Today is the first day of our ramble down to New York for Heliosphere. So, en passant, we visited Lindenwald, Martin Van Buren’s home in Kinderhook, NY. Van Buren had been Jackson’s Vice President; he went on to a term of his own in 1836. The Little Magician was the first US president who had no military experience, and he is so far the only US president who didn’t speak English as his native tongue (he spoke Dutch).
As people who followed the Whig songbook posts I put up in 2016 will recall, Van Buren was the Whigs’ bête noire in 1844 (until he lost the nomination on the 9th ballot to James K. Polk). Van Buren went on to a third-party run in 1848 on the Free Soil ticket, a move that split the Democratic vote and put the buffoonish Zachary Taylor into the White House.
So there I stood on a chilly April afternoon and sang a Van Buren song from 1840:
Rockabye baby, daddy’s a Whig,
When he comes home hard cider he’ll swig.
When he has swug he’ll fall in a stew,
And down will come Tyler and Tippecanoe.
To beguile the tedium of the journey we listened to some of The Bowery Boys’ podcasts on New York history.
Breakfast was at the Red Arrow Diner in Concord, NH. Dinner was at Amici’s in Nyack, a place that looks like a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint between a dry cleaner and the Off-Track Betting parlor in a strip mall, which it is, but also has a very nice full Italian restaurant in the back room.