I know you are going to think all I do is read, and some days, you would be right.
But at the risk of sounding repetitive, I do have to tell you about the book I read this week. It's John Adams, by David McCullough, and it's 600 pages of small print. The major thing I take away from it is the fact it was a miracle we won the Revolutionary War!
When you read History books, about Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Concord, you do not stop to think how far apart each of these are; nor how far away the Continental Congress in Philadelphia was, or how they communicated, without telegrams, cell phones, or short wave radios! Often, Congress had no idea where a battle was, let alone whether it was won or lost, until a letter arrived on horseback.
And these were not Pony Express riders. And General Washington was constantly asking for more food, ammunition, and clothes for his men!
Plus, I knew Ben Franklin spent most of that time in France, but I did not know John Adams did, too. It was up to them to keep the loans coming, and to keep the French knowing we were grateful for their help.
They did not exactly fly over in Air Force One, of course. Ships took up to three months to cross the Atlantic, IF the storms did not cause it to sink, and IF a British ship did not intercept it. Also, of course, communication was not by underground cable at the bottom of the ocean; the same letter writing took place and the writer hoped it got back to the mainland.
I had known John and Abigail were apart for much of their marriage, and thankfully, their letters were saved; at least, the ones that arrived. Much of the research for the book came from those letters. I had read a book about Abigail some time ago and knew much of this; she was a good manager and stayed on the farm in Massachusetts and took care of things. I had not stopped to think about what life in France was like for John.. And where their children ended up!
Abigail joined him after the war, and they went on to London as ambassadors there; where, of course, they were not appreciated. In all, John was away from home for TEN years! And the children were back and forth, sometimes with a parent, sometimes with an aunt, sometimes in a school. It's made me appreciate again what it took to become these United States.
Something that struck me again was how learned these men were; they not only read Shakespeare, but Latin and Greek classics in those languages, and then learned French or German as needed when abroad! Harvard was already established, and some men went there when still boys of 15. But a lot of education was by private tutor, sometimes by the local minister.
And that was another thing; these men went to church, or “meeting”, as some said. They professed a knowledge of, and a faith in, a Supreme Being and in Divine Providence. When griefs came, as they do to us all, they did not question God, but tried to accept the bad with the good. And they thanked Him for both!
As you can imagine, when reading about treatments of blood letting and bed rest, it gave this old nurse the chills. I think folks recovered in spite of, and not because of, the medical treatment they received.
All in all, once you finish the book about Field of Dreams, you need to check this one out. It will make you appreciative all over again. And when the Fourth of July comes, you will feel more like celebrating than ever. God Bless America!
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