Saturday, September 15, 2012

White Feather Letter

Crazy what you learn while watching the Antiques Roadshow on Saturday morning.

If I could, today I would send out a white feather letter.

After checking the origin of the white feather letter, I found that this letter was the way for women in England to let men know that they were cowards. One origin is from early 20th century in England when men who did not enlist to fight in the wars were given a white feather by a women's group. The white feather symbolized cowardice. During those same wars, the men who did not enlist to fight would sometimes wear unadorned or unmarked military type suits so that no woman would recognize that they were not serving in the military. Most suits were custom made, since the real uniform could only be issued to a real soldier.

But back to the white feather letter. What I read is that when the white feather tradition crossed the Atlantic, it took on a different twist. In the US, receiving a white feather letter is an honor. The white feather symbolizes courage and bravery, not the tail feathers as in "turned tail and ran."

Even though Americans may speak the same language as the Brits, someone is driving on the wrong side of the road! (literally and figuratively)

As you can probably guess, I would send my white feather letter to the boss this week who had no backbone. After three long years of trying to resolve this pond/ levee situation, he left us with a pond that we have to "finish up" on our own! What a loser! And maybe even "yellow bellied." Hmm? Wonder where that expression came from?

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