It’s Not Just About Enjoying “Downton Abbey”

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The other day, we had a vital Amazon delivery:

[Photo by me, 2016.]
[Photo by me, 2016.]

It arrived while I had been doing bits of work around the house. My London-born wife was out. That’s one of her preferred teas here in the U.S.

Later that same day, she joined me in watching a DVD she’d bought me for Christmas: A&E’s film from some years ago, The Crossing. (While we’re here, I have been taking a breather from working on the new novel.) It stars Jeff Daniels as George Washington, leading his ragtag newly independent U.S. army across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania on December 25, 1776, to attack German soldiers the British high command – which did not view “the U.S.” as independent, of course – had stationed at Trenton, New Jersey. It’s a story that we – Americans in particular – all think we know. Perhaps we even believe we know it too well.

Yet there is much about it we may not know. For example, I noted to her how Rhode Islander Nathaniel Greene, one of Washington’s generals, and a man little known today, would become his second-in-command throughout the rest of the war. Our Greene County, New York – where we have our house – is named after him.

[Photo by me, 2016.]
[Photo by me, 2016.]

Anglo-American closeness as it has evolved since U.S. independence, and especially since 1940, is something we take for granted now. It has been famously labeled “a special relationship.” Yet it is, in fact, now a deeper and more mature relationship than ever before.

Case in point: it is especially amusing now when we jointly look back on the American Revolution. (Or the War of American Independence, depending on your point of view, of course. πŸ˜‰ ) We are all able to reflect on a once fractious, bitter, and sometimes quite bloody, history and do so in a detached manner. Thankfully we long ago stopped seeing it as a living feud to continue to fight out in a present.

How rare that is in the world. We sit here, almost 250 years later, not just as national allies, but as commonplace personal friends, and husbands and wives (or we would love to be husbands and wives), and – most importantly – think nothing of it. It is astounding, really. πŸ™‚


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