Thursday, February 12, 2009

Celebrating Lincoln's 200th Birthday

Last night we began the birthday festivities early by going to a Lincoln as Leader lecture at Loyola U by Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I'm leery of authors who have glitzy websites, but she turned out to be a down-to-earth and fascinating speaker - maybe just like Lincoln. She had all my attention for the 45 minutes she spoke - everyone else's in two auditoriums, too. (I was too late to get free tickets to the main hall where she spoke, but we were able to get in to the "satellite" auditorium where we saw her on videotron.)

Since I have been reading selected Lincoln biographies in chronological order, the early authors have all referred to Lincoln's "homespun" humor without ever giving anything but very tame examples. But Goodwin does not have to be as circumspect, so she told a hilarious example of bathroom humor that was attributed to Lincoln. To me, that was worth the talk by itself - to find out just what "homespun" really meant. Maybe Lyndon Johnson was closest to Lincoln in that respect - earthy humor from the President!

The evening's MC seemed delighted to announce the dignitaries in the audience, particularly "The governor of the State of Illinois, the Honorable Pat Quinn!"

All in all, a wonderful way to observe the occasion - especially with a post-game dinner at Bakers Square, where it turned out to be "Wild Wednesday" - free piece of pie with every order!

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