Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"The dead are heroes, the living are but men compelled to do the drudgery and suffer the privations incident to the thing called 'glorious war.'"

—quote by Sam Watkins
Photo: Carter House, Franklin, Tennessee

Turns out our tour guide on Saturday has fit in a stop for our group at the Tennessee State Museum to see the Old Glory exhibit (I'm still on my own for Old Hickory's crib). Getting ready to leave town, even for a few days, is a stressful time for disorganized people. First, there's making sure your work is covered in the office, anticipating and averting crises, and catching up on all the stuff you failed to get done in weeks past. And for crying out loud, don't forget to roll out the recycle bins. Good feeling, though, to finally shut down the system and head out, knowing there are four days of battlefield tramping ahead. Zeus knows the carpal tunnels can use the time off.

This week about 40 people from 16 states and two countries are gathering in Tennessee to see some things we've never seen, hear some things we've never heard, see and hear familiar things in a new way, and catch up on things since we last assembled one year ago in Manassas. This Thursday is given to Stones River, with Jim Ogden, historian at Chick-Chatt, doing the honors. Friday, Tom Cartwright, Curator at the Carter House, will take us on a full-day tour of Spring Hill and Franklin, and

Saturday, author Mark Zimmerman will guide us all day around Battle of Nashville sites. Finally, Sunday morning, Carter House historian David Fraley will give a presentation at Sam Watkins's grave near Mt. Pleasant.

Monday morning I'll be back at my desk, just over the Santa Cruz Mountains from Half Moon Bay, scanning 100s of unread emails and explaining to my coworkers why some people use vacation days to travel to Tennessee in winter (technically spring), to stand in the cold and photograph muddy fields. We've got room in Brentwood if you want to join us, but you'd better act fast. Leave a message at the Brentwood Suites, and I'll call you back.

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