I went to George Washington’s Mount Vernon yesterday and eventually I’ll get around to a post about the house and grounds. But I’d like to spend this last evening of 2012 on Aladdin, the Christmas Camel.
In December of 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to a man “who brot a Camel from Alexa. for a show.” Washington was interested in animals of all types and apparently hired the camel as a treat for his Christmas guests.
The Mount Vernon Ladies Association — they who now own and run George Washington’s 18th century estate — commemorates the event by bringing Aladdin the camel to stay at Mount Vernon each Christmas season. The rest of the year, Aladdin resides on a farm in Berryville, Virginia.
Having lived in Niger, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, I know camels. And all the ones I’ve known have been nasty, biting, spitting beasties. Not Aladdin. He’s got to be the sweetest camel in existance. He nudged people for scratches. He sucked on hands. He licked ears. He was an oversized golden retriever with hooves and a hump.
Also on display for the season: Cobbler and Gobbler, the Thanksgiving turkeys who were pardoned by President Obama this year. I don’t know which is which. After the holidays, they’ll go to Mount Vernon’s private farm area, where they’ll join last year’s Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Peace, in living out their lives stuffing-free.
Mount Vernon celebrates the traditional twelve days of Christmas, so their holiday festivities go until Epiphany (January 6).
The History Tourist has been going since April and I’ve had an amazing time doing it. So thank you for a terrific 2012. Have a safe New Years Eve and I hope to see you back here next year!