Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busting his chops

Say cheese!
We busted a few myths when we were in Washington D.C.
Like, the Cherry Blossom Festival lasts for the first two weeks in April. (By the time we were there on April 8, there was one tree with blossoms still hanging on to it.)
And the weather's pretty nice. (It was super rainy the whole time.)
But most importantly, we discovered that Washington's teeth were not wooden.
In fact, he had teeth made of a number of things, none of them wood.
He had some human teeth replacements, some of ivory, some donkey, some horse and some hippopotamus teeth, held together by gold springs.
He had one set made of teeth from some of his Mt. Vernon slaves. (Yes, Washington owned slaves, mostly inherited from his wife but he did own slaves even while he was lobbying against the practice of slavery.)
He spent a good deal of his time hunting for good dentures and was pretty miserable most of his days.
That's why he doesn't smile in any of his photographs and/or paintings.
If you notice, he isn't smiling on the one dollar bill.
He holds his mouth in a tight line.
The poor man was in a fair amount of pain. He lost his first adult tooth when he was 22 and had just one of his original teeth left by the time he became the nation's first president.
In one of the Smithsonian museums, there's a whole exhibit dedicated just to Washington's dental troubles.
I think it's admirable that he was able to conduct himself with dignity every day. Nothing wears you down like mouth pain.
I have increased admiration for the man.
I had no idea and by the way, we never found the cherry tree he chopped down, either.

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