Friday, July 31, 2009
So, Patty and I DID the 3-hour battlefield auto tour and it DID take us about six hours. Of course one of those hours could be divided into Patty’s cigarette breaks, leaving us with a total casualty count for the day of 20 Marlboros at roughly 3 minutes each. The WAS some excitement at the Virginia Monument, as Ken, not wanting to pee on hallowed ground under the gaze of Robert E. Lee, vaulted into the woods in a kind of reverse Pickett’s Charge (although MINE was successful!) It was hot, there was sweat and thirst, but in spite of anything I’ve written that MIGHT be amusing (perhaps), we were both moved by the scope of the battlefield and the sacrifice of both sides which in the end, comes down to the willingness of men to do what they think they must in spite of every shred of self-preservation that tells them not to. Patty remarked on the ultimate pity of the “gamesmanship” of war, and we talked about the (almost) two long years that remained of it, of the battles yet to be fought, ground to be attacked, held and given up as the armies maneuvered to end the war on very different terms. Mercifully, I confined my explanations to Patty’s specific questions, which is probably where we saved the extra hour-and-a-half the tour took with Erin! The tour Cds Bob lent us were REALLY good and what had seemed to Patty like an overwhelming number of facts from the museum tour gradually organized themselves into corps, armies, divisions, brigades and regiments, giving her locations and times to “place” the personal stories she liked so much. And now, (just for Bob), on the way out of town, Patty and I confirmed the presence of General John Reynolds on McPherson’s Ridge, ON HORSEBACK! Now, I hope that doesn’t lower me further on his “Pease-o-meter”, but little brothers get to be right SOME of the time! (There are actually three monuments… one equestrian, one standing, and one marking where he was shot, so we BOTH get to be right!) It was a grand day out, and the trips there and back really allowed us to re-connect with our old homefront.