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Fredericksburg, Virginia

It's not as convenient to Washington, D.C., as my former home McLean, but my corner of Spotsylvania County is worth the drive.

History abounds in and around my small town on the Rappahannock River. George Washington's boyhood home, Ferry Farm, lies across the river in Stafford County. Here, according to fable, Washington cut down his father's cherry tree.

The lovely house and garden that he bought for his mother, Mary Ball Washington, still stand in downtown Fredericksburg, as does the beautiful plantation home of his sister Betty, and her husband Colonel Fielding Lewis. Spectacular original ornamental plasterwork in this 1770s classic colonial alone is worth a visit.

The area is notable for Revolution-era history, but it is more widely known for its Civil War battlefields. Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania Court House, Chancellorsville, and the Wilderness were the sites of some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Fredericksburg is part of Spotsylvania County, named for Alexander Spotswood,
a successful businessman and one of the ablest colonial governors.

For the freedom you enjoyed yesterday...
Thank the Veterans who served in
The United States Armed Forces.

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Welcome Troops, Veterans, Military Families, Allies, and FRiends!
This is the final 2005 edition of Pancakes. Not to worry!
The Canteen will be serving up plenty of Pancakes in the new year.
Be sure to join us for new chefs with fresh and exciting recipes.
No waffles Tomkow!

Born on this Day

1856 Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President (1913-21). Woodrow Wilson, nicknamed the "schoolmaster in politics," is chiefly remembered for his high-minded idealism, which appeared both in his leadership on the faculty and in the presidency of Princeton University, and in his national and world statesmanship during and after World War I.

Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia and he grew up in Georgia and South Carolina during the suffering of the Civil War and its aftermath. He was also deeply influenced by the Presbyterianism of his father, a minister and college teacher.

The world would look to America and Wilson's leadership to resolve the First World War. Wilson's Fourteen Points Address of 1918 called for a peace of reconciliation, based on democracy, self-determination, without annexations and indemnities, and a postwar League of Nations. The Paris Peace Conference in 1919 concluded with the signing of the Versailles Treaty with Germany, but a new Republican Congress at home was not in agreement with the peace negotiated under Wilson, particularly with the League of Nations and collective security aspects. Ultimately, a separate peace was negotiated between the United States and Germany. Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize, and heralded in Europe as a savior of peace.

Exhausted from his vigorous efforts toward ratification of the Versailles Treaty, traveling 8,000 miles by rail around the country, Wilson suffered a serious stroke and would never fully recover. With the aid of wife Edith, Wilson's inner circle hid the extent of his disability from the public and most government officials. At the end of his second term, Wilson retired to Washington, D.C., where he passed away in 1924.

In last week's edition of birthdays, the chef referred to Revolutionary War hero Robert Barnwell as "Beaufort," neglecting to explain that Beaufort was the birthplace and nickname of this patriot. The chef apologizes for the confusion, and takes full responsibility for any indigestion that may have occurred as a result.

Happy Birthday
1954 Denzel Washington, actor born in Mount Vernon, New York. Denzel enrolled at Fordham University intent on a career in journalism, but upon graduation, he headed for Hollywood where he became a leading man in both television and film. His credits include "St. Elsewhere," Philadelphia, and Antwone Fisher. Denzel won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Glory, and the Oscar for Best Actor for Training Day.

Recipe for a Happy New Year

To leave the old with a burst of song
To recall the right and forgive the wrong;
To forget the thing that binds you fast
To the vain regrets of the year that's past;
To have the strength to let go your hold
Of the not worthwhile of the days grown old,
To dare to go forth with a purpose true,
To the unknown task of the year that's new;
To help your brother along the road
To do his work and lift his load;
To add your gift to the world's good cheer,
Is to have and to give a Happy New Year.

On this Day in History

1065 Westminster Abbey in London was consecrated. The King Of England, Edward the Confessor, was urged by the Pope to build the Abbey to redeem himself for failing to keep a vow to go on a pilgrimage. Westminster is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs.

Although the Abbey was seized by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1534, and closed in 1540, becoming a cathedral until 1550, its royal connections saved it from the destruction wrought on most other English abbeys. The expression "robbing Peter to pay Paul" may arise from this period when money meant for the Abbey, which was dedicated to St Peter, was diverted to the treasury of St Paul's Cathedral.

On this Day in History

1832 John C. Calhoun became the first Vice President to resign. Nicknamed the "cast-iron man" for his staunch determination to defend the causes in which he believed, Calhoun pushed the theory of nullification, an extreme states' rights view under which states could declare null and void any federal law they deemed to be unconstitutional.

Calhoun's legacy ties him to the South Carolina-led Southern rebellion against the federal government, but he spent his entire career working for that government in a variety of high offices in Washington, DC. Calhoun served as Vice President of the United States first under John Quincy Adams (1825-29) and then under Andrew Jackson (1829-32), but resigned the Vice Presidency to enter the United States Senate, where he had more power. He also served in the United States House of Representatives (1810-17) and was both Secretary of War (1817-24) and Secretary of State (1844-45).

On this Day in History

In 1849, it is said that dry-cleaning was accidentally discovered when M. Jolly-Bellin, a tailor, upset a lamp containing turpentine oil on his tablecloth and noticed it had a cleaning effect. He opened the very first dry cleaning shop called "Teinturerie Jolly Bellin" on rue Saint Martin in Paris in 1825. Another story says that by accident the owner of a textile dye works in 1848 found that the liquid from an oil lamp could dissolve fat. While different stories reportedly tell of drycleaning's origin, one thing in common is that fabric was accidentally saturated with a volatile liquid and, by surprise, the material appeared clean after it dried. One such tale tells of a French sailor who fell into a vat of turpentine. When his soiled uniform dried, it was clean.

This Week in Sports

The Chicago Bears locked up the NFC North division title and they are headed to the playoffs!

In a related story, police were called to a house in Oregon when neighbors reported hearing strange noises immediately following the Bears' victory. The authorities would not release any names, but they reported finding "Da Bears' number one fan" singing and dancing to "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

Field Trip
~ All Creatures Great and Small ~
a photo essay of presidential pets at the White House

Don't forget the syrup!
Pancakes Wednesday with the Troops --