A new old treasure.

On one of our recent antiquing excursions I found a new old book. Nothing terribly surprising about that, because books are what I usually have in my hand when leaving antiques shops. Only now that I’m older, no longer a homeschooling mom, and have overflowing bookshelves, I’m a little more discerning about buying books in antiques shops. They have to really catch my eye or tug at my heartstrings. Or be deeply profound. This one was all three.


It was a little scruffy looking on the outside, but the name “Eric Sloane” told me there was good stuff inside. I used to buy Eric Sloane’s books for the pictures and historical reference. They would sit on the shelf until I needed to know what a plow or a spinning wheel really looked like. And then one day I read one of his books. Let me tell you, they are historically interesting… but they are also very profound. Mr. Sloan had great insight to what we used to have as Americans and what we’ve lost somewhere along the way. We weren’t in the car five minutes before I started reading aloud quotes from the introduction to Hubby and Daughter Dear. (They’re used to it by now.) This was one of my favorites…

The truth is that 1776 belongs to 1776. We cannot hope to recapture the old ways easily, partly because we have so destroyed our past but also because we ourselves have become different. The godly, frugal, content, thankful, work-loving man of yesterday has now become the money-oriented, extravagant, discontented, thankless, work-shunning man of today. The original spirits of America past have become worn out, obsolete, and not very adaptable to modern living.

What’s amazing to me is that quote was written over thirty years ago. It sure fits for today. Sloane then goes on to quote Abraham Lincoln, written over a hundred years earlier… and I’m sure this quote seemed just as amazing to him. Matter of fact, Eric Sloane called this quote profound…

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Thought you’d like those quotes. July is a Red, White, and Blue month for me… but it’s more than flag waving and firecrackers. It’s honoring the principles our forefathers honored. Common sense and an old-fashioned work ethic. Liberty  and justice and loving God with your heart, mind, and soul. I hope to always have the spirit of 1776, even though it’s 2009.

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