Sunday, April 06, 2014

Enjoying Spring in California with Sam Clemens

California Poppies
I hear it is still cold in parts of the US.  Not here in California.  My persimmon tree has exploded in green foilage, my lawn is luxuriant, and there are lemons growing on my lemon tree.  The green hills are splashed with the orange of wild poppies and the yellow of wild mustard.  It is a lovely sight to see.

For the past few weeks I have been reading Mark Twain's book, The Innocents Abroad.  In 1867, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) took a voyage and visited places in Europe, Greece and the Middle East.  His tale of the foreign cities and peoples and cultures is fascinating, and made more enjoyable by his sense of humor.

One of the gambits he and his traveling companions enjoyed was baiting the hired guides.  No matter what ancient statue or artifact they were shown, they asked if it were by Michelangelo.  "No, this was made 2,000 years before Michelangelo was born!"

When they were shown a mummy, they asked if he was dead.  "Of course he's dead, he's been dead for 3,000 years!"  What's his name?  "I don't know his name, what does it matter??"  (or words to that effect).

When shown an ancient manuscript penned by Christopher Columbus, they feigned disinterest, and criticized his handwriting.  Their guide quickly concluded that they were lunatics.  I was laughing like a fool as I read these passages, loudly and boisterously -- over a text written 147 years ago!

The Innocents Abroad is a long book, and worth your time.


Adrienne said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm heading to the library in the next few days and will pick it up.

Stogie Chomper said...

You can also get the Kindle edition for next to nothing at Amazon. I read a lot of books on my PC or iPad, using the free Kindle app.

Always On Watch said...

The Innocents Abroad is great fun! A bit Islamophobic too.

The homeschoolers I teach have that bit about Michelangelo in their American Literature textbooks. Students love that selections.

Here in the D.C. area, cherry blossoms are popping. Spring at last!

Stogie Chomper said...

Your students appreciate good humor!

Always On Watch said...

Those free or nearly-free digital books are the way to go! Still, I find myself preferring actual books. This old dog can learn only so many tricks.

Shannon said...

I now have a persimmon tree, too!