Visiting the Liberty Bell on one of the hottest days of the year (because that’s what parents do)

On one of the hottest days of the summer our sons and I drove up to see two of their cousins, who live outside Philadelphia.

We rode the SEPTA commuter train into the city, got off, and walked for hours and hours in the blazing heat, sweat dripping from us, nothing to drink in sight, and all to see some old bell with a crack in it.

If our sons were writing this blog, that’s what they might say. In reality, though, we walked a few blocks, had lunch, walked less than a block to see the Liberty Bell, took a short walk to Independence Hall, posed for a few photos, walked back to the train, and rode it back to their cousins’ house.

We didn’t wait more than two minutes for either train. Everyone was well-hydrated. There were lots of laughs and smiles—and even ice cream cones.

It truly was a fantastic day. But there was some whining (though not on the air-conditioned train on the way to the city).

I found myself remembering some of the hot, sweaty summer trips where my parents took us to historic spots around Boston—particularly the trip we took to the Concord Bridge, where the infamous story of the Last Sprite lives on in our memories, at least.

I think my brother, sister-in-law, and I incorporated just enough sweat and heat and tired feet so that the kids will know that one day when they become parents, they need to inflict the same kind of experience on their children.

And look at all they learned! This morning Daniel came to me and said, “Was that really the biggest bell in the whole entire universe?”

Um, well, no. So maybe next time, even if people are whining about how much their feet hurt, we should read the information in the exhibit.

Or maybe I should throw them in the car and take them back today. I hear we’re going to hit 105 degrees. What a perfect day to learn a little American history!

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.