I get the podcast for Wait Wait… Don’t Tell me and listen to it on my way to work, or walking around, or just assuming horizontal position and laughing out loud at the funny bits, which is most of the show.
When listening to it on the way to work or walking around I’m prone to sudden bits of laughter. But today I actually learned something. Apparently in certain parts of Britain it is customary to kiss people full on the lips as greetings.
I didn’t know that but then it got me to thinking. Many parts of what is now the UK were once Roman outposts. And the kiss on the lips thing is definitely Roman in origin.
As I study the Italian language and more about the culture I’m constantly reminded of one common theme. Living life to the fullest is what it’s all about for most Italians. I see a strong streak of that in myself and I’m only half Italian. I love life, I love life, good food, good wine, good beer. I love the sunshine, I love absorbing all I can about a subject.
Speaking of that – I like to walk. I do so pretty much everywhere in the city and notice things that I hadn’t seen before. Today I was up where North Main St merges with Benefit St right near Olney St. Sitting on the corner of the University Heights complex is a fairly large tree and I’d never before noticed the plaque at the base of the tree.
That is the Liberty Tree, planted on July 25th, 1768. Yes, RI was out there on the liberty and independence thing a little less than eight years before the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Of course it isn’t the original tree – this one was planted to commemorate it in 1968. But still, it’s pretty cool to live in the birthplace of the modern Democratic movement. Sure, Massachusetts may have been the bigger star, but some pretty damned important stuff happened in Rhode Island too. For example, there was the Burning of the Gaspee which predated the Boston Tea Party. We also gave Nathaniel Greene to the country.
Sheesh – here I was thinking about the little history lesson Wait Wait had given me, and here I am giving one.