The last time all five of us were together was 22 years ago. That was back in 1995, so long ago that it seems like a different lifetime.
We didn't know then that it would be the last time all five of us would get together for another week of rather intense Civil War studies on the campus of Gettysburg College. But Jay was starting a young family and it was evident even then that he couldn't drop everything to go away for a week.
|From left, Paul, Jay, Rich, myself and Chris storm the Gettysburg battlefield.|
Over the years, Paul from Chicago became Paul from Arkansas, while Rich from New Jersey became Rich from Pennsylvania, but the friendships never diminished. Several years ago, when the Davidson County Civil War Round Table took an extended weekend to Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Paul met up with us. Last year, Jay and Rich made it to Gettysburg with us while Paul stayed home.
But this year was different. This year, the five roommates finally got their calendars to sync. We blocked off four days last week, made our plans, and finally assembled in the hotel by Thursday afternoon. Amazingly, everybody looked pretty much themselves, even though ages ran the gamut from late 50s to mid 70s. If nothing else, we are well preserved.
The highlight of our weekend was Friday morning, when we hired out Licensed Gettysburg Battlefield Guide Charlie Fennel. We've known Charlie for years. We actually met him when he gave a tour for the CWI all those 20 or 30 years ago, and have almost always made arrangements for him to give us personal tours ever since.
Consequently, we end up studying portions of the battlefield not as well known to the general public. This year, we followed Anderson's Division, wondering why Posey and Mahone didn't provide support for Wright's near breakthrough on the second day. That's all I'm going to say about that. Take your own tour to form an answer.
Anyway, we were on the field for more than three hours before the tour ended. Then, in the afternoon, as a heavy rain fell, we took in the movie "Dunkirk." We can never get enough history.
As it turned out, we had such a great time that we decided to make this an annual thing. We decided that we can do just as good a job as the CWI in studying the field, just as long as we have Charlie with us. So we're already making plans for next summer.
Next summer can't get here fast enough.