Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More than Texas

As I scoured the internet for material appropriate to yesterday's celebration of Texas Independence Day, I had to stop more than once and recompose myself. (recomposing one's self is much easier and more likely than decomposing one's self.)

Brief bursts of homesickness(for Texas, of course) seem to come more readily the past few months than the previous 26 years of life here in the frozen north. Perhaps it is just a longing for spring after a very cold winter.

I tell my grandchildren that I love them more than Texas. Someday they'll understand.

One year, on our annual pilgrimage back to the promised land(Texas) from the frozen north(Pennsylvania), my Dear Professor, Sons 1 and 2, the Principessa and I visited the Hermitage, the Tennessee home of Andrew Jackson. Jackson was know as the first "working class" president, and his term of office saw many controversies.

What bothered him most however, was the one that surrounded his marriage to Rachel Donelson. She had been unhappily married to her first husband, Lewis Robards, who had petitioned the Kentucky legislature for permission to sue for divorce.

"Andrew and Rachel confused the permission to sue with an actual declaration of divorce. They married in 1791, not realizing Rachel was still legally married. Robards finally sued for divorce in 1793 citing Rachel's 'adultery' with Jackson. The Jacksons remarried in 1794, but the embarrassing and often malicious gossip persisted. Rachel Jackson died a few weeks before her husband's inauguration and Jackson blamed her early death on stress caused by the public discussion of their supposed immorality during the campaign." State Library of North Carolina

In the midst of the Hermitage's beautiful garden is Jackson's tribute to his wife Rachel, and what I remember most about our visit:

Her face was fair; her person pleasing; her temper amiable; her heart kind. She delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow creatures and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods. To the poor she was a benefactor; to the rich an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament. Her piety went hand in hand with her benevolence, and she thanked her Creator for being permitted to do good. A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound, but could not dishonor, even death when he bore her from the arms of her husband, could but transport her to the bosom of her God.

I want to live my life in such a way that it would inspire a tribute like this.

And for my children and grandchildren to know that I loved them (and Jesus) more than Texas.

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