Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mixed Blessings

By Rob Watson

Today began with church. I was to read the scriptures, which I enjoy doing. (plus) The first was from Genesis, and was easy and straightforward. (plus) The second was from St. Peter, who's tranlater insists on writing in 100 word sentences full of prepositional phrases which don't come out well when reading aloud. (minus)

My big task for the day was a Civil War Reenactment. (plus) That area had lots of rain during the night and the weather had turned cold and misty. (minus) But, I had my Captains cell number and could call to find out if they were still having the event. (plus) He did not answer, so I left a message. (minus) I called the police at the town and asked if the event was still on. Yes. (plus) I loaded up and set out.

After a few minutes on the road I turned on the radio and got Prairie Home Companion, an NPR production of humor and music, that kept me entertained for most of my drive. (plus) On arriving at the battlefield I was told I would again be 'union'. (minus) But I would learn a new position on the cannon, Gunner, which is the guy that pulls the lanyard to fire the gun. (plus) After several practice drills, (plus) we stood in the cold misty wind for 30 minutes (minus) waiting for the order to begin the reenactment.

 The first order is "Load". The second step of that is to clear the barrel with a 'mop'. The mop came loose from it's handle and stuck in the barrel. (big minus) The cannon, now disabled and out of action left us, the gun crew with nothing to do. Some of the crew went and stood around the other cannon and tried to look busy.

My colonel found a guy who brought an extra rifle and asked me to be a 'skirmisher'... a guy who wanders around the battlefield, by himself, shooting at the enemy. (plus) The rifle was an 1866 Henry repeater and a sack full of blanks for it. (plus plus plus plus) {the battle we were reenacting was in 1864 so I am guessing this rifle was a simulated early preproduction model} As the battle progressed I wandered around popping away with my most excellent toy. After 30 or so rounds the rifle jammed. (minus) The last I saw of it, the owner and his friend were addressing the thing (and possibly me) with rather salty language. (minus) At the end of the battle my colonel told me the blanks cost 50 cents each... oops.

On the way home, I turned on NPR again and was listening to a couple of interviews about the Chinese New Year and Viet Namese Tet holidays. (plus) As I drove along, the road seemed less and less familiar, until at last, it turned into an uncared for narrow strip of tar and gravel. (minus minus) After careful consideration, I looked in the glove compartment for a state map put there by my loving Wife. (plus) I found my location on the map and after a half hour of driving got back on the correct road. (Plus) I bought food and gas and had a quiet, uneventful drive home. (plus plus)