Fredericksburg Lodge, Virginia
There is a lot about the Father of our Country that we may never know, because there were few people in whom George Washington truly confided. There is little doubt that his wife Martha knew him well, and there is little doubt that the things that his friend Lafayette could tell us about the General of the Revolution that might reshape the way we view him today. Historians can only guess using the little pieces of personal correspondence they have about the most important man in our short history of America.
George was careful about who he considered a friend, and we can only speculate about the things he might have shared with those close friends, because he was good at selecting them, and they kept those confidences he may have shared with them well. We're left to fill in the blanks with what we have, and most of what we know and accept is probably wrong.
George Washington wasn't a statue, or a portrait--he was a flesh and blood man. He liked to play cards, he liked to drink a little too. He walked this earth for 67 years, and while we know everything he did, and for the most part, why he did them, we know little about what he thought about any of them. We have a few, very few, personal insights into the real man, because those he truly trusted never shared. There's not one story about George Washington getting drunk, and acting stupidly.
It's wasn't like it is today. Americans today share everything with everyone. Most of us don't even know some of our Facebook friends, so anybody can find out our favorite color, who we're dating, the last book we enjoyed, where we went to high school, who our friends were, the music we like, and the things that piss us off.
We're so modern now, but are we better off? Have we gained something through this access into our personal lives, or have we lost something?
I tend to think we've lost something. That intimacy of true friendship that comes from face-to-face contact. If you died tomorrow, how many of your 1,057 Facebook "friends" will come to your funeral? I'll tell you who, the three you knew back in high school--the ones that truly knew you back before the internet. Maybe the four that send you a birthday card--in the mail. Your Lodge Brothers will all be there too--those guys that know as brave as you are to your Facebook friends, a thank you letter read by your lodge Secretary can bring you to tears. Those are your friends.