Greetings all you faithful reader(s),
No pictures...no stories...just a short note to let everyone know that we are back, safe and sound, in SC. Baxter is curled up at my feet, finally relaxed after three months of not knowing where he is. More later
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Today was day three at Gettysburg. The first day we got set up, drove around the area and waited for Cindy to show up. She arrived early and we had a pleasant evening. Yesterday we did the visitor center, museum and Cyclorama...all of which were newly reopened last year. The museum is very well done, but the restored diorama is spectacular. Painted in the 1880's on a canvas that is 347 by 48 feet, it is a 360 degree view of the battlefield. It was restored over the past few years at a cost of several million dollars and installed in the new visitor center. It has been augmented with light, sound, and narrative. The realism is eerie. Then we took the self-guided auto tour of 23 miles around the park. Today we reinforced our impressions by taking a professionally guided bus tour of almost three hours. We stood on the top of Little Round Top (where Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine and others reshaped American history), and we stood at the point where Pickett's charge stalled out...the so-called high water mark of the Confederacy. We could look out over the mile plus of open fields that Longstreet/Pickett faced. Even the terrain has been preserved, so one can feel the terror they faced as they marched toward 150 field pieces with barrels depressed so as to be used as anti-personnel weapons. Over ten thousand died at Gettysburg and there were over 50,000 casualties (killed, wounded or missing). Lee's ambulance wagon train of retreating wounded was 17 miles long. Lincoln berated Meade for not pressing his advantage by allowing Lee to escape. After the tour, Cindy and I took a side trip to the cemetary at the top of Cemetary Hill where the 272 words of the Gettysburg Address were delivered. The last picture is of the Lincoln address memorial.
The pictures show the copse of woods that demarks the high-water mark. The battlefield shot was taken without flash during the diorama show. The railroad station is now known as the Lincoln Station because that is where he arrived to give perhaps the most momentous speech in American history. On a pound for pound basis it has no equals.
We'll be "home" Friday. It may be a while before I do a wrapup posting because of unpacking chores after five months.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It is hard to imagine how I could have improved on this day. Before I get started on the details of a weekend at West Point, I owe you an answer about the "what is it" photo. The winner was Dick and Eleanor Roth. It was a snow roller. Prior to the internal combustion engine, winter travel in New England shifted from horse and buggy/wagon to sleighs. To make the main arteries passable, a snow roller, pulled by oxen, turned those clogged roads into very passable routes.
As most of you know, Army's great football legacy has fallen on very hard times. We are struggling back and are now 3 and 3. Today was an SEC team, Vanderbilt . We won in over time with a field goal. It was a struggling game with the refs having a major impact. Our disinterested sportswriter observer, Cindy, on her TV at home said that there weren't any bad calls. The weather was fine, windy but fine. We each had a field goal hit the post and bounce through. The good news is that ours was the last one. To honor our old tradition, today we we retired Felix "Doc" Blanchard's number 35. His record at Army was 27-0-1 with a Heisman and a Sullivan.
After the game we had a classic tailgate party. We used one of the hors d'ouerves that we had fine-tuned at the Maine happy hours. Then Durelle and I took the dogs for a walk. In this case we walked up the south end of "Flirtation Walk", a well known cadet sanctuary. As the path got a bit rocky, I had to encourage Durelle to press on. We reached the overhanging "Kissing Rock", and I stole a kiss as I had over a half century ago.
The first picture was taken through the windshield. The second is the number retirement ceremony. The third is the cadets on the field after the game singing the "Alma Mater". The fourth is an evening shot up the Hudson and the last is a campfire picture that all of our Maine buddies would appreciate.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Today was a fun day. We both had some errands to run, but in the afternoon we went by our old house in Nashua to meet the new owners and our old neighbors. As some of you know, the house at 137 Shore Drive was a very special place. We designed and built it on the south shore of the Nashua River. We worked with a designer and created a special place. I could wax eloquent about all the innovative features, but I won't. We built it in 1990 and sold it to a couple in 2004. He had a heart attack, and she lived in it alone for five years. Yesterday she sold it to a couple who had transferred from Hill AFB to Hanscom AFB. Today we got to see it and point out many of the unique and invisible features. It was so pleasant to see that the place had been well cared for and that it was just as nice a place as we remembered it. It was also rewarding to see how much the new owners appreciated the effort and ideas that went into it. We also met several of our old neighbors and enjoyed getting up to date. Baby Kelly is now twelve! The picture today was taken a few days ago and shows our rig at the Field and Stream RV Park in Brookline, NH. Note the mix of trees.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Today we took a fall foliage drive from Brookline, NH to Royalston, MA via back roads through such metropolises as Ashburnham, Rindge, and Fitzwilliam. Sister, Marian and her husband Eldy Taylor are three years into this project of building a very special log home on a remarkable site just west of Royalston. The long range view picture was taken through one of several picture windows. The short range foliage shot was taken across Lake Potanipo here in Brookline. The first picture is an "identify this object" shot. It was taken in Brookline, also. It is an old cylindrical structure about a yard in diameter and six to eight feet long. If you know what it is, send me a comment to the blog. The first correct answer wins a free ticket for my next batch of Frogmore Stew. The answer will appear in the next blog posting.
Friday, October 2, 2009
There will be no dramatic or scenic pictures today; just a few "family photo album" types of pictures. Son, Mark, daughter-in-law, Heather, granddaughter, Meghan, and great granddaughter, Brielle came by the bus last evening bringing pizza for a pleasant visit. We would have normally gone to their place for something from the grill, but we are not yet ready to leave Baxter (and Belle) alone in the bus for any extended period. I bought a light weight, collapsible crate for Baxter, and he doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
The first picture shows the two dogs in a quiet moment. We are starting to have more of them (quiet moments, that is). The second shows Meghan and Belle with Brielle in the background. The next shows an intent four and a half year old reprogramming my laptop. The last is a nice shot of Heather and Belle.
For the next week we'll be hunkered down in chilly NH (35 degrees this morning) and visiting family and Durelle's golf and bridge buddies at Nashua Country Club. We lived here for an interrupted 25 years so there a lot of old friends. We'll also visit my sister, Marian, in Royalston, MA and check on the status of their log "cabin". We expect to get back to SC on the 16th.