Making Up Is Hard To Do
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, was the Ambassador to France succeeding Benjamin Franklin in 1785.
Making Up is Hard to Do
Friday, September 12, 2003
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Parler Paris reader Mary Ruth B. wanted to know where I found the quote: “America probably would not have won its freedom from the British…” I’m so glad you asked!
The American Park Network’s opening line on their website just happens to be that…
And interestingly enough, while reading from Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography (in “Paris in Mind” by Jennifer Lee) I got choked up over a plate of Chinese spicy shrimp today at lunch by his words written just after the French Revolution:
“And here I cannot leave this great and good country without expressing my sense of it’s preeminence of character among the nations of the earth. A more benevolent people I have never known, nor greater warmth and devotedness in their select friendships. Their kindness and accommodation to strangers is unparalleled, and the hospitality of Paris is beyond anything I had conceived to be practicable in a large city. Their eminence, too, in science, the communicative dispositions of their scientific men, the politeness of the general manners, the ease and vivacity of their conversation give a charm to their society to be found nowhere else. In a comparison of this with other countries, we have the proof of primacy which was given to Themistocles after the battle of Salamis. Every general voted to himself the first reward of valor, and the second to Themistocles. So ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live? — Certainly, in my own where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest and sweetest affections and recollections of my life. Which would be your second choice? France.” (Autobiography, 1821. )
Did you know he lived in Paris for 5 years from 1784 to 1789?
Another reader today, Mark A. accused me of being crass for saying that we’ve missed all you Americans who haven’t come over since 9-11 for a variety of reasons and how France is making a big effort to get you back with their “Let’s fall in love again?” campaign. Sorry, Mark, I don’t see how wanting to “make up” after all these years of friendship is “crass.” You make your own assumption that “France wants my money…”
No, Mark. France wants your affection. Guess you haven’t been reading closely enough after all this time. I am here to tell you that it’s true. Life in France isn’t about money. It’s about quality of LIFE. That’s why they close their shops in August and aging cheese is an art. That’s why they pay 40% in taxes to have universal health care, garbage pick-up daily and provide higher education for all their children. Making more money isn’t going to make them any richer, but regaining our friendship will.
And if you don’t believe someone who lives here, who will you believe? Maybe Thomas Jefferson?
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. For all of you who want to express yourself on these topics and more, no need to write me…just post your message on our bulletin board (I get a copy and read every one!) for everyone else to enjoy.
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