Like an explorer wending his way through the jungles of Africa, I struggled to slice my way through the syntax of the sentence. "Why's that?" I asked.
"Well, turns out that the Continental Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 2, not July 4. And, no one signed it until August. John Adams said that the second of July was going to be the most famous day in the history of America. But the thing is, the year after that, Congress forget that they should do something to celebrate the signing until it was too late, which is why we celebrate it on July the 4th."
I started to place the groceries inside the car.
"What do you think about that?" he asked.
"I think it's a good thing we celebrate July 4th on the 4th, because it would have been a big pain in the ass to ask Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to die on different days," I replied.
"What are you talking about?"
"Both Jefferson and Adams died on the same day. On July 4. In fact, John Adams' last words were, 'Jefferson lives,' which actually isn't true, because Jefferson had died a few hours before he did. He just didn't know it."
"Oh. That's weird."
"Actually, I think it's a good thing. Kind of a weird, wacky, magical coincidence." Suddenly, I was struck, out of the blue, by an idea. "In fact, I know what we should do! We should pass a law so that ALL of our presidents die on July 4th! How American would that be?"
"You want to start killing off ex-Presidents?" asked Corb.
"No, of course not! Just the ones who get really, really old. When they're not doing well, or look as though they're going to kick the bucket soon. Whenever they get the word, from a President's wife or Barbara Walters, Congress could get a committee together and work it so that the ex-President ends up dying on the 4th. The television networks can can make a big deal out of it, too, and we can all celebrate with fireworks and corn chowder, and the ex-Presidents will get to make beautiful final speeches, and everything!"
"Before they cross over to the other side..."
Corb closed the back of the car, groceries dutifully loaded. "You're a real patriot, Ted," said Corb. "Write your congressman, okay?"