Tag Archive: George Washington


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend, the husband and I did something new and different.

We took a trip without the kids.

It was necessary to do this as our niece was getting married but had to have a small wedding.

There is a lot more to the story than I can say at this time. Suffice it to say this wedding was the definition of bittersweet.

Because the wedding was not till later in the afternoon, the husband asked what I wanted to do while in the Washington D.C. Area. I had only one answer for this trip – I wanted to see Mount Vernon.

Yes, that Mount Vernon that served as the home of President George Washington.

Mount VernonSo we went, paid our money so we could walk a part of the estate and through the mansion. Because there were so many people, I felt as if we were on an assembly line. There was a cordoned path for us and the docents stayed in their rooms, talking about the rooms as we walked through. No time for questions. There were rooms we walked past too quickly to really see, it wasn’t till I was at home and on the computer that I learned one room belonged to Martha’s daughter-in-law.

What really impressed us were the grounds. The gardens to the east of Mount Vernon were incredibly beautiful as well as utilitarian. Flowers planted in a natural style formed the outer edge of a square while the inside were filled with neat rows of various vegetables. Bees happily gathered nectar and most probably took care of the vegetables as well. These edges were not simply flowers but fruit and nut trees scattered so as to not cause shadows throughout the day.

As we walked about we noticed specialty tours going on. I accidentally joined one that was about all of the gardens, not just the one we saw. That was an hour long tour. There was another special tour at 4:00 P.M. in which you could have tea with Martha Washington. And then there was the Nation Treasure: Book of Secrets tour.

National Treasure II Mt VernonThe 2007 movie has a crucial scene at Mount Vernon in which Ben Gates takes the President to some secret passages underneath Mount Vernon. His goal is to find out another piece to a secret treasure that will somehow prove his great grandfather was not a member of the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. First he has to get there and does so by the Potomac, so we get to see the sandy beach by the wharf. Then there is the party which takes place on the grounds of the mansion.

It stars Nicholas Cage as Ben Gates, Diane Kruger as he long suffering girlfriend as well as Justin Bartha as Riley. Jon Voight returns as Ben’s father and Helen Mirren joins the cast as Ben’s mother. I have only seen bits and pieces of this movie. I love the first one so much I am afraid to see the follow-up. What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?

What I love about National Treasure is the history, the walks and/or runs through historically significant sites. And when Nicholas Cage waxes poetic about the Declaration of Independance, stating that people may not talk that way but they think it, I believe him. I believe him during every part of this movie.

Could I feel the same about National Treasure: Book of Secrets? I’m not sure. But I am going to watch it so I can re-visit the plantation I recently toured.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.`

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There are several services out there that allows one to get books, read them and review them. I personally subscribe to Booksneeze which sends one book at a time that I can review in a truthful and honest manner. If I hated the book, I am free to say so.

This time around I choose 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. I enjoy biographical stories and thought this grouping would be interesting.

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Things did not go off to a good start as the author started down the road of what makes a good man in his forward. He pulled out the chestnut of how men  are being redefine and it is so difficult to know. This offends my sensibilities because being a good man should not be that difficult.

The men chosen are George Washington, William Wiberforce, Eric Liddell, Deitrich Bonhofer, Jackie Robinson, Chuck Colson and Pope John Paul 2.

Once I got into the stories of these men’s lives, the book became increasingly interesting. He details the simple things that make them great, the small actions that almost seemed to count more than the large actions. In Colson’s case, one could say he was a great man for his prison ministries. But Metaxas argues that it was his decision to repent that was the greatest action of his life.

The highest compliment I can give any book is to state if I would read it again. And I have to say I would because I thought these biographies were compelling and interesting. Once I find the book in my messy stack again, I would like to re-read the portion about Wilberforce and his fight against the slave trade or Washington’s speech that made people love him.

Now you may notice that the title says “Giveaway” in it. And the truth is I will send out this book to someone who says they want it. But first you have to place in the comment section the names of a man who has achieved a level of greatness in your eyes. I will make a random selection from there and contact the winner. But you have to hurry. You have only until June 28th to name your man of greatness. Good luck!