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A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Glorious Eighth

The 8th of July comes on the 10th this year, in line with the modern custom of pushing celebrations off onto the nearest weekend in order to increase revenues. One cannot expect people to take time off from work simply to celebrate, let alone for employers to give people the day off. This isn't the Middle Ages, after all, when half the year was taken up with holy days and festivals. (They may up for it in the other half. In an agricultural society the work has to be done when it has to be done.)

The Easton Flag
8 July 1776 was the date when the Declaration of Independence was read in public in Philadelphia, Trenton NJ, and Easton PA. In Easton there was a public celebration with a fife and drum corps and the local militia. Robert Levers, Chairman of the Committee of Safety, read the declaration from the steps of the courthouse, which was then in Centre Square, and the crowd gave three huzzahs for the United States and unfurled of a flag bearing a representation of the thirteen colonies.

Back for the bicentennial the city tracked down a descendant of Robert Levers and flew him out to re-enact the reading wearing colonial togs. The courthouse was elsewhere and Centre Square is occupied by a Civil War monument, but a) it's location, location, location and b) the present courthouse has no steps and being situated beside the county prison attracts few tourists.

They also invited Lord and Lady Pomfret, after whose estate of Easton-Neston in Northamptonshire, the Penns named both the city and the county. They presented them with the rose rent, which I understand had been in arrears for two centuries. Perhaps they presented an entire bouquet. Such an act was at odds with the revolutionary fervor that had actuated the original events, but there were no hard feelings. Perhaps the took milord and milady to dinner at the Pomfret Club, a dining club so exclusive that it lets my dad in.

The city has repeated Heritage Days ever since, though without the descendants or Lords. It has expanded to include an encampment of Lenape Indians and (anachronistically enough) civil war re-enactors; as well as fun and games for kiddies, fireworks off a barge in the river, and so on. Driving past the Square today after breakfast with Pere today, we saw a food truck on South Third at Ferry that announced "genuine Egyptian food." Plus ca change, and all that.

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