Happy Birthday, America

pocahontas_baptism2.jpgEvery day for the past week the Richmond papers have been full stories on Jamestown. I admit that until now I had a very vague idea of the importance of Jamestown in American history. Every headline begins, “Celebrating America’s 400th!
This weekend there is a huge festival at the Jamestown Settlement featuring Bruce Hornsby, Chaka Khan and everyone’s favorite President. Two days before the merriment and they still haven’t sold half the tickets. And it’s going to rain. And the music wil suck. And the president will say what every president always says at Jamestown, every fifty years on the money.

We beat the crowds out there yesterday and took a nostalgic walk in the rain. What did we see?
A lovely statue of Pocahontas looking hauntingly like the Virgin Mary (incidentally, she was baptised while in captivity).
An imposing Captain John Smith gazing out over the James River “with eagle eyes”.
A homely old church.
Some happy geese and the fragments of a few houses.
There’s not much else to see.
So unless you’re dying to see Hornsby duet with Ricky Skaggs (of pickin’ ‘n grinnin’ fame) or a 1,607-person choir sing the blues, we advise you skip the pricey ticket and stay home. Jamestown will be here when you come back. And pack a picnic.



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