Monday, February 17, 2014

Fighting All the Way Back From Florida

Yes, we were fighting non stop. And if that wasn't bad enough, on the way down it rained and poured and we were swept away in flood waters. Just got back home last evening. Otherwise, it was a relatively stress-free vacation.

On the way to Florida we listened to The Johnstown Flood by Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough. We both felt as though we were experiencing the reality of that 1889 flood ourselves---a flood that claimed more than two thousand lives. On the way back we listened to 1776, McCullough's book on the first year of the American Revolution which he read himself. Though we actually do know the eventual outcome of the war, it seems like we re-fought those first awful battles every mile of the way. In fact, both books were as exhausting as they were spellbinding.

I wish that every American could listen to 1776. It's so easy to imagine that particular year as simply the hot Philadelphia summer of the glorious Declaration of Independence. But the Rebels' utter lack of preparedness, lack of clothing and shoes and tents, insufficient food and gunpowder is hard to comprehend. Camp conditions were deplorable, disease as rampant as were desertions, and then the string of humiliating military defeats. Untrained, undisciplined soldiers often ran wildly in retreat.  Besides all that was General George Washington's inexplicable indecisiveness again and again. The Revolution was a lost cause. No doubt about it. There was no way those rebels could prevail against the strongest military establishment in the world. But then on Christmas night, Washington crossed the Delaware River and with his rag-tag soldiers and some very able officers made a surprise attack on Trenton that ended in a decisive victory. 

The war, of course, would drag on for 7 years, but Washington learned from his mistakes. His untrained underlings, especially Nathanael Greene and Henry Knox, would become the seasoned officers of military history.

It was a good reminder to us of the incredible price that was paid for the birth of this nation. Today we lose sight of that as one side of the political spectrum screams about the 1%---especially the billionaires who claim they are as persecuted as were the Jews under Hitler, and the other side lamenting that we are suffering under the rule of a Kenyan, Muslim Marxist President. Most of us have pretty good lives---lives that these destitute soldiers could not have imagined.

Florida Memories

Our initial destination in Florida was Apalachicola, where we stayed at the River Inn for 2 nights, then on to Suwannee River State Park where we met Carlton for a night in a nice cabin---same one we stayed at for the past few years. Carlton picked up Kayla at the Jacksonville airport the following afternoon and we all met up in Fort Myers where we stayed 5 nights and had a lot of fun in the warm sunshine, especially hiking and biking.

This blog is primarily a family picture journal which supplements John's hand written detailed daily journal. I used to write once a week or so myself, but I've traded that for this blog. We often try to remember particular events, and these posts jog our feeble memories. 
Outside our door at the River Inn
Our room at the River Inn

Carlton, Kayla,winning night at dog races

Kayla, Thomas Edison Museum

Black Swan, Sanibel Island

White Pelicans, Sanibel Island