25 July 2017

No. 99: A Civil War Battlefield

No. 99: Visit a Civil War Battlefield

Ok. I confess. I visited one and then put it on the list. But now my plan is to visit another, because it was so interesting.

Truthfully, I didn't know there was such a thing really.  A battlefield? Wouldn't that just be a big empty field? Maybe a field with an historical marker? I was clueless.

While in Virginia, friend Cathy's husband, Dick, suggested we visit a nearby battlefield. I responded with a resounding "Do what?" Cue the disbelief that I did not know there was such a thing, and certainly not more than one. Or at least I did not know there was anything to SEE at a battlefield. Except a field. Not my idea of how to spend an afternoon.

Well, I was mistaken.  Battlefields are kinda cool.

We went to Petersburg National Battlefield in Petersburg, Virginia and saw where the Battle of the Crater occurred.  

Me and a replica cannon in the rain. 

Here's the deal. There are rows of hillocks for each side of the Civil War. North on one side, South on the other. In this case, in the middle a small Southern battery. These guys are so close that at night they can yell to the opposing army. And they do apparently. They fight during the day, then at night, everyone settles down and relaxes.   Did they punch a time clock? Almost seems like it.

Anyway, for this battle, the South had a small battery that the North just couldn't get past. So a Lt. Colonel who was a mining engineer in his civilian life suggested building a tunnel from the North's side, up to and under the battery.  The plan was to fill the tunnel with explosives, blow up the battery and kill all the Southerners that were in residence. 

 Approaching the mine. You can see where it has caved in over the years. 

July 30, 1864.
Everything went according to plan, the tunnel was built undetected, explosives loaded and Boom!

I love the little soldier staring back at us. 
This is the mine entrance. 

The South's army was not in residence, they were already out at work in the field.  All of the Northern Soldiers went rushing into the crater that was created by the explosion, looking to capture and/or kill some Confederates.  The Confederates came rushing to see what caused the explosion and found a large crater, filled with Union soldiers. So they did the only logical thing, stood on the rim of the crater and shot as many Union soldiers as they could.
The plan was a great success. Except it wasn't. 
Union soldiers casualties: 3,798   Confederate soldiers: 1,491

The crater left in the ground by the explosion.

That's a very simplified version of what happened, but you get the idea. It was fascinating to see the crater, the hills that they fought behind, the recreation of living quarters, etc. 

An example of winter quarters. 
Not too shabby on the inside. 
Simple but cozy with its own fireplace. 

On my radar now is to watch the movie Cold Mountain starring Jude Law. The Battle of the Crater is supposedly featured in the opening scenes.  

And in the end, the South still lost. 
But you knew that. 

14 July 2017

Live that Life

Live that Life...

What do you do when you end up unexpectedly with three days off in the middle of the week? And it's going to be July 4th? And your house is basically packed up and the only thing to do around same house is pack MORE?

If you are me, you see if anyone wants you, if there are any reward type airline tickets available and if the sweet big guy is willing to watch the dog. And the chinchilla. And the cats. And the turtle. Bless his heart, he agreed. I took him out for Mexican food before I left to make the idea more appealing.

And where did I end up?


Friend Cathy lives there. We met in Mexico when we were 18. Even though she lived maybe 6 miles from where I grew up, we had to travel 1000 miles and be deposited at the same boarding house by well meaning mothers before we made each other's acquaintance. (We lasted at the boarding house until the mommas went home. As soon as the moms were gone, so were the yummy meals and hot water.)

This past winter she came to Texas!
(I can't find a Mexico picture. They are all packed away in storage.)

Anyway, Cathy foolishly said "Come see me!"
So I did.

$12 and some points for an airline ticket and I was gone.

It was a magical three days. I had four airline flights and 72 hours. That worried me. Just one flight being delayed or cancelled could ruin the whole trip. On the return I had it scheduled so I would arrive in time to get across town to pick up Bunny who would arrive at another airport.  Fingers crossed, I put my fate in United's hands.   They came through like a champ.

And what did we do in our 72 hours?

Visited her son and his wife's house, had a driving tour of Richmond, went to a brewery, had a big steak dinner,  antique shopping, lunch out, visited a Civil War battlefield, another brewery, dinner out, dug potatoes in her garden and visited a plantation.

And we visited. That was the best part.

Because Cathy lives in a picture book perfect farmhouse in rural Virginia. I had no idea Virginia was so pretty.

Can't believe I didn't get a better pic of the front of the house.
Aren't those puppies adorable? 

Decorative dogs, real dogs. 
Hank and Sadie are the real ones. 
The basket holding dogs don't have names. 
I'm going to call them Rufus and LeRĂ³y.

Morning coffee was on the front porch. I really thought I had "Front porch-ing" down. We have a pretty good porch in Colorado. But no. This porch was straight out of Martha Stewart magazine. Or maybe Garden and Gun. One hundred and two year old farmhouse with a wrap around porch. Wicker furniture. Hanging baskets. Big black labs at our feet.  Wildflowers strategically placed in mason jars. Seriously, I could have spent the entire 72 hours there.


And the story of how they ended up in this perfect house is the BEST.

The other side of Heaven.

Cathy's husband grew up in the area. When he was in 4th grade, he was out on the school bus and saw this gorgeous old farm house. He told himself "One day, I'm going to live there." (Ok. I wasn't on the bus, I don't know EXACTLY what he said, but that's the gist of it.)  Maybe 35 years later, there he is. With my sweet friend.

Sigh. Excuse me. 
I need to go back and have coffee in this spot. 
There's a 100 year old magnolia tree on the other side of the house 
and it made the air so sweet.

Anyway, it was a perfect three days and I'll hit some of the highlights next post. But here's what I am going to leave you with:

Live that Life.

This was on someone's Facebook wall and I stole it. I saw it while I was waiting for my plane and it perfectly sums up what I was feeling. Yes. I COULD have stayed home and packed and been bored. Walked down to see the fireworks maybe. But...but...we only have one life. Love it, live it, don't waste it.

05 July 2017

94. Have my picture taken with dad's brick paver at Lighthouse for the Blind in Houston.

No. 94: Have my picture taken with Dad's paver.  

Back in December 2016 my dad passed away after a full and wonderful life. He was 6 weeks away from turning 94. We should all hope for such a long and happy life.

Dad was a huge volunteer. Many organizations benefited from his participation. A few that I can think of are Amigos de las Americas, The Kidney Foundation, Pilgrim Elementary in HISD and the Lighthouse for the Blind.

In honor of Dad's memory we requested donations to some of these organizations if people were so inclined.

Sweet friend Peggy felt inclined.

That's Peggy, second from left.
(And Liddy, Allison, Me and Bunny)
Lunching at rise no. 2 after Dad's service.

She donated a brick paver in Dad's honor to The Lighthouse and it was installed in February.

Ever since then it has been on the list to go see.

Last Thursday, I finally made the trip.

It was quick. And not too hard to find. Pulled up in front of the building where I could see the pavers out front.

Hopped out and walked around a minute and Voila! there he was.

Typical dad. 
Making friends even in death.
Here he is cozied up to Jerry and Rhonda, whoever they are. 

And here I am...posing with his paver and thereby fulfilling No. 94.

Love you, Dad. 
And thanks mucho, Peggy. 

04 July 2017

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, America! 

I'm off this morning to Virginia to visit a friend.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Here's here's where the pic of the American Flag
 goes but I'm at the airport and the stupid iPad isn't cooperating. 

Love y'all!