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



Horror stories and Whodunits have always been a staple in every generation
You should be reading them and writing them
Why shouldn't you?
You afraid of a little blood and gore? Huh? 'fraidy cat??
Suck it up buttercup and take a seat or a pouf
Let's enumerate the many reasons you shouldn't leave all the writing to Stephen King

Take a gander at the morning news
That's what's happening all around you
People got shot for nothing on a generic street in a generic town
A man drowned his kids for insurance and a mistress
The databases of these many companies were sold on the dark web
The cops recovered 180 kids from a sex trafficker
180, not 1, not 10, 180
A music mogul and his wife were accused of drugging and raping 12 people

Tell me you want to ignore reality
Tell me you'd rather watch The Bachelorette
Stop being a glittery snowflake  
Watch Dateline or House of Cards instead

There's fuckery afoot
And you should be talking about it
Clearly, the sex traffickers selling kids have a business model that keeps people ignorant or quiet about 180 missing children in their evil grip
Clearly, there are thousands of people who watch these children live every day and do nothing about it
Clearly, there is technology to track down the location of these trafficked children down to the exact 10x12 room they are in
Write about each child
That's 180 horror stories right there, enough to keep you busy for a year

The man who drowned his children for an insurance payout
What's his name?
Where did he go to school?
Who were his neighbors, friends, colleagues, wife, in-laws?
Did the insurance agent smell a rat when the dad came in to buy insurance on his 5-year-old and 13-year-old?
Did he realize there was something going on three years ago when he got a request for a 250 k accidental death insurance on his wife
Something she hadn't asked for

Here's some parchment and quill
Get to work
Share your findings with us
Let's get to know what is happening in our communities

                                                                                                   - Sonali

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Creators of Culture

Creators of Culture

Whilst we bow before the painter, sculptor, playwright, and newsman
Let us not forget that these are people who merely reflect what is happening around us

Whilst we study the happiness index and the crime rate and the rising seas
Let us not forget there were events within the last hour that merit your greater attention

When the little child in third grade came to school and bit his friend
You might have wanted to check on his family
When you checked on his family you might have wanted to check on his parents' employer

Did you forget the children had been learning about slavery at school?
And the little white boy in Mrs. Smith's class was acting out because he felt an unnamable rage rise within him

He had overheard his parents talking about something that had happened to his father's boss
A lady whose daughter was his best friend from kindergarten whom he still met at the park on Sundays

They were sitting on the bleachers sharing a bag of mini pretzels looking like twins, each with a mop of shiny hair, gray eyes, and about thirty freckles apiece
She had told him that the police had come to her home the previous night and her mother had cried through breakfast and lunch but she was smiling now
Her father had driven them all to soccer practice because her mother's hands were shaking too much
And that she had been home all week crying and had quit her job and they would have no money for soccer starting next month
Her father didn't speak at all all week but he kicked the dog every day

He couldn't bite the bad man so he bit the arm nearest to himself and swore he would never have children of his own
                                                                                                       -  Sonali