Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lee's Fried Chicken at the Library of Virginia

I realize most people would have no interest in a brown bag lunchtime lecture, but I like them and even went when I was a worker bee. The key to enjoying such a dorky pastime is bringing the right lunch. If you're going to spend your lunch hour being enlightened, you need food that will satisfy your baser instincts, something like my lunch today: Lee's Fried Chicken. Let's just say I was the envy of every attendee within smelling distance at the Library of Virginia lecture, "Abagail Adams" by UR's Woody Holton.

Hotlon's book of the same name is a social history about a woman far ahead of her time in terms of women's roles. While her husband was dealing with the Revolution and doing diplomatic time in Europe, the savvy Abagail was reselling goods he shipped her from overseas, buying up huge hunks of Vermont and buying Continental bonds for pennies on the dollar, only to reap 25% interest until finally cashing them in at full value.

John Adams always referred to his wife as "saucy," in part because of remarks she made to him and the framers of the Declaration of Independence to, "remember the ladies!" Of course, we all know they ignored the ladies and it was all about all men being created equal. Abagail made her point even in death, leaving only token amounts to her sons and bequeathing the bulk of her financial estate to only her female relatives.

Holton's talk made it clear that it was the collaboration between Adams and Abagail that made them the most significant couple of all the Founding Fathers' relationships.

As you can probably tell, I found the lecture about a strong, long-term relationship fascinating stuff, but my spicy fried chicken, biscuit and cole slaw may have had something to do with that, too. John Adams said that Abagail never wrote a boring letter and their correspondence included over 1500 missives, which says a lot about the personality of the woman. For all we know, she might have also cooked up a mean fried chicken.

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