mistake of scrolling, almost by instinct, through my Facebook feed. I'm not sure why. I knew I wouldn't see anything pleasant. There hasn't been much pleasant to see lately, but something just drew me there. I suppose it's the need to feel connected when we are secluded from society at the moment. The first thing I saw, was an old acquaintance waving a dual American-Trump flag, during a gathering in protest of the stay-at-home orders implemented by the government. I was confused, curious, and a bit disgusted. It was my understanding, we were staying at home for the sake of public safety.
Waving the flag of the very nation you're protesting would be liken to patriots during the American Revolution waving the Union Jack. It didn't make any sense. I realized then, in my half-awake state, none of us are safe from toxic displays of nationalism. This made my heart hurt, but I somehow felt sorry for these people. Ignorance is a pretty terrible disease.
Hello again thirsty readers, and welcome to day 51. It's so easy for everyone to forget there's a whole world out there. The world is so big, yet we are all so small. Some of us choose to surround ourselves with diversity and other cultures, while others are perfectly content in their bubbles. I wonder how the reception is in there? They obviously don't see past their own false sense of "me," and that makes me sad. Being proud of where you're from is one thing, but it seems as though everyone forgot how we got here in the first place. Without help from others, there would have never even been a United States, and certainly not a local state or community, for them to be so fanatical about. I guess history class was hard for them. Is it maybe time for a refresher?
A crowd of 80,000 people gathered in New York harbor, cheering and anticipating the arrival of one particular ship. This wasn't the 1960s, and they weren't waiting for The Beatles. The year was 1824, and the ship in question was carrying the Marquis de Lafayette, perhaps one of the first major "celebrities" for this new nation of ours. After helping America secure their independence, he was given a serious rock star welcome.
In 1777, at just nineteen years old, Lafayette set sail from France, with his head full of the ideals of liberty, equality, and above all else, revenge against the British. Lafayette's own father had been killed by the British during the Seven Years War. Little did the young patriot know, he would be instrumental to the revolution he was so eager to join.
All ready a commissioned Major General, Lafayette even funded his own voyage to help the American Colonists. Commanding American troops in several battles, he brought support from France, both in troops and finances. Though the French interest in the war, guaranteeing a weaker British Empire, was obvious for Lafayette, it's said he was mostly compelled by the idea of a free people fighting for liberty. Unlike most of the French officers, Lafayette even served the Continental Army without pay.
Lafayette was further immortalized in, Broadway's 2015 smash hit, Hamilton. Here, Lafayette is referred to as the "Lancelot" of the Revolution. The connections might be subtle, but they're actually a bit obvious when you think about them. In Arthurian Legend, Sir Lancelot came from France to help King Arthur, believing in what he stood for. The relationship between Lancelot and Arthur can be compared to that of Lafayette and Washington. He "came from afar," risking his life to help achieve victory in battle. Joining an under-funded, under-trained group of rebels against the most powerful empire in the world took a lot of courage.
We owe a great debt to our first knight. Without the support of France, its unlikely our young nation would have been able to achieve independence. Many of us tend to live in this cloud of self importance where we think we are so good, and everyone else is so bad. We continue to help other nations, just as other nations once helped us to do the same. If we don't work today as citizens of the world, there might not even be a world left for us. I only wish everyone else would remember this.
1oz Cognac (I used Martell VSOP, but any Cognac with a moderate amount of aging should work fine)
1oz Ruby Port
.25oz Creme de Cacao
.25oz Strawberry Shrub
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Double Old Fashioned Glass
Stir and strain into chilled glass, sazerac style.
Express and discard lemon peel.
Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
True, there is a bit of a dessert nature to this drink. I thought we could all use something sweet, when the world is so bitter. I promise we can go back to tropical vibes and good times tomorrow. I just needed to get some of this out. Please try to stay home, and stay safe everyone. Try not to let things get to you too much and keep shaking.