Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In The Presence of Titans Part 3~By Kyle

Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in getting this out sooner. As you know, my weekend was quite a bit different than what I thought it would be. :0) I hope you enjoy reading this, but a slight warning: this part of the story is very hard hitting, especially on the issue of homosexuality. But unlike Tim Tebow, I am more than willing to take my stance with the Biblical view of this issue. Also, make sure to read to the end!
 
 
-------
In the hour-long drive to Washington, D.C., I think the awkwardness was finally dissolved in my car. For their part, the founding fathers treated me very politely, and I actually enjoyed their company. George Washington always spoke levelly to me, but in a natural and kindly way. His steady gaze always seemed to be summing me up, as if measuring my character, but again, in a natural way. Benjamin Franklin always seemed to keep the mood light, and I possibly grew the fondest of him, holding him in my mind as an almost grandfatherly figure. Benjamin Rush was the least involved in the conversations, the void between him and the president still existent, but his calm voice often added depth to our conversations. I admired him as much as any of the three.

I passed my bag of cherries around, now happy to share with the gentlemen, and this time they each appreciated the snack and thanked me in their usual polite tones. Benjamin Franklin even said that cherries were now his favorite fruit. “For whenever I see or consume a cherry,” the rotund founding father had explained, “I will think of this extraordinary trip.”

I smiled and then turned to George Washington. “I suppose eating cherries doesn’t bring back only good memories for you, huh?”

“Pardon me, Ethan?” Surprise flickered in the president’s eyes.

“You know, with what you did to your father’s tree and all,” I pressed.

George Washington stared blankly at me, and I dropped the subject. Benjamin Rush, however, leaned forward.  “I doubt not that is a fable told of our moral president in the schools today, probably to build character in the little boys or girls. Am I not correct?”

“Yes.” I glanced at Washington. “The story goes that after you chopped down a cherry tree, your father was angry and asked you about it, and you replied,  ’I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.’ It is a story about telling the truth.

George Washington blushed and waved his hand as if he hated to receive the attention.

“Speaking of schools,” Benjamin Rush continued, “I would very much like to inquire as to how the young are educated now. They still use the Bible as a textbook, I hope? Even in our age there are some who would have the Bible be less used in our schools.*”

I glanced at his face in the rear-view mirror to make sure he was serious. “The Bible? You really used that as a textbook?”

“Of course! The Bible is essential to teach our young from. Don’t you use it?”

“No, not really. We used to have the Ten Commandments or something in our schools, but those have been or are being removed now. I even heard of a kid who was suspended for bringing his bible to school**, so I don’t take my bible into my high school. I keep it in there.” I pointed to the glove box.

Benjamin Rush’s light colored eyes flashed now as they met with mine in the rear-view mirror. “This cannot be! What have the citizens of this fair country done to fight this?  Surely they don’t continue to keep their kids in these petty schools, knowing that the beginning of wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord!  And how dare these schools put our nation in jeopardy! Surely the level of education in our schools has dropped since the Bible has been removed from them.” Benjamin Rush looked as if he wanted to continue his passionate torrent, but he stopped short as if to try and regain his composure.

George Washington, meanwhile, had opened up my glove box and removed my Bible.  I was almost ashamed at how far he had to dig to find it among the stuff in that compartment.  It had been a while since I had looked between the leather cover of that Bible given to me by my parents. George Washington almost tenderly held and carefully opened it, letting the onionskin pages rustle as they parted. Still looking at the Bible, he said almost softly to me, ”Ethan, of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?***”

George Washington paused and looked up from the Bible. His eyes seemed distant and thoughtful. “Ethan, if the Bible has been removed from schools, if the morality taught therein has been obstructed, than I fear for our nation. Without religious principle, our nation will lose morality. It will fall.” George Washington fell silent, his eyes still distant.

As if to steer the course of the conversation to less disheartening things, Benjamin Rush started asking questions about the state of the colleges in America, but he was also disheartened when he learned of the average age of college graduates. “I graduated from the College of New Jersey when I was fourteen!” he told me.

I hardly gave an answer. My mind was still on what George Washington had said. In the past few years, I had been lackadaisical at best in my Bible reading. I went to youth group, but more for the fun activities than anything else, letting the Bible lessons pass into one ear and out the other. I guess I considered myself to be a good person, good enough to not need the Bible as a crutch. What George Washington had said about morality being unsustainable without religion troubled me, to say the least.

The doctor behind me then started asking questions about the advances of medicine in my age, perhaps hoping to finally find something to be enthusiastic about. I was able to provide him with some enthusiasm in that regards, sharing my limited knowledge of the incredible medical capabilities of our age, but this only brought more questions from The Father of American Medicine.  

Besides him, Benjamin Franklin pulled a small book called Poor Richard’s Almanac from his pocket and flipped through its pages. He plugged his ear closest to the doctor with his fleshy finger and said, “See, I can do it too, doctor.”

Finally the car grew silent again, an almost welcome silence for me. Dr. Rush had asked for a pen, and I had found one for him. He now was writing a good many notes on the inside pages of his medical book. Benjamin Franklin was still flipping through the almanac he had written, and George Washington was still contemplative besides me. We were still a good half-hour away from Washington, D.C.

This time I was able to find a station when I turned the radio on again, hoping to get away from my more serious thoughts. The founding fathers had given me more than enough to think about. The station I found had just finished a song, and a voice came onto the radio. “We will have more of the best new country songs for you, but first a report from our news anchor, Samantha White.”

As the feminine voice rolled off a series of news items, I only half listened, but the founding fathers, fascinated by the radio, listened intently. Suddenly there was an exclamation from one of the founding fathers that jarred me into listening more carefully. The feminine voice was saying, “With gay marriage already legalized in Maine, Washington, and Maryland last year, gay marriage activists are predicting a shift in favor of these Americans that feel they are being discriminated against.

"And even more hopefully for these activists is President Barack Obama’s evolving view on this issue. In May of 2012, he gave his support for homosexual marriage, saying, “When I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is gone, because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage. At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.****”

The news anchor continued with more, but there was now such an uproar of indignation and questions from the founding fathers that I shut the radio off.

Benjamin Rush was the first to get a question across to me. “Who is that foul person that commends sodomy? Surely he is not this nation’s president!”

I was rather shocked at this sudden outburst. “Yes, that was our president, Barack Obama,” I said. “He just got reelected for his second term as leader over America.”

Benjamin Franklin guffawed in unbelief. “Stop playing with us, Ethan!”

George Washington looked at me gravelly, his eyes searching my face intently. “No,” he said at last, “Ethan is serious.”

A hush fell over the car, one of shocked disbelief. The men around me were clearly disappointed—and indignant.  I broke the silence. “Friends, isn’t equal rights a good thing? I mean, I thought that is what you fought for, what you wrote in favor of on the Declaration of Independence. I have always been taught that homosexuals in our age our like the African Americans of your age, that they too are being discriminated against. Don’t they deserve basic rights as well?”

“Ethan, homosexuality is a sin, a gross sin! Do murderers have the same rights as the respectable citizen? Do adulterers? No, of course not! It is the responsibility of government, as the sword of God, to punish such sin, not condone it. If sodomy is encouraged in any society, that society will fall. It has happened before, many times. Like the Romans of old, so will America crumble if they allow sodomy to creep into and be encouraged within their states.” Benjamin Rush broke off and hid his face in his hands. He seemed to be praying.

George Washington, meanwhile, had flipped open my Bible, and he read from it, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.*****“

The president looked up. “It is clear in this verse that homosexuality is a sin, one that leads to damnation. Unless people are turned from this sin, or any sin, they will suffer. Do you want that, Ethan? It is also clear from the latter part of Romans 1 that homosexuality is one of the further steps of a decaying society. I had hoped that I was wrong, but now I am certain: Ethan, the America of your age is falling.”

Now it was my turn to be indignant. “But Mr. President, I was told in school that if anything, you were gay-friendly! And that you definitely were not a Christian,” I continued, glancing down at the open Bible in his hands. “Didn’t you have a general or something that was a homosexual?”

George Washington met my glare evenly. He spoke so calmly to me that I couldn’t help but also be calmed. “No, I find the sin of homosexuality to be detestable and indecent. I can asure you that none of the men in my sphere of influence openly practiced that sin. I think there is a distinction that needs to be made: We, every one of us, should love our fellow man as we do ourselves. Just because someone is a homosexual doesn’t mean we should never be in their company. But we will always hate the sin, not the person. We should seek to banish homosexuality and punish it accordingly, just as we do every other sin, so as to keep as many as possible from destroying themselves in it. Do you not understand this now?”

I nodded, my throat too constricted to speak.

George Washington turned his gaze from me. “And as far as the claims of some who would say that I do not follow Christ, they are vastly mistaken. I see God’s providence in everything, and it is because of his grace that I sit beside you now. He is the one I live for.”

The rest of the trip was spent in silence. I couldn’t think of anything to say, and a brooding sort of silence seemed to hang over the men around me. I felt as if we were now like a time bomb; I was afraid that when this silence was broken, another burst of conversation would come. I didn’t want any more uncomfortable conversations with these men. I had had enough. Deep down inside, though, I wanted answers. That is perhaps why I was hesitant to leave the founding fathers when our nation’s capital came into view.

“Well, we are here,” I said. “It is close to dinnertime; could I get you a bite to eat before I head back?”

Before George Washington could graciously decline this offer, Benjamin Franklin hastily put in, “I am sure my comrades all acknowledge the wisdom of attaining some nourishment, more so since we are powerless to buy our own meals. That would be a great kindness to us, friend, if you could take us to one of the taverns here.”

I managed a smile. “No, I cannot bear you to a tavern, for they would not let me in the doors since I am a minor. How about I take you to the Old Post Office Pavilion? I have been there several times and enjoy the food court, and it is only a short distance away from the National Mall.”

I received no objections from the founding fathers, so I set our course for the old post office building. As I wound my way through the crowded streets of our nation’s capital, frequent exclamations of surprise and wonder came from the other three men. “This place is truly a worthy capital,” George Washington said. “I am glad you have taken us here, Ethan.”

From the warm look that broke from his usually level gaze, I could tell Washington meant it. He seemed to appreciate the Capital more than the other two, though all three of them admired the place. This made me hopeful, for the gloomy mood seemed to lift a little from the group.

We reached the Old Post Office Pavilion, and I was lucky enough to find a parking space on the street. I walked with the founding fathers to the front of the place, but there we stopped to admire the imposing building before us. The Old Post Office Pavilion, now a mall, was an impressive sight, a clock tower rising to an impressive height from its white, almost castle-like walls.

We finally turned to head into the building, but the roundest of our group was not with us. “Where did that old gentleman get off to!” Benjamin Rush exclaimed, looking around for Benjamin Franklin.

Finally I spotted him. “There he is.” I pointed to where the old gentleman stood looking up at a statue. I called out to him, and Benjamin Franklin turned towards us and waved for us to come over.

As we approached, Benjamin Franklin smiled and motioned towards the statue. “An exact likeness, don’t you think?”

I looked up at the statue, noticing the name “Franklin” at its base. It was strange to look at that statue now that I had been in the company of the living version of the man.

George Washington broke into my thoughts, “Mr. Franklin, this statue in your likeness is all well and good, but I think we should move on at our friend's leading. We are drawing quite a crowd, perhaps not all friendly, for some of them seem to be aiming odd devices at us.

A little concerned at Washington’s grave words, I looked around for the ‘odd devices’. Quite a crowd was gathering at the appearance of Benjamin Franklin, and several of them were taking pictures with their phones.  “Don’t worry,” I said, “they are just taking pictures. I think it would be best to move on, though.”

Benjamin Franklin started to sidle up to one of the young persons that held a phone, no doubt to ask how it worked, but Benjamin Rush took hold of his arm and led him into the mall. A small crowd followed us all the way to the food court, but except for an occasional photo, our small group was left alone afterwards. It was at this food court that the three founding fathers got their first taste of an American cheeseburger, and notwithstanding the messiness (all three of them ate with a fork), they thought that the burgers were tasty.

We rose from our seats, and after rounding up Benjamin Franklin, whose curiosity had again driven him to wander from our group, we headed out of the mall. It was as we stepped back out onto the street that Benjamin Franklin nudged Benjamin Rush beside him, pointing to a pair of men who walked hand in hand. “Doctor, there is another one of those ‘couples’,” Benjamin Franklin said, his voice uncharacteristically angry******.

Benjamin Rush looked at where Mr. Franklin pointed, and his light eyes flashed. He turned abruptly to the people walking in and out of the mall behind him. “Citizens of America,” he said in a loud voice, “I beg you to listen to what I have to say.”

A handful of people looked up at the speaker, and a small half circle of them stopped before our group as Benjamin Rush continued. “It has been brought to my attention by this young lad, our friend, that the morality we once held as a people at the beginning of this nation has been pillaged.  The values we once had have been thrown to the ground and trampled underfoot. How could this happen!  I gather from this same friend beside me that you fight for the inalienable rights of mankind, and that is commendable! I myself fought for the rights of the black slaves of my age, forming the first abolitionist group with the gentleman besides me, Benjamin Franklin. But you as a people have taken this fight too far. You have taken it to the point where you would commend a foul sin, that of sodomy, as if it were that person’s right to live in such a way. I follow Christ; I believe in Him. So when He has put in his word that two men lying together as they would with a woman is worthy of death, I believe that homosexuality is not something that can be commended in any society!”

Benjamin Rush paused, and I grimaced at the shocked looks on all of the faces around me as I stood by the side of the three founding fathers. The crowd was growing. The thin half circle of people had grown much wider. Benjamin Rush started speaking again, but this time his voice was quieter. “I do not mean to be judgmental of any of you. That is not my place. Perhaps it is because you have removed the Bible from your schools that you commend this practice, perhaps you are just uninformed of the holy standards of our Lord, but this I know: you must not, you cannot, let homosexuality be welcomed in your society. The judgment of God will fall on this land if you do, and friends,” Benjamin looked around at the faces around him, “it will be a terrible judgment.”

 In the silence that followed, several people voiced their approval or hesitantly clapped, but the majority of the crowd stood, stunned. Some of them were angry. One man, who stood with several other angry young men, stepped forward into the space between the founding fathers and the crowd. “Haters!” he said with teeth clenched. “How dare you condemn my lifestyle; how dare you judge me!” A string of profanity followed. 

George Washington stepped forward. He was clearly irritated, but he was also calm. “Sir,” he said levelly, “if you have any sense or character, I would ask that you imediantly check your profane swearing in front of these people. It is a foolish and wicked practice.*******”

The man stepped in front of Washington so that his face was right in the president’s, and he swore again. I barely saw the fist that smashed into the man’s face a second later, sending him tumbling back onto the paved ground before the president. There was an exclamation from the leveled man’s friends, and they sprang forward to his aid. One of them stopped to help the foul mouthed man up, who was holding a hand over his nose that was spurting blood. Three other men approached our group with fists raised. 

George Washington calmly stepped back and handed something to Benjamin Franklin. “Please load this, Mr. Franklin.” The words were barely out of his mouth before he had struck one of the oncoming fighters.

Benjamin Rush also prepared to defend himself, but the punch that he threw was deflected, and his intended target rammed into the doctor, sending him to the ground with a thud. It was then that I engaged in my first actual fight. I could not stand by when the three men I had befriended were being attacked. I kicked at the man who had just flattened Benjamin Rush, kicking right in between his legs. To be sure, some would consider that a cheap shot, but with one of my friends already knocked out of the fight, the other an old, rotund man, and the last of my friends set upon by two men, the last thing on my mind was being polite.

It was as I turned from the victim of my well-placed kick, who now lay in the fetal position at my feet, that I saw something that sent chills up my spine. The man who had been knocked down by George Washington had torn loose from his friend and was making back at the president. His bloodied face was contorted with rage, and as he approached, he drew a knife from his belt. George Washington, defending himself from the two other men, was oblivious to his peril. The knife was raised and plunged at the president’s chest.

I don’t remember how I reached the knife in time, only remembering the hoarse yell I let out as I jumped forward. Both my hands gripped the wrist that held the knife, and I wrenched the arm back, keeping the knife from burying itself into the chest of our first president. This violent action made both me and the would-be murderer lose our balance, and I tumbled to the ground with him on top of me, still tightly clenching his wrist.

The man, denied of avenging himself, turned his fierce hate on me. His eyes glinted with rage, and while still pinning me down, he pressed the knife down at my chest. Blood dripped from his nose onto my face. I struggled with all my might, but the man was stronger than me and put all his weight on the arm holding the knife. The knife inched forward towards my body.

I looked around desperately for help, my arms strained and trembling from the immense pressure put on them, but there was no one to come to my aid. Benjamin Franklin was stooped over whatever it was he held in his hand, and Benjamin Rush was slowly picking himself up from the paved ground. I saw that a security guard was making towards the fight, no doubt alerted by the gasps of the crowd, but he was still fifty feet away. I turned lastly to George Washington, praying that he could save me, but he had been wrestled to the ground by the two other men. I was alone.

The knife pierced into my T-shirt, and I closed my eyes, awaiting the searing pain.

  -------

* When many public schools stopped using the Bible as a textbook, Rush proposed that the U.S. government require such use, as well as furnish an American bible to every family at public expense. Cited from Wikipedia.
** In January of 2010, Kenneth Dominguez, 16, was suspended for two days after bringing his Bible to Gateway East High School in El Cajon. Cited from ABC 10 News.
*** From George Washington’s farewell address. Cited from Wikipedia.
**** On May 9, 2012, President Obama voiced this aproval of gay marriage in an interview. Cited from ABC News
***** 1 Corinthians 6:9 NASB
****** Washington, D.C. has one of the highest gay/lesbian populations in the United States
******* The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it. From George Washington, Head Quarters, New York, August 3rd 1776. 
 





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Newest Additions!~ By Victoria

One of our does kidded this morning at about 11. :o) She had a beautiful buck and doe! These are the first kids of the season and we are so excited!

                                              This is Liberty Belle. We are going to keep her. :o)

                                                          Liberty and her bro Justified!
                        Liberty has 2 white feet and a tiny white stripe on her belly on her right side.
                                                                     Adorable!
                          Justified weighed 9lbs 4oz and Liberty was 9lbs 2oz. They're huge!

We have two more does due any day. Then 2 more a couple weeks after that. :o) This is always a fun time of year!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Save Saeed~By Kyle

Hi everyone! As part of our Church's service today, Pastor Dean showed us this video of Saeed Abedini. Pastor Saeed is currently being held in a notorious Iranian prison for eight years because of his love for Jesus. He is an amazing man. Below is a video of a letter he wrote; it reminds me very much of a letter Paul would write:
 
Amazing, huh? I wish every Christian in America had the faith that he has. I want that kind of faith! And I would do anything to help him. That is where we come in, friends! There is currently a movement by the ACLJ to free Pastor Saeed from this brutal prison, and as part of this movement, they have a petition that any person can sign to support Pastor Saeed. Every Christian should sign it! Click this link to add your voice to this effort! Please sign it!
 
P.S. For anyone who has not been sent pictures of our new sister Marvelous, you will need to send us an e-mail or comment below that you would like some pictures. She is still a foster baby, so I can't post pictures of her on the Internet yet. She truly is marvelous!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update!!

For those of you who aren't receiving our church's prayer chain emails, here is the latest update from that!!

Thank you soooo much to all who have been praying!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 Hello Everyone!  Thank you soooo much for praying for us (Bowes Family).   We just got word that we will be welcoming 5 lb. baby “Marvelous” into our family tomorrow morning!!!   Please pray with us for safe travels and that everything will go very smoothly!   We will then be going through the same lengthy process we went through with Benjamin before having the possibility of adopting her.    So we are grateful for your continued prayers for our Lord’s perfect will and timing in everything!  (And His peace for our minds and hearts while we wait! :-)   Thank you, thank you, our dear sisters and brothers in the Lord.  We are sooo grateful for you!!!    We will be driving to Seattle in the morning to pick up baby “Marvelous” .  We are meeting her foster family at around 9:30am! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God is so good! Wow, how our lives have changed in the past 24 hours!! :o)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breaking News!!!!!!!!!!~By Kyle

 Everyone, we just got word in literally the past few minutes that Benjamin has a baby sister!!! We are actually right in the middle of a home study right now to renew our license to adopt, and Shane, our home study guy, is as shocked as us! God is so good! We have always hoped that we might be able to adopt any of Benjamin's siblings, so we are celebrating right now! We just might have a new sister! Please Pray! More details soon . . .

 Update: Mommy just called the Social worker back and learned a few additional details. Our little sister was born on Valentines Day and was released from the hospital three days later, being placed with a temporary foster home. The fact that she was released within three days of being born is a very positive sign of her health condition. There is a court date tomorrow, so we could possibly even be bringing her home tomorrow.  All the details are still fuzzy, so bear with us, and pray!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rock work update, and second installment of my short story~By Kyle

 
Hi everyone! I have the second part of my story posted below, but first an update: I am officially on the home stretch of the rock work project! As you can see below, I have the main slope finished!
 
 

 
All I have left to do now is this slope (above the main rock slope) and . . .
 
 
this one parallel to the road to the barn.
 

 
It's not long now! I am hoping to have it done soon!


 
-------

Here is the second part of my story! I have decided to extend it to four parts now, just to allow for a fair treatment of the elements I wanted in this story. As I plan on making more short stories in the future, I would appreciate any feedback from you, the readers. Is this enough to read in one sitting, or would you like more/less? Any other suggestions? I would still like ideas for what I should call this story, but they will have to be better than Papa's bid. :0) Look for part three later this week!

Founding Fathers: In the Presence of Titans

 
 
Still wrapped in thought at my strange turn of events, I turned onto I-95, heading south towards Baltimore. As I began to accelerate down the on-ramp, George Washington cleared his throat besides me. I glanced at him and was surprised to see something close to fear showing through his calm features, or maybe disturbance is a better word, because the president's commanding face seemed almost incapable of expressing fear. His hands, white-knuckled, tightly clenched the sides of his seat. I raised an eyebrow at him, and noticing that I was watching him, the president made a weak attempt at regaining his composure. He quickly released his hold on the chair and fell instead to straightening his vest, then, clearing his throat again, said, “Your carriage moves remarkably fast, lad.”
 
I smiled, and Washington continued, “My throat is suddenly dry; may I?” He gestured towards the bottle of root beer lying between us.
 
My smile disappeared. In the strange events of the past few minutes, I had naturally forgotten about the snacks I had planned to consume on my ordinary travel home. Now that they were brought back to my attention, though, I was not sure that I was ready to share anything with these strange men. I figured sharing one root beer wouldn’t hurt, though, so I gave the go ahead. I would only be in the company of these men for a fraction of an hour, anyway. Or so I thought.
 
After politely thanking me, George Washington picked up my A&W Root Beer. He looked the bottle over for a minute, then pulled at the cap. Surprise showed on his face when this first pull failed, and he tried again. My smile returned as I watched him. He tugged at it several times, but finally he said to me, “The cork seems to be stuck. Do you have a mechanism I could extricate it with?” This was the closest to grumbling that I ever heard from George Washington.
 
“Twist it,” I offered, trying hard to keep from laughing.
 
The president followed my advice and finally got the “cork” off. He took a sip from the soda but coughed and nearly spit it back out. “Very“—he hesitated—“interesting.” He passed the drink back to Benjamin Rush. “Taste this, doctor. It bubbles in my throat as if it were alive.”

 I don’t know what it was, but it seemed as though there was a catch in George Washington’s voice when he addressed Benjamin Rush. It seemed to me that there had been a tension between the two men from the start of my brief time with them. I wondered at this and at first had credited it to the strangeness of the world they had been thrust into, but now I guessed that there was perhaps something more. They were by no means hostile towards each other, but nevertheless, they seemed to hold themselves at a distance.

Benjamin Rush set down his medical book and took the root beer, calmly raising it to his lips, but he too choked on his first mouthful. He then turned the plastic bottle over in his hands as he studied it. “root beer,” he said at last from where he sat behind me. “Is this beer made out of some kind of herbal root?”

“Uh, no.”

The doctor shrugged and passed it to Benjamin Franklin, who eagerly took the bottle. “I hope that is not your primary drink here in America now, for I doubt not that the health benefits are much better in the beer of our taverns than that drink.” Without another word, Dr. Rush turned back to his book.

Benjamin Franklin took a sip and was able to hold it down. In fact, he tipped the bottle back and drained about half of the contents. His friendly gray eyes twinkled as he handed the drink back to the front, and he said, “Ethan, I hope you have not been offended by the mean comments of my comrades towards your drink. I find it to be very refreshing.” The rotund man let out a contented sigh, which was cut short by a burp.

I laughed. “No, I was not offended.” I returned Benjamin Franklin’s smile, and it was then, I think, that I realized it: like it or not, I was gaining a sort of fondness for these three men.

Our conversations still failed to last all that long, though, for I didn’t know what to say to the men, and the three founding fathers couldn’t really get a good grasp on any of the aspects of my life to use as a springboard for a conversation. So scarce was our interaction, that I even turned the radio on, but before I could find a station, I had turned it off because of the rapid stream of questions that again started pouring from Mr. Franklin. As I listened to one of the corpulent inventor’s long and detailed questions, Benjamin Rush caught my eye in the rear-view mirror and smiled wryly at me as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. Tearing two strips from the kerchief, he stuffed the strips in his ears and resumed his reading.

I was thankful for the rush-hour traffic I got snarled in as we came in sight of Baltimore, for I almost regretted having to leave the men so soon. I also was fighting an inner battle, for I knew that reaching the car-dealership meant that a pretty embarrassing confrontation was soon forthcoming. Though the men were sincere in their intent to buy a “carriage” to transport them back to their home city, I knew that it was very unlikely that they could buy a car. Even if they had sufficient funds (which I knew they did not), they probably did not have a driver’s license or any of the other necessary requirements. Unless they really were not who they said they were, which I found more and more unlikely, the three men were powerless to buy a car. I had known this from the start, but it hadn’t particularly troubled me. My plan had been to escort the three to the car dealership and leave them there with a  smile and a hearty farewell, effectively dumping them.

 This plan bothered me now.

We arrived at the dealership, and the three men thanked me heartily as they climbed out of my car. Through all of this I remained silent, the battle within me reaching a feverish pitch.

Benjamin Rush went around the back of the car and made as if to help the other Benjamin out of the car, but the inventor held up his hand. “Never mind me,” he said. “Give me a second.” The portly founding father rocked back and forth several times, gaining enough momentum to heft himself from the seat of my car. He managed to stand upright and flashed the doctor a smug smile.

“Gabby old gentleman,” Dr. Rush said under his breath, not looking all that pleased with Benjamin Franklin’s charade.

George Washington bent down and shook my hand before he closed the passenger’s door to my car. “Thank you, Ethan, for your service to me and my companions.” He handed me several silver coins. “Here, take these as payment for your most gracious help. I am glad to have met you, for you proved yourself a trustworthy companion. Our Lord’s blessing be upon you.” He stepped back and closed the door.

The sound of the door closing and the president’s last words rang in my ears, and I looked down at the coins in my hands. Like everything else about the men, they were odd. I felt sure they were not from this century—and they were real. As I looked at the Spanish dollar coins, a primary money of the early Americans, something finally clicked inside me. The coins were real, and the men were real! They had done nothing to discount who they claimed they were, quite the opposite.

I almost frantically opened my car door and stood up, calling after the founding fathers, “Wait!”

The three of them had walked some twenty feet away from me and were looking around at the many cars displayed before them. Already a salesperson was heading towards them, like a shark bearing down on its unsuspecting prey, as the men stood with hands in their pockets, looking very out of place. They turned towards me, and President Washington said, “Are you all right, lad?”

I motioned for them to come back. “I need to ask you something.”

“Certainly.” George Washington and his two companions walked back to my car, standing in a half circle around me.

“Friends—if you don’t mind me calling you such,” I said, as surprised with myself for calling them “friends” as they must have been. “I need to ask this: are you really who you say you are? Please tell me the truth.”

Benjamin Franklin, with a bemused look on his face, was the first to respond. “Yes, did you think we were playacting?”

George Washington shook his head and spoke levelly, “Ethan, I do not blame you for not crediting it as possible that we were actual at first. Indeed, if I had been in your place, I would have scoffed at the very idea that someone from a different age could stand before me, but here we are. We are who we claim to be. But a short time ago these two gentlemen and I were in Philadelphia in the year 1789, my first as president over these United States.”

“I am sorry I doubted you.” I meant it. Glancing away from George Washington, I saw that the salesman was striding towards our group with a broad smile on his face, a smile that kept the shark metaphor intact as I imagined a Great White opening its jaws to receive its prey. “Please get back in my car.” I quickly returned to my seat inside the car, and my three friends did the same.

The salesman, now nearly running, reached my car as my engine coughed to life. He tapped on my window, almost wildly gesturing for me to roll it down. I did, and a sale’s pitch poured from his mouth like a well-oiled machine starting to life. I almost felt sorry for the clearly desperate man, crushing his hopes of a needed commission in such a way. But not sorry enough to cut off his sale’s pitch.

“I’m sorry,” I said, beginning to roll my window back up. “There’s been a misunderstanding; I was just letting these old gentlemen stretch their legs. Poor fellows, they were pretty cramped after two centuries of residing in a casket. Goodbye.”

Now my shark looked more like a fish out of water, his mouth opening and closing as if he was unaccustomed to the air. “Sir?” he managed at last, but by that time I had my window rolled up and was driving past him.

*****

“You would not have been able to purchase a car with any of your money. You see,” I said, holding up a ten dollar bill, “this is what our currency looks like now.” We were parked on a side street in Baltimore a few minutes after leaving sharky behind.

“Is that the likeness of the gentleman Alexander Hamilton?” George Washington asked, looking closely at the face on the bill.

I shrugged. “I guess so.”

George Washington looked up at me sharply, surprise showing on his face. “You seem to know about me and my two comrades, but you don’t seem to know of Mr. Hamilton?”

I shuffled my feet. “Well, I probably heard of him in school, but after taking my history test, I just kind of forgot about him I guess.”

 George frowned as he handed the bill to Benjamin Rush. “You would do well to learn of him, Ethan. He was a great man.”

“So how much does a carriage cost in America now?” Benjamin Rush asked as he studied the bill, reverting the conversation back to it. “Could not a handful of these ten dollar notes buy a sufficient carriage?”

I stared at the doctor, then laughed. “No, you can barely buy a used car for three thousand dollars.”

All three of the gentleman stared back at me now. “Three thousand dollars,” Benjamin Rush replied in an almost awestruck tone. “Surely no one can buy such lavishly priced things.”

“No.” George Washington shook his head. “It must be the dollar; it has depreciated very much like the continentals of our age.” Concern showed now on the president’s face. “Ethan, what is the state of the economy in America today?”

I thought for a while, not sure how to answer this question. My parents had talked, of course, of the collapses of our economy in the past few years, and I had heard the grumblings of my older relatives at the prices of this and that and of how they used to be able to buy things at a fraction of the price, but this really hadn’t personally bothered me. To me it was just the way things were, as I had not lived long enough to know anything different. “I . . . I guess I don’t really know,” I said. “My parents talk of things like the ‘fiscal cliff’ or our ‘national debt’, of how our nation is headed for hard times, but I don’t really know much about that.”

George Washington looked at me gravely. “Son, if America is headed for rough times, it is not something to be taken lightly.”

I nodded, not knowing what to say in reply, but thankfully Benjamin Franklin spoke up, “Mr. President, if I may, let us turn to other things. We must come up with some accommodating plan or another to get us back to our abodes or to somewhere useful. The township of Baltimore has grown to remarkable proportions, but nevertheless, it is still useless to us.”

“I can take you wherever you would like,” I said evenly.

George Washington’s grave appearance dissipated as his calm composure again took over. “Ethan, we thank you for your services and friendship, but we cannot require anything more from you.”

“No, it is okay. I want to help you.” I was surprised at the almost earnest tone of my voice.

“If our young friend truly wishes to bear us for a while longer, I propose we head either to Philadelphia or to the land where the president of our beloved nation now resides,” Benjamin Franklin proposed. “I am sure that at the remarkable speed of our friend’s carriage, we could reach either place before many hours have passed, possibly even before nightfall.” With these last words, Benjamin Franklin looked at the sun, which was still a good distance from the western horizon.

Benjamin Rush and the president agreed to this plan. “But let us let Ethan decide as to which of the two destinations he would like to transport us to,” George Washington added.

“Well, Washington D.C. is about an hour closer than Philadelphia, so taking you there would be more convenient,” I offered.

George Washington nodded. “So be it. Bear us there.”


 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

MY Most Embarrasing Moment~ By Victoria

In case you haven't read Kyle's post below, make sure you read that first!! This is a follow up to his. :o)

My most embarrassing moment (and the only one I can remember at the time) happened only a few months ago... Caroline and I were off to a friend’s house to work with their horses. We set off knowing that we needed to stop and get gas at some point. So... being new drivers, and never having gotten gas before, we were both a little nervous. :o) We were running late, so we called home to ask Daddy how to get gas after we left, instead of asking before we left! So, after a run through of what you do to get gas, I was feeling pretty good about it. Caroline and I talked for a while and eventually decided I would get the gas. Caroline was driving and I was the passenger. We pulled up to the pump after waiting a few minutes in line (the station was packed full of cars, I must mention), and I jumped out trying to act like I new exactly what I was doing. I walked straight up to the pump, stuck the card in, pushed all the buttons and when “start pumping gas" came across the screen, I was feeling pretty good. I grabbed the handle on the pump and turned around.... To my horror, I realized my big mistake. I hadn't taken off the tank cap, therefore didn't realize it was on the other side of the car!!! AHHHH! Now what??? I knew the hose wouldn't reach to the other side... Caroline was sitting in the car watching as I turned around.  My eyes got big, and I slinked up to the window and loudly whispered " it's on the other side!!!" We decided our only option was for Caroline to turn around... so she began to turn around. May I mention again that the whole gas station was filled with people, and to top it all off, there was a car waiting right smack behind us, who, after seeing Caroline drive out, started to pull in to our spot. I was still standing there holding the pump, and I just about died there where I stood. It was awful... I wanted to melt into the ground!! So, as I'm standing there, by myself, holding the gas pump, Caroline was doing a great job of backing and driving forward, backing and driving forward, and eventually turning around. The person who was behind us realized what was going on and backed up, then Caroline pulled in the correct way. I filled the tank, put the handle back, jumped in the car, and wanted to get out of there as fast as I could! We drove away and just start laughing. I then looked in my mirror and saw the gas tank door still open on the car. Great.  "Pull over, Caroline," I said, "the tank door is still open!!"

Well, that is, and hopefully will be for some time, my most embarrassing moment. :o)

Most embarrassing moments~By Kyle


I don't know what it is with our family, but we love telling our most embarrassing moments over and over. I guess in a way we wear it as a badge of honor, as we each think that we have the best story of our embarrassment, or maybe it's just some cheap comedy. Now that I think about it, possibly this is just another quirk about our rather strange family, but the laughs that come after one of our family's "classic" embarrassment stories is told make it all worth it . . . at the cost of one of us who would rather have that certain moment be forgotten. :0) So, what are your most (appropriate) embarrassing moments? Don't worry, we won't laugh (yeah right!). Here are two of mine that, regrettably, come to mind:

 My first embarrassing moment happened in a place you wouldn't expect, a San Francisco boardwalk. I was having such a great time there . . .  right up until the moment my family will never let me forget. My little brothers had spotted a carousel on that boardwalk we walked down that evening, and after a good amount of pleading, they had won my parents over. As I watched their happy little faces as they rode on that carousel a few minutes later, I felt happy that they were enjoying their trip around and around in pointless circles on plastic horses so much. Feeling bored, and still watching my bros, I reached down to the cup holder of our stroller and picked up Mommy's latte. I had barely taken a sip when I realized my mistake, and the rest, as they say, is history. That was not our stroller that I had pilfered the latte from, neither was the latte my mom's. In the blur of confusion and embarrassment that followed, I distinctly remember the shocked look on the young mom's face as she saw a stranger nonchalantly sipping her latte. It is fabled by my family that I still had whipped cream on my upper lip as a torrent of sincere apologies flowed from both me and my parents. As far as I remember, the shocked young mom took it all in stride, even shrugging off the money offered to pay for the "spoiled" latte, but needless to say, I couldn't leave that boardwalk quickly enough.

My second most prevalent embarrassment happened but a few weeks ago. I had just finished a trapshoot out at Morton and was ravenously hungry on my way back home. I stopped at the Chevron gas station in Morton to get me some grub, and that is when it happened.  I found a 1.50 bag of my favorite jalapeƱo chips and made myself a self-serve hot dog, making sure to glob plenty of ketchup all over it (yeah, the lunch of champions). Maybe it was my hunger on steroids that helped along this moment, or maybe it was just a simple oversight, but whatever the case, I was in for a whopper of a surprise when I went up to pay for my food.
     Still oblivious to my impending doom, I set my lunch of champions down on the counter and reached for my wallet, smiling to the little Hispanic cashier as I did. But when I opened my wallet, I was in for my first shock  . . . I didn’t have any cash. I should have known, for I had used all my cash to pay for my trapshooting rounds. Now a little flustered, I still thought, No problem, I will just use my debit card! My confidence restored, I smiled again to the cashier (who was waiting patiently) as I turned over my wallet to get my card. My confidence was short-lived, though, because – Surprise, surprise! – I didn’t have my debit card, either. My mind suddenly flashed back to earlier in the day when I had bought something off the computer . . . and left my card outside my wallet. The palms of my hands sweating a little now, I again looked, almost desperately, over my wallet again. A faint glimmer of hope came over me as I found a check given to me for Christmas, but that hope was also short lived.
     “I don’t suppose this would work?” I asked the cashier, holding up the check. The cashier, who didn’t completely speak English, didn’t know, so she had to consult with another cashier at the store, who assured me that the check wouldn’t work. "Um, let me go look in my car," I said.
     I must admit that as I searched through our little Ford Focus, the thought of simply fleeing from the place crossed my mind. But no. I desperately searched the car, and I found a nickel--only a nickel. Throwing the nickel almost with disdain back into the car, as if it was causing the problem, I returned to the cashier. By now, another cashier had heard of my plight, and she said as I approached, "Don't worry about it; we loaned you the money for the hot dog and will return the chips." I made sure to thank them profusely.
     I am sure many hot dogs have been devoured in remarkable time, but none have been so unceremoniously downed as fast as I devoured that hot dog inside my car. I left within seconds. But alas, this story is not complete, for I still had to repay the loan next Saturday. You can imagine how fun that was. "Um, I bought-- well, I was going to buy-- a hot dog the last time I was here, but I didn't have any means to buy it, and the cashier loaned me the money to pay for it. Here is the 1.30$ back." Sigh, that was just great.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My short story~By Kyle

Hi everyone! To practice my writing skills and after having this great idea (at least in my opinion) pop up in my brain, I wrote the story below. I have not come up with a name for it yet. Any suggestions as to what I should call it?
 
-------
I suppose you could say I was having a good day that bright midsummer day, the day I will not soon forget, for it certainly had not been a bad day. It was a beautiful day, nonetheless, with the sun well into its journey across the sky and a warm breeze blowing through my loose T-shirt. This is the time of year I love here in my hometown just to the north of Baltimore, when the Maryland breeze occasionally relieves you from the typically humid summer days. 

I also love summer because every time that season rolls around I grow a year older. In fact, I had just turned seventeen a few weeks ago. That is when my dad had informed me of a change in my life. I still remember his words clearly. “Ethan,” he had said, “since you are a year older and now have your driver’s license, I have looked into finding you a job over the summer. Now don’t rush to conclusions,” he had quickly added when he saw my face cloud over, the blissful thoughts I had had of spending afternoon after afternoon with my friends vanishing. “It is time you started becoming a man. Besides, you might just come to like it.”

I had come to like it. As I stopped at a store on my way back from my summer job that day, I loved the feeling of having some extra cash in my pocket. Like any other teenager, I bought quite a few snacks with my money, but the snacks I buy are different.  Instead of an energy drink and candy bar, my favorite snack was a bag of fresh cherries from the produce isle and a root beer. I suppose I am kind of strange in that regards. As I headed back to my car with cherries, root beer, and several groceries for my parents in tow, though, I figured that being different wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, at least in regards to my snack preferences.

I had just popped one of the cherries in my mouth when suddenly a bright light burst from the parking lot. The light was so bright that I fell to my knees and shielded my eyes, and how I kept from choking on the cherry in my mouth still puzzles me. A sound like air whistling through the smallest crack in a door surrounded me, and if I had not had to shield my eyes, I probably would have covered my ears against the piercing sound. I don’t know how long I kneeled there before the sound subsided and the light faded and died away, but needless to say, I was glad when it was over.

A deathly quiet seemed to fill the parking lot after this strange sensation, or maybe it just seemed that way after the ear-piecing sound. In any case, the slight breeze had ceased to blow, and the few persons in the parking lot were just as hushed and looked just as bewildered as I felt. I rose to my feet and quickly gathered my few groceries, thinking it best to leave the place as soon as possible. I figured that whatever that strange sensation was, it was not something to stick around for and hope it happened again. But as I approached my car, my life was changed forever. It was changed far more than any summer job. In fact, as I look back on it now, I think I was changed more in the next few hours than ever before since I was born.

It was as I approached my car that I saw them, the authors of the change in my life. Three men, all three of them oddly dressed, stood around my car. To say they were oddly dressed would be an understatement, though, for their clothes were very odd. Even in the heat, all three wore a buttoned up vest over their white, ruffled long-sleeved shirts. They all also wore straight brown breeches, and their white socks pushed out of their pilgrim-like shoes. Two of the men stood on either side of my car, watching me approach, but the other, who was by far the most rotund of the group, seemed to be trying to look at the undercarriage of my car. This third figure was bent over with his head under the bumper of my car, and as I drew near, I could hear him mumbling something to the effect of “Astonishing, simply astonishing.”

I thought about engaging these odd humans in a conversation but decided against it. Stomping past them, I opened the trunk of my car and deposited all but my root beer and bag of cherries into it. I then slammed the trunk back shut with a bang and walked towards the driver’s side door, hoping that the strangers would get the message and back off, especially the one with his head still under the front bumper of my car.

They didn’t. The man closest to me, who stood taller than me and whose face was slightly scared by chickenpox, shifted his position and tried to catch my eye before he said, “Good sir, please, I would have a word with you.” The man’s voice was level and controlled.

I turned towards the man for the first time and looked into his eyes. I was struck by the commanding features of the man, and also by how familiar he seemed. Whoever he was, it was clear that the man that levelly met my gaze was a born leader. “Yes?” The tone of my voice made it clear that I was not all that fond of obliging to his request.

“Sir, my three comrades and I seem to have been brought together by providence in this strange land. Why or how we are here, none of us can tell, but if you would be so kind as to give us an understanding of where we are, I am sure we would all be grateful.”

Are these men insane? I thought to myself, staring at the earnest face of the man. The man had looked and sounded sincere, but how in the world did he not know where he was? And why was he speaking so funny?  “Um,” I said out loud, “you are in a parking lot in a small town just outside of Baltimore, and are in the state of Maryland in the United States.” As I said this, I opened the driver’s door of my car and threw my soda and cherries onto the middle seat.

Suddenly the face of the man in front of me looked as startled and confused as mine must have looked. He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came, and he stood with mouth agape. The man on the other side of the car, whose fine face showed just as much surprise as his comrade, took a step closer to me, and the third man jerked his head up so quickly that he banged it against the bumper of my car.

“America?” the second figure said, his light colored eyes staring intently back into my own. “We are in America? But that can’t be possible. These strange wagons, everything . . .” the man’s voice trailed off, and his eyes broke away from mine as he looked around him.

In reply, I threw my hands into the air and sat down inside my car, fully prepared to leave the supposed escapees from the insane asylum in the dust. I inserted the key to my car into the keyhole, but before I could slam my door shut, the first man regained his composure enough to grab the door and keep it from closing.

“Please wait, lad, please.”  The man pried the door open and kneeled down so that we were at eye level again. “You said that we are in Maryland, near the town of Baltimore, and though I hardly find that possible, you do not seem to be lying. Please, we would like to get back to Philadelphia, where I hold the title of president over these United States and where my two friends live. Could you guide us to a place where we could attain a sufficient carriage like your own?”

“Oh, are you sure you don’t want to go to Washington D.C.? Being the president, don’t you want to go to where the leadership of our country resides?” I asked, unable to keep from mocking. “And as far as buying yourself a ‘carriage’, there is not a car dealership within twenty miles of here.”

Again the supposed “president” looked bewildered, mixed only with a crestfallen look. “Washington D.C? If you mean the land near the Potomac, it is hardly developed.” An earnest look again reasserted itself on the man’s face, and he continued, “Sir, I do not mean to presume on your kindness, but one of my friends is in no condition to walk twenty miles. If you are inclined, could you perhaps bear us in your carriage, at least for a time?”

“Well, I am not ‘inclined’. I don’t even know your names, let alone why in the blazes you are here without a car,” I said quickly. The thought of transporting these lunatics anywhere strongly disagreed with me.

“I am sorry, sir,” the second, fine-faced man said, coming around my car so that he faced me. “Perhaps my comrade presumed that you would know him as most everybody in America does, well, at least in our age. He is our president, George Washington, I am Benjamin Rush, and this third gentleman is—“

“Benjamin Franklin,” I finished for him, looking into the face of the rather pudgy man, the exact likeness of the face on the Quaker Oat’s box, who had finally straightened up while still holding his head. “Your costumes are praiseworthy, but your masks must be getting uncomfortable. Why not peel them off?”

I again made to close my door, but “Washington’s” fingers still kept it ajar. “I don’t know what we have done to receive your prejudice,” he said quietly, but still evenly, to me. “Indeed, you are behaving yourself as someone below your age. But I am not in a position to criticize you. For pity’s sake, could you not bear us to either Philadelphia or the District of Columbia, or at least to a place where we could ascertain a carriage? You will be well paid.” With these last words, he pulled a wad of odd looking paper from his vest but then quickly returned them to his pocket. “No, I will not waste your time by offering you Continentals. They are increasingly worthless in our day, and I doubt not that they have ceased to be used in your age. Perhaps the Spanish dollar still retains value in your society? I am sure that between me and my fellows, we could offer you a sufficient amount of the coin.” 

I shook my head. “I have to get back home. I’m sorry.” I suppose that was partly a lie on both counts, for I did not really have to get home and neither was I all that sorry.

George Washington stepped back, resign showing in his face, but then Benjamin Franklin’s double spoke for the first time, “Sir, or would you rather be called lad, we seem to be in a proverbial stalemate. You would like to get back to your hovel, or whatever you call them now, and we also would like to get back to our home city. You seem to be ill inclined to us, but we require the service of your cart and will pay you well. As I once said, ‘When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner here both sides must part with some of their demands, in order that they may join in some accommodating proposition*’.”

Benjamin paused as if to let his words sink in. “Perhaps it is time for us to make a compromise, lad,” he continued at last. “By virtue of example, let’s say that instead of you journeying with us all the way to Philadelphia, you just take us to a place where we can buy a horseless carriage. It is horseless, isn’t it?” Benjamin asked, his eyes gleaming now as he peered over the rims of his glasses.

Yes, it is horseless,” I said, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. Whoever the members of this strange group claimed to be, I had resolved to try and not look too juvenile to them, especially under the level gaze of George Washington’s imposter. “And I don’t think a compromise can be made. Goodbye.”

I finally managed to close my car door and turned the key. My engine coughed to life. Though I was very proud of my first car, it was the definition of a “beater”. Putting it in drive, I began to roll away from the group.

I will never know why I looked back, but that is what I did. Perhaps I really did believe, or really wanted to believe, that the strangers were who they claimed to be. Maybe it was something else, something like the “providence” George Washington had mentioned earlier. My eyes met with those of George Washington’s, and I couldn’t hold his gaze. I looked at Benjamin Rush, who stood by Benjamin Franklin and seemed to be looking the round man over carefully. Mr. Franklin himself looked to be the least forlorn of the group, his gray eyes searching intently over my car still.

My foot rested over the brake pedal, then pushed against it, and I realized that the last thing I wanted to do was leave these three men behind. At least not yet, I thought. Give them a chance.

I rolled down my window, and this time I could hold Washington’s gaze. “Well,” I called out, “maybe I could get you as far as a car dealership.”

A smile slowly spread over our first president’s commanding face, and he bowed. “Thank you, sir, we are greatly indebted to you.”

The three approached, and Benjamin Franklin said cheerfully, “Thank you for obliging, lad. It is about time I set off on another adventure. I am ready to embark on this new quest.”

“You will do no such thing,” Benjamin Rush retorted. “You are an old gentleman—no, a very old gentleman—suffering from multiple health disorders. I will not allow you to do anything more than what is necessary to get you back to your abode.”

“Nonsense, good doctor,” Franklin replied, “I feel reinvigorated, like eating a bowl of warm stew after coming in from the cold. I don’t know what it is, but I feel younger. Maybe the time travel we all just went through has rewound my clock a little bit in the process. Whatever the case, I feel to be back in my sixties at least, and I do not doubt I could go skipping about the countryside again as I did in my youth.”

“Oh, I can assure you that you will not be doing any skipping,” Dr. Rush said dryly, taking the smiling old man by the arm and leading him to the door of my car.

 Each of the men managed to open the door of my car and seated themselves in it. George Washington, or at least his imitator, sat beside me in the front passenger’s seat while his two comrades headed for the back seats. The more rotund of the two Benjamins sat directly behind the president, and Dr. Rush sat behind me.

As I let my car start moving again, I called out, “Seatbelts, everyone.” The blank looks of the three men was all I received for an answer, so I again stopped the car to show them how to fasten the safety devices. After three clicks told me that each of the men was belted in, I finally was able to successfully leave the parking lot.

“I will take you to where I bought my ‘carriage’,” I informed. “It is a fairly decent used-car dealership in the suburbs of Baltimore.”

The president beside me, who seemed to naturally assume the leadership of the strange group, thanked me, and an awkward silence filled the car, broken only by a clicking sound. I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw that Benjamin Franklin was bent over his seatbelt buckle. He occasionally un-buckled the seatbelt and then, after carefully studying the medal end of the belt, re-buckled it, only to repeat the process intently again. I rolled my eyes and turned them back to the road.

Finally the man next to me broke the silence. “I don’t think we ever gained the knowledge of your name, sir,” he said.

“I’m Ethan,” I returned simply, not looking away from the road before me.

“Ethan,” George repeated slowly, “that is a good name, like the name of a great soldier I knew.”

I shrugged, and our brief conversation ended. Benjamin Franklin, however, seemed to be roused from his study of the seatbelt at this short interchange and leaned forward. “Ethan, I would like to receive an understanding of how your marvelous horseless carriage works. Are you willing to answer a few questions?”

I should have known better from the knowing glance the doctor and president exchanged than to agree to this request, but I didn’t. I nodded, and that was all the confirmation the rotund founding father needed.  A rapid stream of questions poured from his mouth, and I was hard pressed to answer the sheer number of them all and the complexity contained in them.

I finally tried to fend off this nearly vicious stream of questions. “I need to call my dad and tell him why I will be a little late for dinner,” I said, grasping at anything to change the subject.

Benjamin Franklin stopped mid-question, and Benjamin Rush glanced up from a book that had somehow come through the time travel with him. It was entitled A New Method of Chemistry, including the Theory and Practice of the Art **.  The three of them watched as I got out my cell phone and dialed my dad.

The cell phone rang three times, and then the familiar voice of my dad came through. “Hello, Ethan?”

“Hi, Dad. I just wanted to let you know that I might not be able to make it for dinner. I am running an errand for George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Benjamin Rush.”

There was a long pause on the other end. “What in the world are you talking about, son? Are George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Benjamin Rush the nicknames of your friends or something?”

“Nope,” I replied. “They claim to be and look like the real deals, Benjamin Franklin especially.”

“Ethan, have you lost your mind?”

“I sure hope not.” I was surprised at the unsteadiness in my voice when I said this.

My father said something else to me, but I don’t remember what that something was, only remembering the rather distressed tone in his voice. My mind was suddenly far away from the voice coming from my cell phone. “Goodbye, Dad,” and I clicked my phone off. It rang again within seconds, but I turned it off.

Was I going crazy? The thought had never occurred to me. Maybe I was the one who had lost my marbles. I shook this thought off. For now, all I knew was that I was in the company of three men who had been dead for two centuries, three men who were titans in my country’s early history. That in itself was enough to think about. If I had known how much my life would be changed in the next few hours, though, I believe I would have been overwhelmed in that moment.
 

* Cited from James Madison’s Journal of the Constitutional Convention.
** A book authored by Herman Boerhaave, a Dutch physician that Benjamin Rush studied. It was translated into English by Peter Shaw, an English physician.
-------
That's all for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed the first half of my story? Look for the next half next week!