Wednesday, June 23, 2010


A Blessing!

I am MORE than delighted to report that, after three days of separated quarantine ("SHE made me fall outta the window!" "No, SHE pushed me and then fell out!") my beloved kitties have made what passes for peace - and to my great astonishment, sat side-by-side in the very Window of Doom* and gazed out at the bird feeder and the site of their recent Bad Day.

* Mr. Dearling brought in the frame, replaced the screening, then put it back into the frame and affixed it to the house with brass clips top, bottom and both sides. The window will not be falling out again. ONCE was enough! (Furthermore - all other windows were examined, and appear to be entirely sound.

Saturday we went to a rededication of a stone marker placed at the site of a major Wisconsin event, The Battle of Wisconsin Heights, which is known as The Black Hawk War. It was a conflct between the American militia and Black Hawk, chief of the Sauk people; Black Hawk's actions are described as heroic (I'm not wise about military history, but by all accounts, Black Hawk befit himself nobly).

The dedication was presented by a local chapter of the D.A.R. (which was responsible for replacing the original stone placed by their members in 1923) and included some speeches and a presentation by Colonel Henry Dodge himself (VERY respectable interpreter).

Following that, we joined a small party and traversed the battle site, guided by Col. Dodge, who showed the irregular terrain and described the incident. I found it very interesting -- it was still another case of my going to places where I can weep into the earth.

NOTE: some time later, the militia chased Black Hawk to the Mississippi River, where almost all of his band - including women and children - were slaughtered as they tried to flee across the river in what is now known as "The Massacre at Bad Axe".

If anyone should be interested, there is a description of Bad Axe as told by Black Hawk himself, here . I tell the children at the Museum that one reason it's good to study history is "because we LEARN from History"......and then I add that there are lessons we never seem to quite get aholt on. Seems there's no shortage of places for me to go weep into the earth.

While I don't understand about "movements" and "ambushes" and so on, I CERTAINLY understand things like:

The Witness Tree. This tree was standing, as the Sauk warriors ran past it; it towered over the conflict, it was, in fact, a witness to history. In the last 180 years the people passing by, the changing landscape - all around the base of this tree. (At the time, it was savannah; now there is thick underbrush, making it harder to imagine the movement of large numbers of men going through.

Rather than the quiet of the lovely vista, instead of the bird song we heard - there was gunfire, cries, shouting. While we were enjoying a balmy afternoon, it was quite a different scene those long years ago.....Have I mentioned that a Vivid and Overactive Imagination is not always a gift? 'Cause if I haven't, consider it mentioned.

We, the Interested, also had time to pause along the way to enjoy some fat, sweet black raspberries which were growing in abundance - an irony, since both Black Hawk's warriors and the American soldiers were near to starving; the battles were also not in the balmy warmth of spring. Quite a perspective of history.

We ended the afternoon with a visit to a Civil War reenactment; we were hoping that there might be sutlers, as Mr. Dearling would like a proper 19th century shirt. It was a small event, however, it was interesting. There was a great demonstration of cannon - during which (I cannot tell a lie) I took the opportunity to enjoy a little afternoon nap. What's that? Napping during cannon fire? Sure, you get to a Certain Age you can nap no matter what when the time comes.

As I rested (shading myself, of course, to avoid Dreaded Freckles), Mr. Dearling attended the Surgeon's Quarters, where (he told me with delight) there was a foot amputation....rendered realistic by the judicious use of a pig leg. Mr. Dearling observed: "You can't really fake the sound of sawing through bone". The good doctor also apparently dug a musket ball out of the leg of a willing little girl, with a great deal of spurting "blood". While such things often interest me, I'm glad I napped.

All in all, a very pleasant week-end day, and Mr. Dearling succeeded in securing the names of both the surgeon and Col. Dodge as possible speakers for our Tuesday lunchtime programs at the Museum next year!

VERY glad to report that things have largely been returned to what passes for normal in our little house (wars, cannon, amputation --- and both cats snuggled safely into our little nest.


CTJen said...

Such adventures you have! I love the idea of the Witness Tree. There are a great many Very Old Trees around here, and given long and storied history of Connecticut, I always wonder what these trees have seen (as I drive past them on my way to the supermarket or wherever).

Jamwes said...

But the dreaded freckles are awesome!

HubbleSpacePaws said...

Whoa! Just catching up! Glad the girls have called a truce. Isn't it amazing... when coming home from a solo trip to the V-E-T, or something like this... that previously copacetic kittehs can be hissy for days?

And sadly, when we walk our history, there is no shortage of places to weep into the earth. Thanks for taking time to explain to another generation.