Shaking Hands With History

This past weekend I accompanied a very dear friend of mine, Jess, to a fundraiser at her church…only this wasn’t just any church. It is the oldest active pulpit in the United States.

You see, Jess works at King’s Chapel.  Built in 1686, her office is 327 years old and part of the historic Freedom Trail which runs through the heart of Boston. When she started working there a little over a year ago, I was ashamed to admit that I, thought I’ve lived in the greater Boston area my entire life, have never actually been to any of the sites of the Freedom Trail. With all this history just about in my backyard, it seems I took it all for granted.

Jess and I chat during work almost daily, I complain about my mind-numbingly dull cubicle life, while she rants about the ridiculous questions tourists ask her. I look up recipes for different ways to cook macaroni and cheese, and she spends her lunch break in a crypt older than this country next to bunch of dead Colonials. Long-story short…she has the coolest office ever!

Needless to say, I got a pretty awesome tour of the place. I got to peek into one of the crypts with a flashlight (I didn’t see it but apparently that particular individual had quite remarkable blonde wig), sit in a pew-box whose seats were stuffed with the original horse hair from when it was first build, and climb to the top of belfry up a set of dauntingly narrow and steep old wooden steps (sometimes older isn’t necessarily better):

(original photo)

(original photo)

At the top of the stairs was something worth all the crypt-dust on my coat and those horrifying stairs: a 2,400 pound bell made my Paul Revere himself! The largest he ever made…

(original photo)

(original photo)

I was absolutely blown away. Here, right in the heart of a bustling city surrounded by gum-chewing students and suited bankers was a piece of living history. As I ran my fingers over the cool metal (yes, I was allowed to touch the bell) I couldn’t help but imagine all the other hands over the past 200-odd years that must have also beheld its awesome size and flawless craftsmanship. How many other people had felt completely humbled by this old bell, weathered by centuries of ocean wind. Perhaps some part of my hand touched a place where Paul Revere’s hands touched.

Touching the bell was like shaking hands with history.



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