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Lafayette Birthday Celebration Ideas!

As presented by AFL Member Mackenzie Fowler

  1. No food is not an option. Lafayette was never one to shy away from a meal. Many of his funniest anecdotes revolve around food (the time he begged the American officers not to eat him for dinner, the time he showed up at what was to be his American HQ and started eating and his host thought him incredibly rude to start without the Marquis…who she was convinced was not him because he was too young). If you’re feeling especially accurate, include ham in your meal planning. Washington gifted Lafayette some of his Virginian ham after the Frenchman had returned to his native country and Laf was always excited to receive it. If ham’s not an option, any American food will do. The Lafayette family often served American dishes to their guests…to the disappointment of those hoping to experience a little French cuisine.
  2. Feel free to have a drink or two. Drinking was a normal aspect of 18th century dining, but Laf was no stranger to excess. Most of the time he seems to have preferred wine (especially Madeira while in America because it was available and Washington’s favorite…but it’s incredibly hard to track down).  He and his entourage drank Jefferson’s wine cellar practically dry during his 1824-1825 tour of the U.S. Laf also believed copious amounts of wine was good for his health–or, that was his excuse anyway. If you’re of legal drinking age…go for it.
  3. Dance! Laf, as we all know, had two left feet according to his acquaintances in France. But in the U.S., no one seems to have noticed! As far as I’ve read, Lafayette wasn’t bad at all in the minds of the Americans who hosted the dinners, balls, and parties he attended. In fact, a number of ladies were actually quite pleased with his performance and manners at these events. Which brings me to my next suggestion.
  4. Flirting is allowed and encouraged. Hey…you’re the one who wanted to know authentic ways to channel your inner Lafayette on his birthday. If you want to get into the spirit of things and happen to be at an acceptable social gathering, a little charm here and there with those who’ve piqued your interest will fit right into the theme. Just be respectful and remember: consent is the only acceptable course of action.
  5. Overdo your enthusiasm for America. Take a moment to be excited that America exists and be incredibly proud of her achievements. Even if you’re not American. Perhaps especially if you’re not American. Definitely pay some serious homage to George Washington. You should probably drink to the United States and give a brief speech about how much America’s success means to you. Go on. It’s essential! Do it for the aesthetic.
  6. Take a moment to appreciate your significant other. Chances are, if someone’s agreed to be a long-term part of your life, they’re pretty special. Adrienne de Lafayette was one of the most loyal women who has ever graced the planet with her presence…and Laf found out the hard way that life without her was a tragedy. Give your loved one an extra kiss for being awesome enough to stick by you through thick and thin.
  7. Stay away from boats. While Hamilton fans love depicting Lafayette heroically sailing in on a war frigate brandishing a sword like a champ, the more accurate depiction would be a very green Frenchman hanging over the side. Stay on land while you celebrate.
  8. Be friendly to everyone you meet. It’s just for one day–it won’t kill you, I promise. A little charm here and there is good for the soul…and this is Lafayette we’re talking about! This is a guy who, as a Frenchman and an American general, was excited to see an acquaintance of his from London on the British side during a prisoner exchange. If you want to get into the spirit, challenge yourself to see an opportunity for bridge-building in every introduction you encounter. Have fun.
  9. For the more adventurous among us. Favor your left leg. Find the nearest horse and become friends with it. Text a bunch of your friends and when they don’t respond in five minutes, send them three more texts about how you value their friendship and how much silence irritates you. Locate a paternal-looking older man and adopt his as your surrogate father against his will. Find a confined, cold, dark, damp space and dream about how everything will get better once you’re welcomed to America by all the people you helped. The possibilities are endless……..
  10. You’re gonna need 262 candles. That’s right! Two centuries, six decades, and two years of admirable French enthusiasm gracing our history with his legacy. Vive Lafayette!

AFL Member Libby McNamee

IS GIVING A BOOK TALK ON SEPTEMBER 22nd IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA

The Ball-Sellers House Presents Libby McNamee, author of Susanna’s Midnight Ride
Sunday, September 22 at 2:00 pm

5620 3rd Street, South, Arlington, 22204


                                                                           


Meet the author who discovered a true story of heroism during the Revolutionary War.  AFL member Libby McNamee wrote a historical novel about young Susanna’s ride to save Lafayette from the British. Her story has inspired young girls and boys everywhere.


What better place to learn about the heroism of a young girl in the Revolutionary War than the oldest house in Arlington? John and Elizabeth Ball, the builders of this house in the 1700s, had five daughters who could have been inspired by the hero of this true story.


Bring your family and a blanket or lawn chair. There will be sweet colonial era treats and beverages. Books will be available for purchase and the author will be happy to sign them.

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Le Fregate Hermione


A beautiful photo submitted by Rex Cowan, spotted off the Pointe de Raz and the Cap Sizun.

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Lafayette Shawl Pattern


Did you know that General Lafayette has a knitting pattern named after him? Special thanks to member Sarah Gillens for the find! Click here to try out the pattern yourself!

Copyright The American Friends of Lafayette 2016.

"The American Friends of Lafayette" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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