Sister and I love ridiculousness. We clearly love Harry Potter, as exhibited by our trek to The Wizarding World. We also love the musical Hamilton and almost anything that goes along with that these days. As such, while she had already seen the show twice before I had, I invited Sister to be my guest when I purchased overpriced tickets to the Broadway spectacle a little over a year ago. We spent the afternoon before the show on an outing to New Jersey, where we reenacted the famous Hamilton-Burr duel at the exact spot it happened across the river so many years ago. Since duels seem to be a theme in Harry Potter as well, a wizarding duel being the equivalent of a fight, Sister and I made sure to reenact just that sort of magical interaction on the streets of the theme park as well.
With thoughts of magic and history in our brains, when we made plans for our big road trip, I insisted that we stop at Monticello on the way back. I had never visited the plantation, and it seemed to fit in so well with our ongoing magic, history and musical theatre themes. I also truly love history and enjoy learning about all aspects of it, good or bad. After we were treated to a scrumptious breakfast by our ex-aunt in North Carolina, we drove further north so that we could explore Thomas Jefferson's historical home.
It was a bright, hot and sunny Virginian afternoon. We wandered the grounds for a few minutes before hopping on the tour of the house itself. This gave us plenty of time to set the stage for a wizarding slash founding fathers duel, fully equipped with a tricorn hat, colonial garb, and our magical wands. I'm not sure that the man we asked to take our photo had any earthly clue what we were up to, but he obliged nonetheless and documented what might possibly be the best mashup of all time.
After our prize moments of whimsy, we entered the plantation house and participated in a very insightful guided tour. As most people know by now, Thomas Jefferson was one of our most eminent founding fathers, certainly more universally recognized than Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson is revered as the author of the Declaration of Independence, writing the famed words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." At the same time, he owned hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime, having intimate relations with some and fathering several others. While not specifically promoting personal beliefs, our tour guide was very intent on pointing out the stark contrast between Jefferson's words and actions.
In light of recent terrible events in the United States, in addition to an ongoing political climate of negativity, this visit to Monticello seems more impactful than ever. We have come so very far in some ways but in others not at all. We have embraced Thomas Jefferson's profound ideals in theory, but in practice, our country continues to follow in his hypocritical footsteps.
After leaving the plantation, Sister and I drove right through Washington, D.C. and took a few minutes to hop out of the car and take a quick shot of the Washington Monument. I like to think that it still stands as a beacon of hope for what our country was originally established as: a place of freedom and independence for all people. It was an interesting way to end our trip through several of the United States.
I am so happy to have had such a wonderful adventure with one of my younger sisters. We engaged in some of the best moments of ridiculousness I have ever had. We saw magic and mystery, highways and history. The United States is a country worth seeing when its heart remains true.