Last October a book titled Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History written and illustrated by Don Brown arrived in the library just in time for me to take it to Georgia for Thanksgiving. I’ve known about this duel far longer than most. As a child, we would sometimes drive by the jail where Aaron Burr was jailed in Warthen, GA. (pronounced Wur-then) on the way to my grandparents. My grandfather’s name was Warthen. My mother lived in Warthen when she was a child. Add in a history buff of a brother and you can see why I’ve know about the duel for so long.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, my brother’s family, ML and I packed up the car and headed toward Tennille, GA. Along the way, I read Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History to ML, my niece and nephew.
We stopped at our favorite roadside barbecue restaurant. It serves the same barbecue and brunswwick stew, I’ve loved for 40 years. The building hasn’t changed either. There’s still sawdust on the floor. And the brunswick stew is the best in the world. Before September 11th, I was known to carry a quart of it on the airplane from Atlanta to Raleigh.
After filling up on barbecue, we stopped at the jail in Warthen. I have a mug shot to prove it.
We arrived in Georgia last weekend to the cd of Hamilton on full blast in my brother’s car. Seeing that his US History paper in high school was titled “Hamiltonism vs Jeffersoniasm,” I was not surprised. What did surprise me is how much ML loved it; even with my brother stopping the music every five seconds to give us a history lesson. She demanded I order a copy for us; not that I hadn’t already planned to get one as soon as we arrived home.
For the past two weekends, we’ve been jamming to Hamilton with three people who most deserve front row tickets to Hamilton. Last weekend, my brother. This weekend, our friend and her son. All were experts on Hamilton before Hamilton was cool. My friend refers to Hamilton as her “historical boyfriend.” There’s nothing like driving your child to camp with three kids in the back singing Hamilton at the top of their lungs.
I confess. I’ve been playing it full blast on my way to work this week. It’s left me in a historical frame of mind. Expect to read about more illustrated, nonfiction books about historical times and places in the very new future.