“The British are coming, the British are coming…” By land, by sea, and by air

With “The Fourth” on a Thursday, many people have turned this into a massive four-day weekend. The roads will be busy, churches sparsely populated, and beaches full with happy, over-toasted people.

As for me, I’m going to be writing most of the day. I have to wrap up a fairly extensive article for my Florida Methodist friends, I need to flesh out a new column for All-Pro-Dad (it’s on “Adulting” – should be fun) and then there are a few thousand people who still look for my musings on this space.


What I don’t have is enough pictures for “5-Photo-Friday”. But I do have this one image. And, even though I already shared it on Facebook it’s worth a look here if you don’t follow me on that platform.

It’s titled. “The British are coming; the British are coming.” You know, from the Longfellow poem about Paul Revere’s famous ride: “One, if by land; two, if by sea; three, if by air….” (Special thanks yesterday’s creative speech-making for that).

My parents walked over to our house for the traditional July 4 hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob etc. We talked about the curious amalgam of events that led up to two “proper” English people living in the tall pines of North Carolina, and I may have said something about the sweet reenactment of 1776 in the women’s World Cup soccer match just a couple of days ago.

So why do I live in the USA?

The entire story could easily fuel a whole new book, but if you don’t know the details I’ll tease you with this anecdote. It’s what my mother usually says in response to the question.

“We live in America because David dropped a tray of tea on the stairs in 1973.”

Folkestone, England, circa late 1973:

So my brother – Geoff – was at a loose end and not sure what to do with his life going forward. A friend from church was heading to an old manor house in the south of England to meet with some people from “Youth With A Mission” (more about YWAM another time). She wanted Geoff to come along but he was not interested.

“Come by the house on your way and if I’m already up I’ll join you for the ride,” he said. She was coming at 7:00 but Geoff stayed up late and didn’t set his alarm.

Around 6:45 my dad was carrying a tray of tea up the stairs, something he did every morning. But this day he did something he’d never done before: around halfway he tripped and dropped the tray.

Then, in the immortal but slightly paraphrased poetry of Clement Moore, “Then out on the stairs there arose such a clatter, Geoffrey sprang from his bed to see what was the matter….”

Geoff went to Crawley, he got involved with YWAM, he met Rosalene from Florida, in 1975 there was a wedding in Sarasota, I came to the USA for two weeks… the rest – and there is a whole lot of that – is history.

So, look out y’all, “The British are coming, the British are coming.”

I, by the way, came by air. Later, my parents came by sea. – DEREK

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