BY THE GHOST OF GRANT’S TOMB!
JEFFREY HAS ENLISTED IN THE UNION ARMY!
It was all part of “Voices of the Civil War” day at This is the Place Heritage Park. Jeff was in hog heaven. He got a gunny sack and a piece of hardtack . . .
. . . and then was examined by the army physician to make sure he had all his fingers and toes. (This was an authentic recreation of a Civil War exam. “You can shoot a gun and trudge? Great!”)
(By the way, the hardtack was very chewy with a pleasantly nutty flavor.)
Then he filled out a form for his paystub. This was taken very seriously:
He later exchanged the stub for candy coins at the bank.
Jeffrey was now official! Which was a good idea, because trouble was brewing on the main street. Some Union calvarymen were attacked by a ragtag group of Rebel infantry out on the main street. Shots were fired, and the Southern troops either dropped down dead or ran away.
This was pretty much the opposite outcome of every single other Civil War recreation battle I ever saw in Virginia and Georgia. Down there, the Northern army is the one that runs away . . . usually into an abandoned barn . . . that then explodes into fireworks. So goes the War of Northern Aggression.
As Jeff’s mother, I think my official job was to sob, throw myself melodramatically on the floor, and beg him not to go off and abandon his family to join the Army. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from really bad stage plays and period engravings.
Jeffrey’s head was spinning by the end of the afternoon; he adored every minute. In some ways, Jeff is a kid born in the wrong time. After finishing all his recruitment-related activities, he saw a woman in period costume riding sidesaddle down the street. When she stopped at a corner, Jeff stepped up and doffed his hat to her.
“Well, I am most glad to see that there are still a few fine gentlemen in this part of the world,” she replied. Jeff’s history face was INTENSE.
Meanwhile, Eleanor spent almost all of her time doing PIONEER CHORES! Washboards, HUZZAH!
Brian’s mother had come along with us on this busy afternoon, and she graciously offered to stay with William and Eleanor and watch them endlessly scrub rags and beat rugs. She’s a saint.
The other skill Eleanor’s been picking up lately is photo posing. She took it upon herself to arrange her brothers in front of this statue, and then asked me to take the picture. Hilarious.