Monday, June 22, 2015

Bucket List

Meade's Headquarters

Nearly everybody has one even if they don't call it that.
For the boss a big one on his list was to get to Gettysburg. I know, I know.... Pennsylvania, even the southern part of the state, isn't all that far from here.

However, when there are cows to milk, old cars and trucks that are prone to fail and three better places to put every dollar that goes through your hands, such trips are honored more in talk than in action.

However, last Friday night around ten PM our boy called from the road....a road he had been driving since late afternoon in Washington DC. Traffic had stalled him here and stopped him there and he was going to be very, very late.

"Want to go to Gettysburg tomorrow?" he had his sister ask his dad. Affirmative if tentative. We had talked about doing this for our 30th anniversary, but talk was as far as we had gotten.

And then they hollered in to the shower of course....did I want to go to?

Well of course I did. Although other wars have had my attention, what with reading Kenneth Roberts, Walter D. Edmonds, and WEB Griffin, the Civil War has long been the focus of much interest in my family.

Mom says I had three great grandfathers who fought in it. My paternal grandparents visited many a battlefield, as did my own folks.

Yeah, he climbed up inside the monument picture above.

And besides....road trip.....

And so we left the farm before six in the morning to return well after eleven at night. We saw all we could see in a day. Walking, then driving, after I petered out a bit. We climbed down Little Round Top and then back up, clambered over the Devil's Den. Found the monuments to the regiments of two of those great grandpas. Ate black raspberries.

Dodged poison ivy. Listened to reminiscing about 911 by strangers who met at the Pennsylvania monument, struck as we were by the atmosphere. Everybody talks about that because everybody feels it.

How could you not?

I thought all day of how it must have been for young farm boys who had to march and charge and fight over the broken, rocky ground. And 47.7% of the working population was made up of farmers in 1870, so there must have been a lot of them there.

A lot of New Yorkers too. So many monuments to NY regiments everywhere we looked.

We dodged a hurricane. Bill stopped by just as we climbed down from the Devil's Den and dumped a pile of Gulf Coast weather right on our heads. Some of these photos were taken by Alan who got out of the car in the rain so we wouldn't miss them.

It was all we could have dreamed of and yet so much more. I expected smaller...emptier...maybe a big hay field with a few fences. That is not how it is.

Thanks, guy, for a day we will remember for a very long time. I would surely go again someday.....

Irish Brigade monument, taken by Alan

29th Ohio, also by Alan

137th NY, by Alan


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Wow! Cool trip, I'll never get there :( Thanks for the tour!

NumberWise said...

Marvelous! This brought tears to my eyes.

If you actually had written this on your bucket list, I doubt that you would have specified 1) include some inclement weather, 2)leave with just hours' notice, and 3)be transported there and back again in a zooming red Camaro.

Your road trips with Alan certainly have been a source of great reading for us. Hugsss to him.

jan said...

Thanks for a great tour. The Civil War has always seemed so incredibly sad to me, so many deaths. I have to wonder what the country would look like if it hadn't been fought.

Terry and Linda said...

I have goose bumps. What a neat place! It is one of those some day I'll sort places for THANK YOU!


Anonymous said...

OH thank you for this post and pictures! I have heard my own family who has visited there say that the feel of a great reverance and holiness pervades the entire area. I am glad you got to go with your son there, and did it on the spur. Amazing for sure, and something you will not forget nor will we thanks to your pictures in the rain. Blessings......chills.....Merri

12Paws said...

Echoing Jan here. Not exactly serendipity but close enough--so happy for you that you "seized the day!"

ellie k said...

What a great fathers and mothers day gift. You have some great children, that says a lot about you as parents. Our son and family is here for two weeks . He works in Dubai, if my husband should get well enough to travel he would like us to come visit him there. That would be a nice trip but having my husband well would be an answer to many people's prayers.

threecollie said...

Nita, it was amazing. My mind is still full of it....

NW, he brings so much to our lives...and I am so very grateful. It was fun, and moving, and amazing, and I can't get it out of my mind.

Jan, it is so full of sad, sad stories. Mom is a geneologist and has stories of young men in our family...mere children...and the horrors they experienced.

Linda, I hope you can see it some day.

Merri, the feelings linger with you. So much happened there. So much horror. So much bravery. So much madness. It is not something I will forget any time soon.

12Paws, it is everything that people say it is and more that can barely be described. A lot of terrible things happened there.

ellie, we will never forget it. Never. I am glad your family is there for you. I will be thinking of you....