Monday, July 24, 2006

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DID GEORGE WASHINGTON START THE TRADITION OF NAMING ESTATES? I DOUBT IT, BUT HABITS INSPIRED BY HUMAN NATURE DIE HARD. AD INFINITUM, THE RICH, FAMOUS AND PRETENTIOUS QUALIFIED THEIR HOMES ON EARTH WITH FANCY NAMES INDICATIVE OF THEIR PERCEIVED OR REAL STANDINGS. WRITERS FOUND INSPIRATION AND SOLACE IN A SENSE OF PLACE TOO. JEFFERSON'S MONTICELLO, ADAMS' QUINCY, WILLIS' IDLEWILD, PAULDING'S PLACENTIA, SIMMS' WOODLANDS, COOPER'S OTSEGO HALL, JAMES' LAMB HOUSE, HENRY ADAMS' BEVERLY, LOWELL'S ELMWOOD, LONGFELLOW'S, CRAIG HOUSE, IRVING'S, SUNNYSIDE, LEE'S, ARLINGTON, MELVILLE'S, ARROWHEAD, HAWTHORNE'S, OLD MANSE. THE COMFORT OF SURROUNDINGS WERE MIRRORED IN THE NAMES.

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND'S MANSIONS OF THE MEGA-RICH ALSO BORE DESCRIPTIVE NAMES SUCH AS ROUGH POINT, MARBLE HOUSE, BEECHWOOD, THE BREAKERS, AND THE ELMS. WHO WOULDN'T LUST TO LIVE THERE?

TODAY, WALL STREET INVESTOR, DON LUFKIN HAS HIS ROUGHLANDS AND ANDRE AGASSI, THE TENNIS GREAT HAS HIS ROUNDHILL ESTATE.

EXAMPLES ARE ENDLESS. THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ESTEEM IS TIMELESS TOO. SO I STAKE MY CLAIM TO MY SHAMBA LETU, TRANSLATED AS "OUR FARM" FROM SWAHILI. GRANTED MINE IS A DEFUNCT FARM BUT IT REMAINS A TRACT OF LAND SET ASIDE FOR THE CULTIVATION OF THE SOIL. FAILED GARDENS, WILTED FLOWERS, COMMONPLACE TREES AND RAMBUNCTIOUS WEEDS DO NOT DETRACT FROM THE FERTILENESS THAT SHAMBA LETU ASSURES MY THOUGHTS.

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