July 4, 2014

1942. Downs Walks Into a London Pub on Washington's Birthday

Washington's Birthday


London, Feb. 22—(UP)—The American colony wasn't celebrating Washington's birthday officially, so I went to the clachan bar today to do a little celebrating by myself.

I ran into a half dozen British newspaper men and reminded them:

"It's Washington's birthday."

"Really," one of them said. "Interesting."

"Have a drink with me," I suggested, "to celebrate the birth of the man who kicked the hell out of the English army 150 years ago."

A general movement toward the bar was well under way before anybody thought to challenge me. It was just like a "double take" in the movies.

Sub-editor Bill Taggart of The Star spoke up.

"Before drinking," he said, "I want to point out that Washington did not lick any Englishmen. He just whipped some hired Hessians we sent there."

"The fact remains," I said, "That the Americans still kicked hell out of the English in the Revolutionary War."

Taggart capitulated.

"Yes," he said. "Your obscure general won the war and established the United States of America, for which the English now thank God."

"Gentleman, let's drink to the late George Washington. May there be more like him."

Everybody drank.