Washington's Wine Wisdom (George's, That Is)

When you’re the President of the United States of America, priorities are a big deal. You simply don’t have the time to deal with minutiae.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have American troops involved in two wars, that the U.S. economy has gone south, that unemployment is in double digits in many states, and that your party is facing the possibility of losing its majority in the Senate. If a President were to have all of those issues on his White House plate, he probably wouldn’t have much time to work on his bowling game on the White House lanes.

Yet history shows that America’s greatest leaders have been masters of juggling their political lives and their personal lives, and in finding time to assure that the things that really matter to them – apart from the issues that really matter to the country – are addressed.

Take America’s first President, George Washington, as an example.

When he was still a General, and while he was preparing to defend New York against an imminent attack from the British a month after the Declaration of Independence was issued, Washington found time to place an order for supplies that he felt would be needed in the violent months ahead.

As a General, Washington was required not only to plot strategies and lead men into battle, but also to make sure that his top officers and guests weren’t forced to eat table scraps.

So, on August 7, 1776, General Washington wrote out an order that included “2 cheeses – old, 1 box Ratafia, 1 basket Cordials, 1 box Muscat wine, 1 Cag. Brandy and 1 box Claret.

Ratafia was a cordial flavored with almonds or fruit kernels, and it’s believed that a “Cag.” was a keg. We don’t need to tell you about Muscat, Brandy or Claret.”

Looming bloody battle or not, General Washington had his priorities in order, and the message was clear: Man cannot survive without wine… and some old cheese.

No wonder he went on to become the first President of the United States, and still one of the most revered.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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