December 28th, 2011

Sea dragon

Day three in Baldwyn

We failed again to make a great go of the day. I screwed up most chances of getting a head of steam by staying up reading until 2 AM (not that I didn't enjoy it terribly). I woke up at 9 still tired, still pulled off waffles and bacon, then went back to bed while Mary took a bath. Some time later she woke up asleep in the tub; I never bothered waking up. Then it was two and we both were amazed by how great the sun was outside and we thought maybe we'd do SOMETHING today.

Something involved driving down the road to the Brice's Crossroads interpretive center, where we learned about a major Confederate rout of the Union that took place nearby, and the personalities involved, all in a setting that was especially remarkable for the wide range of African violets being carefully tended on site (you notice what matters to you and while I could not make sense of the other signage, which was not helpfully in any order I could see, I did see the love in the flowers). Then we drove down the road to the actual site of the battle, which is mostly brush and hills, and where I was not able to make sense of what had happened any better, really, other than the bit where we got to see the creek that held up the Union evacuation and understand quite viscerally why it was impossible to get covered wagons across it without using the bridge. The weather was great, though, cool but dry after the heavy rain of the day before, lots of clouds scudding across the sky, very atmospheric.

Then it was Kill Time Before the Dinner Party, and our destination was the local mall. We passed a trailer sales site that advertised "Your husband just called, he said 'Buy it!' " and we debated why that was a cause for joy. We bought dirt at the Home Depot and folders at the Staples, then went to the mall proper where I got all of the vanilla lotions stocked by Bath and Body Works, an "Estee Lauder gift with purchase," and three long sleeved shirts that will nicely round out what I brought (it is colder than I expected here, and I did not pack enough heavy clothes to last for ten days - it's a bit much with just two sweaters). I'm wearing one now and m pleased as punch, really, with how well it fits given that I didn't bother trying anything on (the better to keep Miss Mary happy as she was clearly not enjoying the mall experience).

Then it was off to Casa de los Parentals, where Mom and Dad Mary were hosting an event for Tupelo PFLaG. Yay that this group exists, and hurray for an event where people were talking politics and I actually didn't have to run away screaming! The whole thing was done as a pot luck, with Dad M providing smoked beef brisket (YUM) and the guests providing jalapeno salad, scalloped potatoes, blueberry salad, and some killer "punch" that was made of various fruit juices and Jack Daniels. You know I had seconds. And one of the guests actually mentioned seeing Mark Rylance at the Globe - made me happy, I tells ya. My big conversational gambit? Tequila familiarity. And while Americans are aware that National Health means English people don't go bankrupt paying medical bills, what REALLY makes them jealous is 25 days annual leave.

Now we're home trying to figure out how to get my region blocked DVDs to play through Mary's computer onto the DVD. It is a challenge. If it takes too long, we will give up and resume playing on our laptops, and if push comes to shove, there is ice cream.
Sea dragon

More conversations with Mary

Mary: Okay, well, I need to take a shower before I leave. And get that dirt put in the hole the dog dug near the foundation [editors note: it has filled with water and the ducks were swimming in it this morning]. And get the lamb started.
Me: Okay, well, I'm ready to leave whenever you are.
Mary: I'm not going to be ready to leave before I take a shower.
Me: I know. If you said you were ready to leave now, then I'd be fucked. I only said I'd be ready to leave whenever you were because I knew there was no way that was going to be in the next half an hour.
Mary: Okay, good! Right, I think I need to start with the lamb.

Mary: Are you going to take a shower today?
Me: I think the correct answer to that question is actually "I don't want to take one before we leave."
Mary: Good!
Me: But I will take one later on.

Note: Due to wearing my glasses which are somewhat dirty, I inadvertently poured sugar instead of flour into a frying pan I was trying to make gravy in.

Note: I am so happy here I don't want to go home. :-)


Corinth is where the Confederate wounded (thousands) were sent after the Battle of Shiloh (April 5-6, 1862) as well as another 75,000 troops after the end of the battle. The same number of men died from disease in the 7 weeks after Shiloh (diarrhea and typhoid) at Corinth as died in the battle itself (23,700+ but not sure if they mean Confederate dead only at Shiloh). Corinth was a desirable town strategically as it sat on an important rail crossroads (and still does, but it's not the only game in town anymore thanks to the highways). Corinth was later attacked by Union troops, who occupied it for some two years then burned a lot of it down when they headed to Vicksburg (I think). What with the rise in rifles and heavy artillery and the fact both armies ran over it, Corinth and its environs became the home of radical innovations in trench and fortification strategies; - every soldier had a shovel.

Sitting in the Shiloh part of the interpretive center, I'm listening to a voiceover talk of the incredible acts of courage during that battle and wondering about the unmentioned incredible act of cruelty of all of this slaughter, individually and as a body of military strategy. It doesn't seem to be a concern. Hopefully the Contraband Camp historic site on the outskirts of town will make me feel better about humanity.