Remembering Andrew Jackson and Daddy, Too

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Year after year, Ray and I think about going to The Hermitage–home of Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States and first President to live west of the Appalachian Mountains–on January 8. The Hermitage is free every January 8 because it is the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. One time we made it on Jackson’s birthday on March 15, when it is half price. This year we made a special effort to go in January because January 8, 2015, was the 200th anniversary of the battle.

A new exhibit about Jackson’s life, “Born for a Storm,” opened. Jackson’s carriage was on display.

The Carriage of Andrew Jackson
The Carriage of Andrew Jackson

The ladies of Cincinnati gave this veil to Rachel Jackson for her to wear to her husband’s inauguration. She didn’t get to wear it because she died in December between the November election and Inauguration Day, which was then held in March.

Rachel's Veil
The name Jackson was created with beautiful stitches on this veil intended for Rachel to wear to her husband’s inauguration.

Historians came to the Hermitage last Thursday to teach us more about Jackson and the battle. Representatives of the U.S. Postal Service were there to sell first day of issue postage stamps commemorating the battle.

After seeing the new exhibit, we took a cold, brisk walk to the mansion, seen here beyond the trees that line the circular drive in front.

The Hermitage
The Hermitage

We walked by Rachel’s tomb.

Rachel's Tomb
Rachel’s Tomb

After touring the house, we spent a few cold minutes on the back porch. Guests to the new exhibit received a 15-star and 15-stripe flag, like the one flying over America in 1815.

Ray and Flag
Ray sits on the back porch with his flag.
The Backporch of Andrew Jackson
I am standing on the back porch, wearing my two-decades-old fake fur coat that only comes out when it is so cold I don’t care how I look! Two degrees the night before and low twenties during the day–that’s cold in Tennessee. Br-r-r!

Ray and I left the back porch and peeked into the pantry and the dining room. By then, it was time to leave for an evening appointment, but I had time to share a memory with Ray. I stood in the afternoon sun and looked at the base of this ancient tree . . .

Hermitage and Gainesboro and Alan and Shirley 023

. . . and thought about something Daddy told me when he and Mother took me to the Hermitage decades ago. Back then, there were horses behind some of the Hermitage’s beautiful fences. Daddy said they were the same horses that were there when Andrew Jackson lived there.

That memory gives me an extra smile when I’m at the Hermitage. Much of what sticks with children are the things that were fun, the simple joys, the things that bring a smile.

A joyful heart is good medicine.
Proverbs 17:22


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