Gettysburg is a quaint small town inextricably tied to the historic event that took its name from the place: The Battle of Gettysburg.
The battle was actually many battles over three bloody days of the Civil War. The aftermath crippled the town and gave it its legacy.
My recent visit included a spot at the place where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in such record time that the photographers never got a shot of him speaking. The only existing photo was taken by someone in the crowd (likely using the newest smartphone).
The speech was given to dedicate the national cemetery. Everyone knows the Four score and seven years ago part, but my favorite bit is tucked in the middle:
“…we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…”
Notice how he changed the purpose from dedicating a cemetery to dedication to the cause of preservation of the union? Masterful!
But here’s a little-known fact thanks to a previous National Parks Service tour. This grave with the funny hollowed place did not always read: UNKNOWN. Imagine the surprise of the veteran, after returning to visit the grave of his fallen comrades, discovering his own grave. There were so many bodies strewn over such historic battle sites as Devil’s Den and the Wheatfield, that identification was difficult to impossible. His body was identified by the contents of his backpack but the veteran reported the pack was stolen the night before the battle.
So the stone should read: THIEF. Or perhaps, UNKNOWN THIEF.
The town still bears the scars of the battle that ebbed and flowed for days. The Farnsworth House Inn was the site of Confederate sharpshooters and the efforts to eliminate them is etched on the stone wall. Each minie ball strike is painted white to show its location. If you walk around the town, you can find other many homes with such scars and some with cannon balls still in embedded in the brick.
We visited the train station where Lincoln arrived in downtown Gettysburg. There is a small museum there and many shops and restaurants nearby.
Outside of town in the Military Park there are numerous monuments (it’s nearly impossible to see them all) and the new welcome center. Funny, I went straight to the old site which once housed the Electric Map. Do you remember that?
GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
Well both the map and the building were gone. The new location is larger and includes an extensive museum, film, gift shops, restaurant and cyclorama which is the largest painting (circa 1880) of the battle which is longer than a football field and viewed from a platform inside the circular painting. We were there during an Eagle Scout invasion driving us to take a higher position.
Do you know there was only ONE civilian casualty of the battle? Here name was Jenny Wade and she was making bread in her kitchen when she was struck and killed by a mini ball. Her home is now a museum. This reminds me of the kind of accidental shootings still hitting innocents today. Thankfully, the gift shop does not serve bread.
If you are a history buff, Gettysburg is a must see!
So…Back to the riders hoof position giving us clues to how the rider fared in battle. This from Wiki:
“In the United States and the United Kingdom, an urban legend states that if the horse is rearing (both front legs in the air), the rider died in battle; one front leg up means the rider was wounded in battle or died of battle wounds; and if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died outside battle.”
The Death Star was nothing compared to Pumpkin Spice.
We are facing a new, more virulent threat than Imperial stormtroopers. I speak of Pumpkin Spice.
What once was a spice in the bakery aisle has infiltrated a prodigious number of products, many of them non-edible and completely unrelated to the harvest season.
Now, I love pumpkin pie. I even tried a pumpkin latte once. But little did I anticipate these were only the vanguard of the full out invasion. I took all these photos in about five minutes in two stores. I can only imagine what awaits in the bath and candle stores. What I do not need is a candle that make me hungry!
Anyone else spiced out?
I’d love to know what Pumpkin Spice products have invaded your home territory. Be careful out there and may the spice be with you.
Got a favorite Pumpkin Spice product or one you love to hate?
Let me know in the comments.
MY MOVE TO SMALLER DIGS
As I write this in my longtime home in New York State, I realize that when it posts I will have already moved to my new home in Florida. I’m making some big changes, including leaving my day job to pursue writing full-time. Other changes include downsizing my lifestyle. This reduces the financial burden and will give me more freedom. But the process!!
The last year has included yard sales, trips to donate household goods to my local charities, donations to my church rummage sale, Craigslist posts and giving away possessions to family members.
ALL THAT REMAINS
As I divest myself of possessions, I find, instead of regret or sorrow, an unexpected feeling of joy and freedom that comes from not having so many things to look after, dust, wash and store. My husband and I shredded paper for one solid week. I still cannot believe how much paper I had in closets, cupboards, filing cabinets and my desk.
During the entire process, I have been writing. First in my office. Then in my stripped down office, then in my staged for sale office, then in my empty office, and then on my desk in the dining room after the sale when this surface doubled as our dining room table and finally at my breakfast counter when my desk was disassembled for transport.
So bon voyage to me and mine. I’m beginning again in a new place… but one thing that will not changed is my love for telling stories and finding a time and place to write.
This post first appeared in June on the Pink Heart Society Blog
My September release: The Warrior’s Captive Bride from Harlequin Historicals opens with a warrior convinced he is cursed. But how do you know for sure? Well, it’s difficult, but here is a cheat sheet to help you decide.
WITCHES: These are living beings with the power to curse humans. They are vengeful and make you sick but they are mortal and vulnerable. The best way to stop a witches’ curse is to assuage them. Failing that, a more permanent solution is to kill the witch.
GHOSTS: These are departed, restless earthbound spirits. Particularly dangerous are the fallen ghosts of your enemies, but loved ones can also cause suffering and illness to the living. This is one of the reasons that it is impolite or outright dangerous to speak the name of a person who has died. Owls or owl dreams can summon ghosts and foretell of death. Ghost Sickness is dangerous and the only cure is to stop the ghost from haunting you. The symptoms of ghost symptoms include: nausea, fever, fatigue, suffocating sensation and hallucinations. Breaking a taboo can draw trouble in the form of ghosts. Relief will require a shaman of considerable skill.
SPIRITS & SUPERNATURALS: Supernatural spirits are immortal. They are very powerful and have the ability to influence nature. These beings are most powerful. They are not earthbound and are to be respected and feared. They can and do attack the living but are generally above such things. Appeasing a petulant supernatural or superior spirit will require the help of a powerful, spiritual leader of great skill.