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A Little-Known Historical Fact

I teach English to international students at Green River Community College, near Seattle, Washington. I live with my dog and a fantastic collection of plastic dinosaurs, which in no way indicates any lack of maturity.

“You know, Billy,” said George Washington, “When I was a young boy, my mother used to say something to me, by way of encouraging me in my childhood endeavors.”
“Is that so, Mr. President?” Billy held up the jacket for Washington.
“Now, Billy, calling me that is a bit premature,” said Washington. “The inauguration is still nearly an hour distant.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Washington.”
“But I was talking about something my mother would say to me, when I was down at heart or discouraged, to inspire me in my studies or projects.” He slipped one arm, then the other, into the jacket, and waited while Billy came around to his front to do the buttons.
He looked down at Billy’s head as the man started on the first button. “Your hair has grown gray in my service, I see.”
“Yes sir. ‘Deed it has.”
“But my mother. She used to say to me, ‘George, you work hard, and someday you could even be President of the United States.’”
Billy, who had reached the top button, froze. “She said what, sir?”
“You know, Billy,” Washington continued. “It is only today that I understand what she meant.”
Billy did the top button and Washington surveyed himself in the mirror.
Then the President-elect shook his head. “Memories overtake me at times. Will you see if my wife is ready? I believe it is time for us to go.”
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
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