July 2007

I like to share fun facts from the places I’ve visited, but I’ve been to Nags Head every summer that I can remember so I don’t always pick up facts. I more or less just attach myself onto something cool and wait for food to be ready to eat. However this year I did learn a thing or two.

Now, for OBX fun facts:

1. Chris Elliot (“Get A Life,” cameo on every sitcom ever, Letterman staple) was once in the cast of “The Lost Colony” (long-running outdoor drama about the first colony in America’s disappearance). So was Carl Kasell (from NPR) and Andy Griffith. I remember “The Lost Colony” being sort of boring but my associate and I are coming up with the movie adaptation that tells what really happened to the Lost Colony. I won’t reprint any of our brilliant ideas because you will steal them.

2. I actually forgot everything else I learned. Something about oyster shells being used as barrier reefs.

3. Me telling Dad about the Chris Elliot news.

Me: Guess who was in “Lost Colony?”
Dad: Uh . . .
Me: He’s one of your favorite people.
Dad: Er . . .
Me: Chris Elliot.
Dad: I was going to say that because you said one of my favorite people.

4. After trying to impress Richard with my limited knowledge of birds, it turns out this little bastard isn’t called anything fancy but is a red winged black bird.

I thought it was called a scarlet tanager or a crimson fannipak. I’m not so good with bird names (though I have successfully gotten my mother to use “sparkling crappy” instead of grackle). We didn’t take this picture.

5. Hush puppies are delicious.

My associate and I travelled to Montpelier, Virginia, home to the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, and his dish of a wife, Dolley Madison.

Here are some fun facts about the Madisons:

1. James was the fourth president.
2. He lived in Montpelier, Virginia.
3. He married Dolley.

Some other facts:
1. Dolley was the first president’s wife to be called “First Lady,” since the previous three presidents could not land a broad even if they were the most powerful men in the country (or they had already done so but they had died). She served as first lady for 16 years, first while Madison was Secretary of State, then when he was President of the United States. Of which he was the fourth.
2. Madison was between 5’4″ to 5’6″, which earned him the nickname “Little Jimmy” by Dolley. I’m not making this up.
3. Check out her rack! BAM!
4. Apparently Dolley’s no-good son from her first marriage ruined her financially, but everyone loved her so much that she lived off the good charity of the political and social elite in DC until she died of radiation poisoning.
5. The house is being restored back to how it was during the Madison presidency, which involves removing rooms and chipping off pink stucco. Along with the house, Montpelier has a natural growth forest (untouched woods except for the paths and homes and things inside it), a garden, two cemeteries, and a horse track. I’m not making that up, either.
6.James Madison haunts the natural growth forest on his property at night. By day he sits near the window and reads.