Bell ringer

Yesterday the family made a day trip into Old City Philadelphia (thanks by the way to my wife Stacy for taking these photos).  We strolled down 2nd street into Society Hill, South Street, and Queen Village, browsing through cool, funky, dusty shops like Philly Aids Thrift, Mostly Books, and the Book Trader. We ate Vegan sandwiches at the Blackbird on 6th street. We people watched. Locals, tourists, hustlers. Everyone was pretty mellow, thanks to the weather, I suppose. For July in Philly, it was cooler and drier than usual. The city is looking good these days. The mood was chill.

Walking on Pine street we sauntered into the Old Pine Street Presbyterian churchyard, and soaked in the gentle ambience of the dearly departed. Approximately 4000 dead souls are stacked in this small yard, in graves 3, 6, and 9 feet deep. The wood carving statue preaching to the headstones is one George Duffield, pastor of the church in the Revolutionary Era and chaplain of the Continental Congress. Many original Brexiters are buried here, as indicated by the colonial flags: people who hung with George Washington, Ben Franklin, and other founders. Some are commemorated by descriptive plaques. This one called out to me:


William Hurry served in the Philadelphia city militia and was sexton and official bell ringer at the Pennsylvania State House (better known as Independence Hall). On July 8, Hurry rang the bell (i.e. the Liberty Bell) that summoned the crowd to the state house to hear the first public reading of the Declaration on Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident….”

I’m glad that someone was there to note the fact that William Hurry rang the bell. I bet he was proud to have that honor.

Now it’s 240 years later, and I wonder what the souls in the Old Pine Street Presbyterian graveyard would think of our current election season: the pathetic sideshow death match between Grandma Clinton and dadoo-dada Donald Trump. Do these figureheads represent the freedom our colonial forbears struggled for? Should we stand up for something better than this rigged, corrupt, and unrepresentative system?  No comment was forthcoming. I stood and listened to the breeze whispering through old sycamore trees.