In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.
George Washington — who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolution and later, as president, chose the exact location of the federal city — has a unique appreciation for both the Fourth of July and the District of Columbia. Yet on his dream day, Washington would prefer to remain at his Virginia home, Mount Vernon, and participate in its annual Fourth of July celebration. At least that’s the take of Dean Malissa, 66, above, who has been Mount Vernon’s official George Washington for nearly 15 years. One thing Washington would not do on his dream day is time-travel to see the monument built in his honor, according to Malissa, who says Washington would think a monument is “a little bit too monarchical.” Here, Malissa gets into character for Washington’s perfect day.
There is no place that I have ever wanted to be throughout the entirety of my adult life, rather than sitting under my own vine and sitting under my own fig tree at Mount Vernon. Quite frankly, I believe it is the most beautifully situated property in United America. And truth be told, it is where I am happiest.
I will arise before the sun, dress and shave and do some correspondence. As the sun rises across the Potomac River, I will pace back and forth on the piazza and do some of my thinking. I cannot speak highly enough of the view.
Mrs. Washington [and I] will have breakfast. My favorite breakfast is hoecakes — you might call them pancakes. These are made with cornmeal. I will smother them in honey and in butter [so] they are dripping extensively.
Then I will set about riding my farms. I will make a circumnavigation of the farms and see how things progress in each of the areas — if we are engaged in farming business, or grist mill business, or fishing or any manner of commerce.
We are upon the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain. At Mount Vernon, we celebrate. I will put on my uniform yet again — it still fits, I want you to know. Everybody will get a piece of cake for the birthday of America and there will be musical celebrations [and] military drills. It will be a day full of joyous celebration and also pausing to remember those 81/2 years and the miracle of that story.
Mrs. Washington and I, we have not dined alone for 20 years. She and I, and our family and a few friends, will perhaps raise a glass of Madeira wine. It is a fortified wine. It has had sugar added to it by the winemakers. Mrs. Washington will plate one of her Virginia smoked hams. I think they are the finest smoked hams in all of Virginia, perhaps all of these United States. She will set what we refer to as a groaning board, a heavily set table of two or three other types of meats and fresh vegetables that we have grown here at Mount Vernon.
We will build to a sweet turn at the end of the meal. There is a relatively new sweet that has reached these shores called iced cream. We have sweetened iced cream, but we also have savory iced cream. While you would not have it for dessert, my favorite is fresh oyster iced cream. Absolutely freezing cold, wonderful to the palate.