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Expat wanderer

A Revolutionary Document

“Shisha, what’s all this Fourth of July stuff? What is the Fourth of July?”

“It’s a birthday! It’s the birthday of the United States of America!”

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence? It is an extraordinary document.

Happy Birthday, United States of America!


The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 shewn, 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.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Cultural, Free Speech, Law and Order, Leadership, Poetry/Literature, Quality of Life Issues, South Africa | , | 2 Comments

Retrograde 4th of July

Alternate title: Every man needs a Kubota


As we were listening to the news and weather Tuesday night before going to bed, the weather woman was talking about a ‘retrograde’ storm system. She showed us on the map; normally our weather blows from west to east, but this storm was going to blow east to west, and then reverse and go west to east again. Going counter to the normal flow is ‘retrograde.’


Screen shot 2013-07-06 at 9.40.15 AM

Our entire holiday was retrograde. Which, for people like AdventureMan and I, is not too bad. It’s a good thing we married one another; we are not to good with same-same all the time, if things get too tame, we shake things up a little bit. It’s not good or bad, it’s just the way we are wired.


One of the first differences was that we weren’t leaving early in the morning to drive down Highway 98 along the beach road; we were picking up our adorable grandson, going to his house, and as soon as our daughter-in-law got off work we would hit the interstate.

It all went well; cloudy skies but light traffic, all was well until we left the highway headed south  . . . and started hitting the “Roads Under Water” signs. We didn’t see any roads under water until the car in front of us hit what looked like a shiny spot on the road and went almost a foot deep. AdventureMan cooly slowed and drifted steadily through the lake in the road – and we thanked God to be in a vehicle a little higher off the ground than a sedan.


After the lake in the road, it started raining, a little sprinkling, and then a steady rain.


The temperatures dropped.


Here is what we had planned – dinner with family and friends, a day of fun and heading out for sun downers on the boat to watch the fireworks on the 4th. Heavy applications of insect repellant and sunscreen.


Here is what happened – the deluge.


Here is what was cool about the deluge – the temperatures were the coolest, 24 hours around the clock – that we’ve seen in a month. We could sit out on the screened porch looking at the bayou, listening to the rain fall – it was heavenly! No insect repellent needed. No sun screen needed.







Our hostess is a wonderful and creative cook; unafraid to try new recipes. Dinner after our rainy drive in: Red snapper, baked in a crust of crumbs with butter and parsley, so delicious. Green beans and mushrooms; so good I had them for breakfast another day 🙂 Holy smokes, desserts. The best pound cake ever, topped with peaches in their own juice and whipped cream, or chocolate red velvet brownies.

It was a fabulous lazy day. In the afternoon, our friend got an emergency call; friends whose husband was out of town were facing a flooding situation. Loading up his Kubota, he and AdventureMan went over and (manly manly) DUG A DITCH! getting all dirty and wet in the process, coming home with those grins that only activities like a good hunting trip, a successful fishing trip or digging a good ditch can create.

We had great plans that night to visit The Blue Fig (“They have mohammara!” my hostess said, knowing my weakness) but when we got there, it was closed . . . and, oddly every restaurant along that strip seemed to be closed. And side roads were flooded, more big lakes of water in the roads. It had rained so much and for so long that the runoff had no where to go.





Our little grandson fell asleep while we were searching for a restaurant that was open, and slept in my arms through dinner. I know this might be the last time; he is getting to be such a big boy, so I just treasured the time and listened to him breathe.


I know it may not seem like such a great holiday to you, but it was fun. We focused on conversations and laughed a lot. AdventureMan thinks every man might need a Kubota. We listened to the rain fall on the leaves, the roof, the bayou. We listened to the frogs celebrate the 4th of July. We really had a great time.

July 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Cooking, Cultural, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Friends & Friendship, Holiday, Road Trips, Travel, Weather | , | Leave a comment

Fourth of July at Christ’s Church in Pensacola

We usually make it to the early service at Christ’s Church, Pensacola, but this Sunday we took it easy, and headed to the second service instead. AdventureMan loves the second service for the music; I love it because sometimes our son and his family are there and we get to sit together.

Father Neil gave a thought-provoking sermon, as usual, incorporating some of the things he learned serving as a chaplain to our American troops in the desert in Kuwait. During communion, the choir sang a song known by some as the Navy Hymn and by others as the Armed Forces Hymn. The last two lines of each chorus pray for our men and women “in peril” on land or sea or in the air. While I am a stoic, that song shakes me to my core, and brings tears to my eyes.

At the end of the service, just after the recessional, our superb music director, Kenneth Keredine, with two fellow musicians on drum and cymbals, played a rousing Sousa march, a joyful and happy way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Holiday, Spiritual | | 3 Comments

Episcopal Reading for the Fourth of July

For those in a hurry, in addition to the daily readings in The Lectionary, there is a small booklet, Forward Day by Day, which prints a short reading for each day.

I love the reading for today:

Today’s Meditation

monday, july 4 independence day

Deuteronomy 10:17-21. For the Lord your God is…the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe…and who loves the strangers.

In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses charges Israel to love the stranger, because the people of Israel were once strangers in Egypt. In Mark, Jesus entreats us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us because God is not partial. The sun rises on the just and the unjust.

It is easy for us to love friends and people like ourselves. Christians are called to greater challenge: to create a community in which we love the stranger and pray for the one who wants to do us harm.

I remember standing on the Lake Erie shore and reading that during the War of 1812 soldiers died there so that the lake would not belong to the British. The British were the bad guys. A little over a hundred years later, the United States fought two World Wars on the side of Great Britain. The British were good guys. In the intervening years, each country learned to see the other not as evil strangers, but as allies with common interests.

As we give thanks for our country, let us accept the challenge to create a community that includes those who might be our enemies, the people who today don’t seem to be one with us. Our perspective can change.

PRAY for the Diocese of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada)

Ps 145 * 145:1-9; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Holiday, Political Issues, Spiritual, Values | | 2 Comments