Pat Shingleton: "Ben and Tom's Notations..."
John Adams suggested that the day should be celebrated "by pomp and parade, with games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..." Independence Day falls in summertime with today's activities including: picnics, baseball, watermelon and hotdog eating contests, and beach trips. Our schedule included a huge backyard picnic, wash tubs stocked with beer and "pop" - super cold from ice house, ice blocks. On the grill, foot-long hotdogs and burgers and wiffle-ball, volleyball or touch football. From Longview Drive the valley offered fireworks blasted skyward from the Conquenessing Country Club, Blue Sky and Spotlight 88 Drive-In Theatres. We'd trek to J-T Frozen Custard to wrap-up the day. In 1776, a systematic network of weather observations only included amateur weather observers scattered throughout the colonies. One of those observers was Benjamin Franklin who conducted weather experiments and examined storm movements. Thomas Jefferson was also an avid observer and for 50 years catalogued systematic records of temperature and related meteorological conditions that were complied at his home in Monticello and in his travels. Historians note that he broke his wrist in Paris in 1786 and continued his observations with his left hand. He owned one of only two barometers in America and purchased 20 thermometers during his life. Archives validate his daily observations and one notation recorded 76 degrees on July 4, 1776.
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