Confused, I ask, “Huh? What’ja talking about baby girl?"
“Well, you’re curious and are always jotting down your thoughts just like him ‘cept there’s one thing you don’t have that he did."
“And that is?"
“A writing desk!"
“Laura, what does that have to do with Thomas Jefferson?"
“Dontcha know, silly mommy?"
“No, I guess I don’t — why don’t you tell me?"
As my “big" little girl crawls on my lap, she begins to tell me a story:
“Okay, but you can’t interrupt like you always do."
Tightly hugging my girl, I “pinkie-promise" I won’t interrupt.
“Okay, we’re gonna travel back in time to the 1700s. Ready? Here goes: clippity-clop, clippity-clop, went the horses’ hooves as the wagon bounced over the stones in the rough road."
Sternly, my daughter looks up at me and demands silence with her eyes. “Mommy, you promised! Shh-hh! Anyway, the man driving the wagon didn’t seem to mind the bumpy ride one bit because he was too busy scanning his surroundings. Even though Thomas Jefferson drove that route a million times before, he always learned something new. Because he was curious, he always wanted to learn and, no matter where he went, he carried a notebook to write down all answers to his unending questions.
“Then one day, as he was busy writing, he began to think that maybe it would be easier to carry a desk with him wherever he went—“
“Wouldn’t that be awkward, Lau?"
“Mommy, you pinkie-promised! Last time you interrupt! And no, silly, he wasn’t going to carry a great big desk — this is when he decided to invent the writing desk. Because he was an architect, he drew up plans and had a carpenter build it and it was really cool. “When the desk was closed it looked like a book but when opened, it could be tilted into a writing position and had a drawer to hold all his papers, pens and ink."
“That is cool, honey, I didn’t know that."
Exasperated, my daughter rolls her eyes and continues, “Well Mr. Jefferson was really proud of his desk and now could take notes anytime he wanted. Meanwhile, there was a lot happening in Philadelphia because the thirteen colonies we really mad with England. Even though the colonists were loyal Englishmen, the King of England was making stupid laws that the colonists thought were unfair."
“Like the Bailout thing yesterday?"
“Exactly! Anyway, the colonists decided to gather up some really smart men and discuss the problems with England. Two important meetings were held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was called the Continental Congress.
“At this meeting, Thomas Jefferson and some other men felt that the American colonies should be independent from England and that America should have her own government. The men talked and talked for hours but Jefferson just listened and absorbed all the information. With a unanimous vote, all agreed that the colonies should not belong to England and be free states. They all concluded that a paper should be drawn declaring our freedom but were confused about who should write such an important document."
“You talking about the Declaration of Independence?"
“Yup! A few men were finally chosen but because of Thomas Jefferson’s superior writing skills the task was given to him. So Jefferson quietly went to the back room and, using his writing desk, wrote the Declaration of Independence. So you see why his writing desk was so important, Mommy? We might not have had Independence Day had it not been for his invention!"
“I didn’t know all this, Lau — thank you for this wonderful story! But there’s more, isn’t there?"
“Yes, but you finish, Mommy."
“Okay, baby girl. On July 4, 1776, all the men of the Second Continental Congress voted to accept Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. This declaration is very important because it states America’s beliefs about government. This document tells the world that the people of the United States of America believe that God has given each person the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
“When the Declaration was read to the people of Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, everyone cheered for their independence. Cannons boomed and people paraded through the streets of Philadelphia with torches. As I read this excerpt, Laura, imagine with me that we are there, on that very day, amongst the cheerful crowd:
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
And silently, as I read this excerpt with my daughter, I pray that we, as true Americans, remember what our forefathers fought for, what our country stands for, and, in solidarity and peace, unite once again as one Nation Under God for the sake of our land and for the sake of our children.
May God help our vulnerable America.
©2008 Judi Lynn Lake. All rights reserved worldwide.
Judi Lynn Lake has kept up with leading edge business trends throughout her varied and successful career. She had already had her ‘15 minutes of fame’ over and over again before starting her family. Judi and her family now reside in South Carolina but, having been born and raised on Long Island, NY, it is clearly evident that she will always be a "New Yorker." Today, she successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding and package design while she continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion.