Friday, March 12, 2021

Parchment and Ink

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor, nature and water

In this hot and humid town, the trees remain draped in the darkest green for long
On a day when the skies are a bright blue, the clouds wisps of white, the breeze a warm-cool
We drive to 441 Freedom Parkway on a field trip to see something very special
We've heard the Declaration of Independence is a visiting artifact, a touring exhibit, for a short while

My oldest is especially looking forward to seeing the  famous John Hancock signature in person
And he loves the drama of Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!" declaration
So representative of this child who at three had refused to "study English"
Because he "speaks American"

Homeschooling has its perks but trying to reason with a three-year old
Over the nomenclature of languages is not one of them
He's older now and digging into history with the gusto of a seasoned explorer on an epic adventure
He can hardly wait to get there

It's gorgeous! The drive up to the entrance, the grounds, the hall, the oval office replica, all of it
And then we see it, behind bullet-proof glass, at a height comfortable for children
In a font barely readable for a generation that barely recognizes cursive as written English
Is a yellow parchment with more power, more romance, more meaning attached to it
Than a casual look would tell you

"Ha! King George must've seen that without his glasses on!!" remarked my oldest
Pointing at the most recognizable signature on the page with a big guffaw
His laugh, always incredibly infectious, has a lot of people around us chuckling softly
"It's a pity Patrick Henry didn't sign it, especially since he wanted liberty so bad"

Our turn to view the magnificent parchment has come to an end
We follow the ropes to the person giving out printouts of the declaration and claim our copy
"Mom, can we frame that? I want to hang it up in my room" he says
"Of course," I reply, and he barely contain his excitement

No book, no internet search could've stoked the imagination in quite the same way

Image result for declaration of independence picture

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