I’ll admit to being old enough to remember seeing early reruns of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Two of the recurring characters in the series, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, used their WABAC (pronounced, “way back”) machine to witness and participate in a prominent historical events. The thought of having a super-smart dog such as Mr. Peabody was way more appealing to young me than traveling back in history. A dog like that could do my homework, drive me to the skating rink, and protect me from the consequences of my daily mischief.
When I learned that DreamWorks was making a full-length film about Mr. Peabody & Sherman, I began daydreaming again—this time not about owning a really cool dog, but instead about time-travel. If I were given one-time access to the WABAC machine, where in history would I go?
Being a wine lover, my initial thought was to crash the wedding feast where Jesus turned water into wine. I’ve often wondered about that wine. Was it red or white or a rosé? Was it dry or sweet? Was it from a single type of grape or was it a blend? How was the wine’s nose, acidity, palate, body, texture and finish? So many questions could be answered with a trip to take a sip. As I was pondering the details of a journey back in time, I suddenly realized that I don’t speak a lick of Hebrew. The language barrier would all but kill my chance of successfully crashing the wedding and getting a sip of that wine. My one-time access to the WABAC machine would be wasted. I would have to limit my destinations to places where I can speak or at least understand the language.
Viewfinder Tip: To make the most of all travel experiences, make sure you learn at least a few phrases in the native language of your destination.
So, after much thought and consideration, I decided that my time-travel excursion would be to Boston during the American Revolution.
First, assuming this southern boy could understand pissed-off Bostonian accents, I’d attend public meetings at Faneuil Hall and listen to the colonists discuss how to respond to the evil Tea Act. I’d high-five whoever first suggests the idea of the Boston Tea Party, proclaim it a great idea, and volunteer to join in. The thought of participating in an event of historical significance by tossing crates of tea into the Boston Harbor in an act of civil disobedience seems amazingly fun. Afterward, I’d have a celebratory brew with none other than Samuel Adams, himself.
Next, I’d make sure that Paul Revere hung the right number of lanterns in the North Church—one if by land, two if by sea. Not that he would need my help, but it would be cool to witness his historical ride and see how they got the word out before Twitter.
Finally, I would like to watch the Battle of Bunker Hill from a safe distance, of course, to see if the British army and the colonial militia really fought while marching in straight lines like they do in the movies. That tactic never made sense to me. Maybe witnessing it first-hand would shed some light on what seems to be a bizarre strategy. Personally, if I’m in a shoot-out, I’d want to be hiding behind something.
After my excellent journey, I immediately would think about modern-day Boston with a new appreciation of the past. If that’s not the purpose of time-travel, what is?
If you had a one-time pass to use the WABAC machine, where would you go?