I’m up to the part of the John Adams biography where he has set sail for a winter’s North Atlantic crossing to France, a truly hazardous six-week passage in the harshest of conditions — even harsher for the crew — and it makes me think how we dread being assigned a middle seat in coach for the eight-hour flight. And how often is the movie one we actually want to see?

A chapter or two earlier, Abigail is described, alone with the children, giant snow drifts outside their home, not having seen her beloved husband in many months. With word of Washington’s ragtag army enduring barely imaginable hardship, underfed in sleet and snow, Abigail writes John:

“Posterity, who are to reap the blessings, will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.”

I think she means us. And I think she is right.


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