Friday, July 4, 2008

Born on the 4th of July

Three score and ten years ago today (divided by two) I was born. Yep, today is officially half my allotted time. And because of that, Americans all over this Nation will be setting off fireworks and getting drunk in celebration. Well, I suppose they are also celebrating the small matter of American Independence as well. An interesting and little-known fact is that without the Welsh there may not be an America or a Constitution. Seventeen signatories of the Declaration of Independence were of Welsh heritage, including Presidents Thomas Jefferson (a fluent Welsh speaker) and John Adams. Indeed, halfway up the steps of the Washington monument is a stone that reads

Fy Iaith, Fy Ngwlad, Fy Nghenedl
Cymry am Byth

Translated from the Welsh it reads: "My Language, My Land, My Countrymen - Wales for Ever". It is the only inscription on the monument other than times, dates, architects and "Laus Deo" ("Praise be to God" in Latin). Why is it there? Who knows, but apparently the mystery will be explored in Dan Brown's new novel (and Da Vinci Code followup) "The Solomon Key". No doubt it was the Cardiff branch of the Knight's Templar!!!

Roughly 1% of the US population are of Welsh descent - a stealthy invasion perhaps, but we'll have you all drinking Welsh beer soon.

Anyway, back to modern day US-based Welshies. I started off my 35th birthday with a run on the Greenbelt with some friends. I did an easy-paced 15 miles to test out my ankle. Some people went on to do more, some did less, but that was just about right for me. It went fine and I enjoyed talking rugby with Gordon, but the ankle's still not right and I was very careful with it. It stiffened up after the run, and right now I am feeling every day of those 35 years.

Still, I managed to get home in time to watch the Nathan's famous hot dog eating contest on ESPN. The "sport" of competitive eating - absolutely gross to watch, but congratulations to Joey Chestnut who successfully defended his title (59 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and the first to consume an extra 5 in a tiebreak "eat off").

Wouldn't like to be stuck in a locked room with any of them after that!!!

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