George really was a man who enjoyed simple things, but he was no simpleton, he. Some of his friends called him “Farmer George” because he liked to dabble in agriculture (even though he lived in the city, mostly) and because of his liking for things like food, family, and laughter. All in all, a good man who married a good woman and had a bunch of kids.
15 to be exact–9 of them sons. The last two boys were born to George when he was an older man. It was these last two sons that George talked to more than the other children that he and his wife had. You see, George had some health issues as he aged as many of us do. He became bedridden, and the younger children around him were all he saw as the older ones were grown and gone by that time. So, George amused himself by talking to the two younger boys, Freddie, the 9th son, and Eight–yes, George named his 8th son Eight–for hours on end.
The boys never complained about their father’s long talks with them. Oh, he would ask them questions often, and he would listen intently to their answers, but most of the time in his bed-ridden state, George would simply talk…and talk…and talk. And while young boys being that patient with an elderly father seems unusual, you’ll see why the never grew bored with or tired of their father’s attention.
And it’s not that George ignored the rest of his family. Unusually for his day, George doted on almost all his children. The oldest and namesake, well, he was different than his dad. George, Jr., wasn’t fond of the simple things like his dad was. Those two men never really “bonded” as is the phrase today, but what inheritance the older George left when he died went almost all to George, Jr. No, the older George would carry his younger children around on his shoulders, he’d toss them in the air, he’d play games and always–always–remember their birthdays and special events in their lives.
So, for the years preceding his death in 1820, Old Farmer George talked to his two youngest sons about life, death, God, toys, travel, the stars, and even shared secrets with them that no one else knew.
Sadly, the boys never heard what their father said to them.
That’s because both of them had died several years before. Eight–whose name was actually Octavius–died in 1783 at age 4. And Freddie–Alfred–had died at age 2 in 1782.
You see, in his madness, King George III of Great Britain and Ireland, talked long hours to the precious sons he had loved and lost.