A day or two later, I had an interesting conversation with a friend studying electrical engineering, which led to these topics:
1. His explanation of the waves in AC and other things serious, such as that Ben Franklin could have got himself killed (as someone shortly before did, trying the same thing)
2. My reference to:
a. Mark Twain's essay 'Political Economy', wherein the writer is interrupted by a lightning rod salesman and pretends to knowledge he doesn't have, which results in being duped by the salesman
b. America's Funniest Video on Banana Electrician prank and his filing it away for future use.
c. H.L. Ruata's story about someone who died by getting careless about use of electricity.
d. 'Mary had a little lamb/
It ran into a pylon/
Ten thousand volts shot through the lamb/
And turned its wool to nylon'.
e. Indian electricians in my grandfather's day mistakenly doubling the voltage from 220v to 440v and frying every lightbulb in the house (for which they took no responsibility).
We did not get into all the puns possible about 'revolting', 'resistance', 'ohm' v 'om', 'electrifying', 'shocking' and so on. We just discussed current events.
A person tells me I’ll be charged. I'm positive I will, and I try not to be too negative about the battery of puns
A few days later, I went with friends on an educational field trip to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s and Louisa May Alcott’s homes. At a local church, I rejoiced to see friends whom I had not seen for years. The day after that came another good educational field trip, this time to Quincy, MA, to see various buildings associated with the Adams family: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Henry Adams and several others who greatly contributed to the United States.
Then a third educational field trip, this time to several literary homes in Concord, MA: 1) the Old Manse, built by Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandfather, and where R.W. Emerson came to live after he resigned his pastorate in Boston and before he built his own large white house known as the Emerson house today. Later, Nathaniel Hawthorne came and lived at the Old Manse, from which he wrote 'Mosses from an Old Manse', before he went to work at the Custom House at the Salem, MA, harbor during the administration of President Polk; 2) Emerson House, filled with Emerson memorabilia; 3) Wayside House, lived in by the Alcott family, and the home of the events on which are based Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Women. Later, the Alcott family built and moved into Orchard House (which we saw on a previous trip). When the Alcotts moved out, Hawthorne bought this house from them in 1852 and lived here (except during his post as an ambassador during the Pierce administration) until his own death 28 years later. He built a three-story tower on back, from which he wrote, among other things, Scarlet Letter; 4) Henry David Thoreau's cottage site, and a replica of the cottage, at Walden Pond. Here Thoreau wrote 'Walking' and other works, and his journals combine political philosophy and natural observation.
Then came a fourth educational field trip, this one short and to only one location: Emily Dickinson's house. To dispel two myths about her place: it is not: 1) isolated; 2) small. From the occasional film about her and from her own poems, a person can easily get the impression that she lived in a cottage on a farm surrounded by a huge, impenetrable garden. Actually, she lived in a large, prosperous house on Main Street just a bit out of the town center. Her isolation was not in her geographic situation, only in her own mind and resultant behavior.
Then I had another good service, this time again with people I hadn’t seen in years. I spoke on God’s calling Abraham, the tests in Abraham's life, and his growth as a person following God.
Meanwhile, I received and read two books, both on prayer, by a pastor who writes well stylistically and the content of the books is also worthy. His character backs up his books.
He took me to see traveled to see Harvard, MIT and Brown University, also the Newport, RI, mansions. The day after that, I traveled to see Yale University and the Hartford homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
While in that state, I also enjoyed and was very duly impressed, nay, awestruck, by being the house guest of a couple the lady of which is the most fantastically organized housewife I've ever seen. The place is immaculate and also decorated in a very spare way. This contrasts with my own style, which more closely resembles the chaos of a university professor's office (go see them sometime). My idea of a coffee table would be four stacks of books, equal height, and a thick plate of glass over them. For that matter, a LOT of books could be arranged to make a huge flat surface and a mattress could be placed on top to make a bed. All wall surfaces not used for doors or windows would be bookshelves. I've seen a couple of studies like this—Lew Wallace's, Henry Adams'—these people got it right.