Honest Abe

Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 10:27 am
By: Doug Lund
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Does anybody else find it astounding how much money companies like Progressive, and Geico spend on advertising?

I looked it up and it’s close to a BILLION dollars a year each.

In fact, I’ve seen three insurance spots for Progressive in the last half hour. They’re everywhere on every channel; running so often that I hear Flo’s voice more often than Linda’s.

As for Geico’s various campaigns to win your insurance dollar I’ve never understood the talking stack of money bit but found the cavemen and the gecko mildly amusing. But the latest one featuring Honest Abe Lincoln being asked by Mary Todd if the dress she’s wearing makes her backside look big is just hilarious.  Haven’t seen it yet? CLICK HERE.

Like millions of Americans, I believe that Abe Lincoln was our greatest president. There is much to be admired about him; not the least of which is his ability to summon up the strength to function, make critical decisions and maintain a sense of humor despite the personal tragedies he endured during his lifetime; especially the deaths of two sons; Eddy at age four and 12 year old Willie. (Son, Thomas “Tad” Lincoln died too but several year’s after the assassination.)

This Lincoln family portrait was made shortly after they moved into the White House

This Lincoln family portrait was made shortly after they moved into the White House

I was delighted that one of the routes we’d chosen for our trip down South last month passed right through Springfield, Illinois where the Lincolns lived and their four sons were born. I’ve seen many documentaries on the house that they called home from 1843 to 1861..but there’s nothing like experiencing the place in person.

The Lincolns moved into this house in 1843 and left after the presidential election of 1860 never to return..at least not alive.

The Lincolns moved into this house in 1843 and left after the presidential election of 1860 never to return..at least not alive.

One of the conditions Robert Lincoln insisted upon after donating the house to the city was that it be well maintained and the public would never be charged to see it. There have been several restorations over the years and it's still free to see.

One of the conditions Robert Lincoln insisted upon after donating the house to the city was that it be well maintained and the public would never be charged to see it. There have been several restorations over the years and it's still free to see.

Many of the furnishings are original. Lincoln's bed, however, is a period repleca. How could anybody sleep with all that loud wallpaper? But it was high fashion in the mid 19th century and this is exactly what they had in the house.

Many of the furnishings are original. Lincoln's bed, however, is a period repleca. How could anybody sleep with all that loud wallpaper? But it was high fashion in the mid 19th century and this is exactly what they had in the house.

According to our tour guide, that's one of Abe's stovepipe hats hanging in the hallway.

According to our tour guide, that's one of Abe's stovepipe hats hanging in the hallway.

This is Mr. Lincoln's original writing desk and chair. Think about all the hours he spent right there.

This is Mr. Lincoln's original writing desk and chair. Think about all the hours he spent right there.

Willie and Tad shared a room. Those marbles along with a few other toys were found during an excavation of the back yard. It's believed they belonged to the Lincoln boys.

Willie and Tad shared a room. Those marbles along with a few other toys were found during an excavation of the back yard. It's believed they belonged to the Lincoln boys.

Abe and Mary obviously got together on occasion but maintained seperate bedrooms. Of course I had to take a picture of Mary's bedside toilet. We were told that the live-in maid emptied the chamber pot each morning and that Abe used the biffy outside..which, by the way, is a three holer.

Abe and Mary obviously got together on occasion but maintained seperate bedrooms. Of course I had to take a picture of Mary's bedside toilet. We were told that the live-in maid emptied the chamber pot each morning and that Abe used the biffy outside..which, by the way, is a three holer.

Just a short drive from the Lincoln home is Oak Ridge Cemetery, the final resting place of the President, Mary Todd, Eddie, Willie and Tad. Robert, the only son who lived to a ripe old age, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery at the insistence of his mother, Mary. But that’s another story.

The tomb is most impressive and includes a large bronze of Lincoln created by Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum.

The tomb is most impressive and includes a large bronze of Lincoln created by Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum.

It is a place of reverance but obviously, from the shine on Lincoln's nose, visitors like Joanie and Linda are not discouraged from giving it a rub.

It is a place of reverance but obviously, from the shine on Lincoln's nose, visitors like Joanie and Linda are not discouraged from giving it a rub.

I have to confess that upon arriving into the inner sanctum of the tomb to where Lincoln's remains are buried under tons of concrete, I choked up a little.

I have to confess that upon arriving into the inner sanctum of the tomb to where Lincoln's remains are buried under tons of concrete, I choked up a little.

If you’re ever in the Neighborhood of Springfield, Illinois, don’t miss the opportunity to visit these historical sites.

Speaking of opportunities, an old tradition continues this Sunday at our little country church, Springdale Lutheran. The annual ice cream social, which includes a plethora of home made pies, begins at 4:30 pm and runs until everybody has ice cream headaches..or around 7pm. Springdale is located about a mile North of Spring Creek Golf Course. Linda and I will be pouring the beverages.

4 Comments

  1. grouse says:

    The spot above Lincoln’s fireplace would be perfect for a 60-inch Hi-Def, 3-D television. The old boy would have loved it four score times seven.

  2. grouse says:

    It’s probably a very good thing that it was just a bust of Lincoln’s head on display, and not a full body statue. After your photo, I’m not sure Sioux Falls’ statue of David or in a pinch, the T. Denny Sanford statue in front of Sioux Valley Hospital will ever be the same. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “in a pinch”.

  3. Dale says:

    Nice story. I must have missed something while gone. Does Steve still write?

  4. GMAX9 says:

    Thanks for sharing. Lincoln has always been a hero of mine and the odds are good I’ll never make it to Springfield, IL, so will have to share your pictures. In fact, I enjoy all the pictures you and Steve share of your travels. You go such diverse places and take the time to stop and do the tourist thing so you keep things interesting. Hope you both keep traveling and keep sharing for many years to come.

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