It was almost 9 Wednesday morning when we pulled out of the driveway (me driving--I drove until we got on the interstate and that was it). We had to stop by Wal-Mart for more water bottles (am I ever glad we did!), the bank, and Savannah's doctor (I forget the reason for that).
Anyway, by the time we pulled out of the drive, I had already noticed a lack of power steering (I have driven this truck before and I knew that it handled better than that!) As we left the driveway we heard a loud clattering noise. I didn't chalk it up to anything else than a stick...until later.
When we got to Wal-Mart, we popped the hood to try to find the power-steering fluid receptical, figuring we might need some. (Even then, I was a bit skeptical because in my truck--which for a while seemed to just eat the stuff, it didn't get stiff like that, it started to buzz a little.) We could not find it! Even with Daddy on the phone, we still couldn't locate it. Turns out, I couldn't see it for no other reason than that I am too short!
Daddy said he'd come--so while he was on the way I trotted in and picked up the things we needed from Wal-Mart.
Naturally, Daddy being much more of a mechanic that I'll probably ever be, he immediately spotted the problem--the power steering belt was gone! That accounted for the noise we'd heard...as it turns out, one of the kittens (poor little Grady!) had climbed into the engine (I had seen her get in there earlier and I literally almost popped the hood and checked before I cranked the engine), and got caught in the belt--it broke, but didn't take leave of the engine until we reached the end of the driveway (a quarter of a mile).
At this point, Savannah and I decided to walk over to the bank (not far at all) while Daddy went after a new belt. At the bank, we both set up checking accounts--this'll come in handy since we both have our own businesses (more or less). Daddy got back shortly before we were done and came into the bank to deposit a check before he got greasy in the engine.
I ended up helping Daddy a little with the belt replacement though my main job consisted of holding his little radio at just the correct angle so Glenn Beck would come in! I took advantage of the opportunity to learn a little more about engines--without having to rely strictly on verbal descriptions! :D
Savannah went on to the doctor's while the others of us had our noses poked under the hood.
Due to these activities we really actually got on the road at 11...by 2 we were driving through the Payne's Prairie area. The signifcance of that is that Payne's Prairie is where the Cow Cavalry would often stop to fatten up the cattle before they drove them the rest of the way to either Baldwin or on into Georgia.
It was almost 4 o'clock when we crossed the border into Georgia. A little over thirty minutes later, we were sitting at the side of the road...
We had just passed Lennox when Savannah gave an exclaimation and started to head to side of the road. The temperature gauge was reading extremely hot. At the same time she got us off the road, we saw the steam and heard the boiling. Savannah popped the hood and we weren't completely stopped before I was opening the door. I threw the hood up and as soon as the steam from the radiator had cleared up a little I could see exactly what was the problem. (It is amazing how God works...the morning's "disaster" was providential! Because poor little Grady got herself killed by breaking the power steering belt, I got a mini crash course on mechanics which allowed me to be able to clearly see and articulate what had happened.) The fan belt had completely shreaded and the new power steering belt was gone! With further probing by actual mechanics, the diagosis was as follows: the A/C compressor had frozen up which caused the power steering belt to break--which in turn got into the fan belt and completely obliterated it.
We ate at a Chick-fil-A for the first time ever for lunch. It was pretty good, but I had to eat really slow because already my jaw was refusing to open all the way and it kept popping. (I mentioned to Dr. K [chiropractor] that my jaw was popping and so she messed with it and it got worse.) Later in the week, I was literally have trouble opening it wide enough to get anything in it.
At our last stop for fuel and a bathroom break before getting to the reenactment, the toilet in the ladies room was backed up. Now, I'm a very practicel kind of person, so I just reached down, picked up the plunger that was laying on the floor and fixed the problem. I couldn't believe that someone else hadn't already done that!
It was almost 5 when we got to the reenactment, after some strange, on the fly, by the seat of the pants re-routing from the way we thought we should have been able to get in. We located the K's and collected "our" tent, then got registered and finally found our spot. One man directed us to the civilian "town" (where we were not registered, but Miss Genie and Mr. Tony were--fellow 1st Fl Res. and Civ. members). From there we got redirected down to the main Confederate camp. I still don't think we were camped exactly where we were supposed to be, but it was okay...just a little strange due to our personas to be camped out amongst the soldiery.
Shortly before we turned in for the night (early for me), I noticed a young man walk by. I leaned over to Savannah: "Was that Walter?" It was--and I think I also saw Tom. (These guys are Amanda's brothers.) If I knew him better, I would have called out, "Is that you, Walter?" but since I've only ever had one actual (short) conversation with him, I didn't.
When we woke up Friday morning (around 6), the battle that had been going on up the hill when we bedded down recommenced. Around thirty minutes later, after some initial in-camp wake up calls from NCO's (most likely) and some stirring, I heard, "Company D, Georgia! First call!" followed by a volley of cannon fire. (The artillery reports in the hills echo and re-echo, rumbling rather like thunder. When a large number of them went off at the same time, it sounded like a fighter jet going over.) One could also hear the men engaged in battle yelling.
7 o'clock sharp a bugle call sounded through the camp. There had been one previously that I didn't know, but this one made me grin--it was Reveille. Later in the day, as I was finishing lunch, one of the young men who was camped across the 'street' walked over and asked if we had been the one's playing music last night (he'd seen us take our instruments out of the truck the evening before while unloading, but apparently hadn't seen that they went back in the truck). I said no, then asked if he were the one I'd just heard blowing on the bugle. He kind of laughed--it was him and he was just practicing. He then proceeded to tell Amanda (who was with me) and I about the different calls. I found it quite interesting.
Friday afternoon the 4 o'clock battle was fought way back on the south part of the property. Amanda and I strolled out there and sat on the bleachers with the press people (on the Yankee side!! I'm not sure there were bleachers on the other side) and watched most of the battle. Because of the size of this event, one really couldn't see the best what was going on. Amanda could really care less about the battle--she just wanted to see her brothers--but with the Confederates clear across the field, there was no way we could have seen them.
That night, after we went to bed, a fife and drum team started playing about two or three rows off. It made me want to get up and march. I did sing some of the songs to myself and wiggled my feet in time to the stirring music--not to mention the big grin on my sleepy face.
Sometime during the night I woke up and could tell it was raining because of the drops hitting the tent. (Someone told Savannah next day that it had started around 1 a.m.) I really was surprised at how dry it stayed inside--those canvas tents do not leak!
Much of Saturday was spent either in the Family Parlor (the K's sutlery) or the barn at the top of the hill. Up there we listened to some so-called lectures on various fashions--ball gowns, "Ditto" suits (that's one for you, gents! It was the direct precursor to the modern three-piece suit...often the pants and vest were a plaid! I wish I had a picture of the one the gentleman model was wearing--it amused me), and other articles of clothing and jewelry. Also one on "home healthcare" which I found rather interesting. Before that there was one on materinity--which we didn't stick around for. That one had some serious feministic, modern slant coming through that irritated me big time. I skipped the Yankee general's talk to eat lunch. In the hour before the battle (which started at 4 p.m.), we listened to Generals Polk, Breckenridge, and Longstreet impersonators giving the history of the battle. They were aided by artillery Major Smith in their presentation.
I can't give much of a play-by-play of the battle...we were sitting atop the hill watching it unfold in front of us, but on paper (or digits as the case may be) it would sound rather boring...particularly since I haven't any pictures to help.
The three girls (Savannah, Amanda, and I) determined that we would meet at the sutlery at 7:30 in order to head up the hill to the 8 o'clock dance. I was sent up to the reenactor parking to gather some more water bottles from the truck (we had already worked through the first flat). That was at least a five mile trek, no matter what Savannah says, and I did it at my top walking speed--first through slippery mud, then up hill. I barely made it. It's a good thing I had already decided not to change into my ball gown (didn't want to get good red Georgia mud on the hem--the dress I was wearing matched the mud pretty well actually) or I wouldn't have gotten there on time at all. Anyway, I was glad to sit down and rest for a few minutes before the dance actually started.
I danced all the dances (not counting the three mixers--they don't exactly count and the one polka I sat out because I knew I wouldn't last it out) with the same gent--a 16 year-old Georgia boy named Zack. He was a nice kid and we chattered at each other like old friends for most of the evening. Somebody please tell me why I attract the younger set of fellas? I really don't mind, but it is something I'm curious about. Zack reminded me of my cousin Joel in a lot of ways--which might be one of the reasons I was so comfortable with him so quickly. I had a lot of fun even though my feet were sore and swollen in my boots. I love to dance and will do it until I simply cannot go any further. The band was Un-Reconstructed (if you look closely at the video posted September 22 at the upper left hand corner, you can see me! I'm the girl in the orange dress with the white collar.) They were certainly more fun than the brass band at Suawnee, but not as much fun as 7 Lb.s of Bacon...of course, I do have some personal bias there.
Savannah and Amanda both had a wider variety of partners. I don't know who all they were, but I was introduced to a young man with dimples named Ben who really seemed to like Savannah. I kept noticing another gentleman with a short gray beard...he was in my set at least once...and thinking he looked awfully familiar. At the end of the dance he just so happened to be standing near where Zack and I were talking (poor kid was completely beat by that point--his hair was soaking wet). It was then that I remembered who he was...I stepped over and asked him, "Where you at Brooksville?" "Yes..." "I think you danced with my little sister at Brooksville." He thought for a minute then smiled with recognition in his eyes and we had a short, friendly exchange, and before he left he asked me to tell Katherine 'hello' for him. She of course remembered Mr. Richard and was pleased that he remembered her.
Miss Minnie had asked us to walk Amanda back to their trailer so we did--or rather I did. We left Savannah (who by now was really tired) sitting under the pavilion and I walked Amanda to the top of the hill where I left her and turned and strode back down the hill, wincing because my feet hurt so bad. We wanted to catch one of the 'trolleys' but couldn't. I was about half way up the hill with Amanda when I thought, "I should have told Savannah to catch a trolley if she could..." She told me that she almost did, but didn't want to be gone when I got back--though I probably would have guessed what had happened. We walked across the cornfield and down the muddy roads in the dark. It was rather neat walking through the mist/battle smoke and would have been rather eerie if one was alone. I must admit, I was grousing about my feet the whole way...
I think we both sleep soundly that night. When I woke up the next morning, my hamstrings hurt and so did my knees (I was also cold so that made it worse). I was surprised that my feet weren't more sore than they were. I guess I am just a serious flat-lander...I love the mountains, but it definitely would take me some time to get physically used to living in them!
Sunday was spent mostly lounging around in the sutlery or listening to Un-Reconstructed play as they did for a good long time during the day.
At 2 p.m. I was just finishing up a meager lunch of yet more banana bread and cheese when I heard the cannon start up again. The battle was on! I gathered up Savannah's camera, an apple and my knife and started off...I did get some pictures of the battle and I will attempt to use them to describe it--that is fairly hard because there was such a wide expanse of land with action everywhere...and the battle was two hours long. Below is a slideshow with the "narration":
Here are the rest of the 'non-battle' pictures. We didn't get too many...
unpacked yesterday. I also ended up mowing some yesterday as well...and now that I finally got this finished (I started yesterday) I have other things I need to do! See you around!