MY PENNSYLVANIA brother is sending me a document package containing newspaper clippings of detailed coverage Irish readers don't get about the Obama family taking the slow train to Washington. The final movement of Barack Obama into the nation's capital was on rails. Meant to recall the movement of the Continental Congress as it established a base in the District of Columbia, it distorted some real truths. Back in the late 1700s, politicians rode horses and some needed carriages. Most importantly, some elements of the Continental Congress decamped from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In fact, George Washington's horse slept in one of my family's out-buildings (the cladded structure at left). We used it as a warehouse for canvas marquees. Because it was listed, the local authority did not inspect its fire retardant nature. When I left Lancaster, the old horse stable had three-wire wiring powering a few naked light bulbs. Its human-powered elevator still worked. Men would lift the horses to the second story. The ground floor--still dirt in some places--was for the blacksmith and groomers.
Should the Obama family wish to relive the horseback experience of a true First Famiy, there are few places as good as the boreens and townland trails of Ireland. Some researchers place the ancestral home of the Obama family in Cashel where I hold the title of "Token American". ("Let him be.") Horses trot by the outside of my home in County Tipperary several times a month. My front garden has fresh hoof prints that today's sunshine will thaw back into a grassy clump. And unlike George Washington's stable hands in Lancaster where he slept, the Cashel stable is crewed by personnel with a Top Secret clearance. And there's always a pint of Guinness waiting just behind the door.
Bonus Link: My photos of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Sent mail2blog using O2-EDGE Typepad service in County Tipperary, Ireland.