01-07-2014 Ben Franklin and Me   2 comments

Energy and persistence conquer all things.

I’m exhausted today. I was up half the night, not from insomnia, but from an e-book I’ve been reading. I downloaded the book from Amazon on a whim never thinking I’d be all that interested once I started reading it. Boy was I ever wrong.

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.

I’ve always been an admirer of  a number of this country’s forefathers but there were three that interested me more than the others. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and of course Benjamin Franklin. Without those three individuals we’d probably still be under the thumb of the British Empire and never have turned into the superpower that we’ve become. That’s the primary reason that I downloaded the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, written by his own hand, and in the language of the day. I wanted to get to know him a little better.

“A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

I have to admit I was expecting very little from the experience but after reading just a few pages I knew I was hooked. I’m now 400 pages into a 2000 page autobiography which started when Mr. Franklin was 5 and I don’t know where it ends because I haven’t finished it yet. It supplied me with a brief but detailed description and history of his immediate family and included a laundry list of his closest friends and acquaintances. It absolutely boggles the mind how things fell together for this man and the number of movers and shakers in the colonies at that time who he’d met and exchanged ideas with.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

I can now understand why his influences were felt throughout the colonies, in England, and throughout Europe. His elegant way of writing is what brought him to the attention of many and now I can be included in that number. He writes in such an honest and simple fashion but conveys so much more than he actually says. It allows you to peek into his brain to understand why he did the many things he did and the decision-making process he developed. After reading just 400 pages I feel like one of his best friends and I’m sure that’s the same effect he had on the people of the time. He loved reading and writing and voicing his opinions and did so whenever possible to whoever would listen. Fortunately for all of us he knew what he was talking about and much of what he said and did was for the benefit of us all.

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.

I’m at the point in the book now where Mr. Franklin is about 22 years old. I can’t put the damn book down and I can’t wait for him to age a few more decades so I can listen to his experiences as a politician and inventor and his extended assignments in Europe which later proved to be crucial to the war effort.

At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty the wit; at forty the judgment.

I just downloaded a second volume containing stories and memoirs of his life again written by his own hand. I can’t wait to read that as well. I’m looking forward to at least four more late nights in order to finish this first volume. I’m taking my time and trying not to miss any of the details or nuances he so artfully fills each paragraph with. I realize subject matter like this will bore some of you and that’s okay but I’ll still be mentioning it because for me it’s exciting. When I read I actually feel like I’m there as he’s writing his book. I feel like I’m standing behind him looking over his shoulder in the candle light as he struggles to put his thoughts in some kind of logical order. I can’t wait for tonight when I can go back to the colonies and sit with Ben Franklin and learn a few more things.

“Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.”

2 responses to “01-07-2014 Ben Franklin and Me

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  1. The snow may have gone away by the time your done. Is it true Ben was into hookers and weed?

    • If he was as smart as I think, he would have been doing both as often as possible. In those days there wasn’t much else to do and from the pictures of the women he would have needed the weed.

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