Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Best and Worst of Times, Part 1

GAC 150th Commemoration, Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg, PA

July 3-7, 2013

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

That quote from Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities gives a good description of my opinion of the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee’s (GAC) Gettysburg reenactment.  I qualify this as the GAC Gettysburg, since there were two of them, the other put on by the Blue-Gray Alliance (BGA) the week before.  I missed that one, so I only know how it went based on rumors that got to me.

The GAC Gettysburg had its moments, both good and bad.

Day 1: The Trip and Setup

The event started early for me.  Tuesday morning July 2, I drove with Joe Bellas as my passenger through the mountains of Maryland to reach Gettysburg.  It was a beautiful drive, along with avoiding toll roads.  Upon arriving at registration after the seven and a half hour drive, we bought a couple of souvenirs, then headed to the campsite.

We took our time setting up camp—the event did not start until Thursday the 4th, so we were going to take it easy.  Things were going well, everything as smooth as could be, but then I realized I did not have my car key on me.  Somehow, I must have dropped it.  Joe and I looked everywhere for it, combing through grass.  I had taken it off my key chain to put my other keys away, and that turned out to be my demise.  Colonel Duane Clark (normally our Lt. Colonel) and most of the rest of the battalion staff had already set up their camp and came down to help.  It must have taken us two hours of searching, while I continued to unpack my car in the hopes of finding it dropped in my gear.

Finally, at the point of giving up, I phoned the local dealership to see what it would take to get a replacement key.  Discouragement came upon me when I hung up as I realized it could pretty much ruin my week—requiring my car to be towed in, along with the costs of replacements.  But despair almost immediately turned to joy as the Colonel reached under the chair I was sitting in, and asked while pulling out an object, “Is this your key?”

I have no idea how we could have missed it.  It was as if it had latched itself to the backside of my trousers or something—but there it was.  I gave the Colonel a good bear hug and thanked him tremendously.  Lt John Porter, the battalion’s adjutant, got some string for me, and for the remainder of the week, that key was either around my neck, or in one of my boxes under my cot.

Joe and I ate supper with Dancing Dave Rothert a local restaurant called The Appalachian Brewery.  It was a good, hefty meal, not far from the campgrounds.

Back in camp I was looking forward to a good week.  I had been brevetted to Lt Colonel for the event, and I hoped I could meet the challenge.

Next time: Day 2: The Tour

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