The Kingdom hath come for George
Thinking about our first President on a Winter Day
By James A. George
On a cold, blustery, snowy winter day in Northern Virginia, December 13, 1799, a farmer plantation owner took a horseback ride to survey his estate comprising no fewer than five farmsteads. The rider was wrapped in a coat of thick rawhide, covering layers of long underwear, shirt, and sweater. He had a fine knit scarf and wore a hat with brim so he could guide his horse through the accumulating snow. The circuit would be some 50 miles that he would undertake in a day, from early morning to dusk or even dark.
He stopped at each location to meet with the workers in charge there. He asked about their issues and needs before moving on. He sometimes left instructions about what to do when the snow clears – things need repairing, fences need fixing, hay should be put under cover.
While he rode, his mind was at work as it always has been. He may have thought about all of the snowy travel he has undertaken, usually during time of war. He would have to spend days and nights camped in tents under these circumstances and responsibility wasn’t just for himself. He had troops to feed and logistics to ponder while keeping vigilance for the enemy and strategizing his next fight.
Now, the fights for this seasoned warrior are behind him. He once surveyed wilderness that has now been tamed, where people have settled. He had a dream about navigation, about building canals to connect rivers to provide transportation for people to move west. He did that and it was accomplished.
He knows his wife, Martha, is waiting for him tonight by the fire. He has a sniffle and feels a cold coming on, but he must complete the round before sipping hot soup and retiring to a comfortable bed, piled high with blankets. He coughs a bit, and keeps his head low as the snow pelts his nose and forehead.
Finally, he comes up the road to the main house, Mount Vernon, and he sees a faint light in the window. He is greeted by a workman who reaches for the reins of his horse. A weary George Washington nearly stumbles from the saddle from the grueling trip. He is very tired, though proud, and walks to the door as briskly as he can.
Inside he sheds his layers as a maid is there to help and Martha welcomes him home.
“I was worried, George, the weather is so bad. Are you alright,” she may ask?
“I am chilled to the bone and am afraid I have a fever. Better get the doctor,” he may have replied.
He changed into his pajamas and tried sipping hot tea after he fell onto the bed.
Martha was concerned and stayed with him. The doctor arrived in the late night.
Moving with great confidence, the doctor proceeded to administer “modern medicine” including giving poor George a bleeding.
George became weaker as a result of what we now know was bad medicine.
He was delirious and mumbled something about removing stumps from the lawn. He held onto Martha’s hand and soon his grip was no more.
People wanted to bestow upon him more than Father of the Country status; some saw him as the King. He rejected that notion though now, at this moment, the Kingdom hath come for George. He was 67 years of age.