Monday, September 01, 2008

Trip to Gettysburg

With a four day weekend, I made sure it was action-packed. While the kids were at school on Friday, I began with a stunning marathon of reading and a DVD movie, I could hardly contain my excitement. Oh, and I did a little cleaning. If you worked on Friday, I know you're jealous.

Saturday we planned on going to my SIL's for steamed crabs. She asked us to come early so that the kids could play together. My nephew is always begging for the kids to come over and play. I borought the Darjeeling Limited thinking that my almost 16 year-old niece would want to watch it. Instead, she wanted to watch Instant-Runway (I think), and then some other garbage. What is with kids these days? Doesn't anyone want to watch reruns of the Rockford Files anymore? What's with all this "reality" crap? I broke ranks and went downstairs in the basement and took a nap. I needed one anyway.

The crabs were good. I engorged myself. I think I ate a dozen. I'm still suffering the side-effects of that one. In fact, anyone that's within a 6 foot vicinity of me is still suffering, too. Dear God! There went another one.

Sunday we spent at home. My wife did the laundry and I spent most of the morning trying to finish my book on Oppenheimer. I did finish it. But apparently my digital mind-reading phasers must be on the fritz because later that day she hollered at me for sitting around reading all day rather than helping her. "Why didn't you just ask me to help you?" "You know there's work to be done!" "There's also 65 more pages of Oppenheimer that need to get read. Just tell me these things!"

At the end of the day I suggested that we go somewhere on Monday. At first she brought up Gettysburg. (I didn't even bring it up. The hypnosis must still be working!) She then suggested Hapersferry, WV, which was fine. After searching on the Internet for things to see and do, she changed her mind and went back to Gettysburg.

We left around 9am and strolled into Gettysburg around 10-ish. A new Gettysburg visitors' center and museum just opened to take the place of the perfectly fine Gettysburg visitors' center and museum 2 blocks away. Just our luck. A tour bus from a senior center pulled up as we were walking to door. Again, we'll be jockying for position with the Rascals. The museum was nice, but a bit narrow and when you add a couple hundred Mildred's, Ethyl's, and Herbert's, it was a very claustrophobic.

At one point my 6 year-old son points to a portrait on the wall and asks, "Is that Thomas Jefferson?" You can only image the pride in my heart. I even felt the wetness of a tear in the corner of my eye. At another point, my daughter asks, "What houses have we visited so far this year?", to which my son quickly responded, "James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington." He's already smarter than the average American.

We finished the tour and strolled through the bookstore and gift shop. My daughter picked up her usual souvenir spoon. My son was torn between the miniature parrot gun and the Cavalry hat, but that didn't stop him from asking about every other item in the entire gift shop. "Ooo! Can I get this, too?!!!" He decided on the parrot gun. (No, it has nothing to do with parrots). I found some books that I wanted - four to be sure. And my daughter coaxed me into getting some crafty sign that said something like, "Great kids always have wonderful mothers." Is this to mean they have absentee fathers? What's the deal?

After the museum we toured the battlefield. I've been there before and I think we were there last year. I think we've toured a different section each time. This time we were on the south side of Cemetary Ridge. The Minnesota and Pennsylvania militias each have impressive monuments there. We even went up in the Pennsylvania Monument, which has a small metal spiral staircase, which totally freaked out my son and wife. My daughter, on the other hand, thought it would be funny to lean over the side when we got to the top. My wife's heart was racing and her legs were jelly. She said she couldn't walk right for 1/2 an hour. We broke for lunch at Pizza Hut and downed the best Pizza Hut pizza we've had in years.

After lunch we headed over to the Gettysburg Outlets, the most exciting part of our trip. I spotted a Civil War store there and my son and I browsed. The patron of the store was a bit fancy, to say the least. However, he was in dire need of some free advise on how to dress - even from a straight guy. What's that new show on Fox? Straight Eye for the Queer Guy? After leaving the store my son commented how funny the guy was dressed. He had on bright yellow short-shorts (who wears short-shorts?), a turquoise 1/2 sleeve shirt, turquoise socks pulled all the way up the calves, and turquoise Crocs. Oh, and the 70's Freddie Mercury mustache. Super fancy. And this in a store that sells Conferderate flags and bomb shell fragments. Based on this experience, I fully expected to see an overweight biker dude working at Limited Too.

My son was begging me to get something. I decided against the Confederate Flag hat and the framed calendar pages. We did spot some authentic ammunition. Each was labeled: grape shot, bullets, musket balls, and dropped shot. I asked him was dropped shot was. In the most condescending tone, "(sigh), it's ammunition that they drop as they are marching." Well, duh!!! Okay, I thought maybe it had to do with the production process or something, but I'm just a dumb old tourist in a non-offending outfit.

So I got my son a regular old bullet. It was $3.18. I handed the guy a $5. Then before I could get change, he had already rung it up. $1.82 in change. I handed him the quarter and told him this would help save some of his change. Here's how it transpired:

"(sigh!) 5-25?"
"Yes." (long pause - he's just standing there staring at the cash register) "that's 2-0-7 in change." "Let's see.....25......"
"5-25 minus 3-18 is 2-0-7."
"(Sigh), (with nose scrunched up and the condescending voice), if you say so!"

In fact I do say so you dumb asshole. I shouldn't be mean. If he's was any smarter he wouldn't be working at the cash register, right?

Other highlights of the shopping included snagging 2 Nautica collared shirts for $14 a piece and some hot chick in a really short dress crouching down facing me split-leg, right next to my son to look at something on the bottom shelf. I mean, I had to keep an eye on my son, right? And it's not my fault she unabashedly showed me a clear shot to the moon and back, right? Perhaps she was hitting on my son. He is a good looking kid. Though I should probably be worried if hot girls in the early 20's are already hitting on him.

After about 3 hours we head home. On the way home after Littlestown and across the Maryland line we pass Charles Carroll High School, which is now Charles Carroll Elementary School. I convinced my wife to stop so I could take a couple pictures of it. She said it was like giving crack to a drug addict. Please. Just because I'm documenting history. I'll be the last one laughing when I write a book on the history of high schools in Carroll County and sign a million dollar book deal. Anyway, I didn't know there was an old high school up there. That makes 5 former high schools in Carroll County that I am aware of - Taneytown HS, Charles Carroll HS, Sykesville HS, Manchester HS, and the old Robert Moton HS for Negros in Westminster. Does anyone know anything about any of these schools?

How was your weekend?

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