Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Tour between the States - Jefferson and our Appomattox

I gave up trying to get to sleep around four a.m. and went into the bathroom with my book.  As I was the only one awake, and having muscle spasms, I took the King's seat, and dove back into my cowboy story, which gave me about fifteen minutes until the spasms began again, so then I used the spasms to ready myself to continue reading.....

And on it went until Jackie woke up and made her way into the bathroom while I gazed out the window and studied the rain, keeping out of her way.  We both decided that since there were no clothes washers available here (or for that matter all the places we stayed),  we'd pop some undies and t-shirt in the bathroom sink, toss in one of those little soaps that is are always around hotel bathrooms, like this:

and then scrub like your grandma did on washing day.  With the completion of scrubbing of the undies, we now had the problem of drying them. Jackie's dryer had all the power of a wheezing '76 Chevette trying not to loose too many parts as it tries to get the driver (yes obviously that's me) home before more parts fell off, wheezing up the driveway.  RIP Chevette 1976.  RIP Jackie's hair dryer.   Desperate times call for desperate measures so I pulled the room's hair dryer off the wall,and, steering it as well as I could a Sherman tank, moving it in a 1-2-3-4 step ,over left part of each of piece of clothing, then to right top, and right bottom.  I'd flip the clothes over and take a look check of the back. and if it was 90%  not wet, that worked.  Tom 1, smell 0

Jackie had finished her shower so then I stepped in for handicapped people.  What I saw was two extra "grab" bars on the tubs wall to catch when me if I fell,   The motel must have the idea that we disabled clean from, as we are shown the tub bars signs, that if true we (that is, fall (and we do) we fall to the left.  Alas, I fall to the right and therefore may not able to grab any bar, let alone if the shower curtain would help as I went down which past events not documented here.  I mean, it didn't help Janet Leigh in "Psycho".  Grab for it and all pull

Anyway, we put on our clothes, dried and still lightly wet and found where breakfast was being served.  The coffee was amazingly good, but otherwise we all opted for cereal and juice.

I made my apologies to our tour guide and Doug the bus driver for my lunacy the previous night, was immediately assured that they'd seen worse over the years, and to not give it another thought.  I just figured I now was on the No-Bus list and, after two years on the No-fly list (2001-2002), might never leave Clifton Park again noted as a terrorist once again.  And if in Clifton Park, NY I must stay, I have my wife, our condo, movies and library, medical help nearby.  Florida? I'll Uber somebody.

I looked about as we drove away from the Burger King and Motel Hell, Jr., I wondered why both  sides of the road are heaps of slate (Plug for the Slate Museum in Granville, NY).  Was it always slate?  Are there still buildings under those piles? People?  Have the people degenerated in being slate people?  Were we the menu for the Slate People?  Maybe the Slate People captured these poor folks and made them pawns as they offer food and shelter to those who dare and if you come outside on the wrong night, you might as say bye-bye to your life.  You'll flip the burgers, and "clean"  alll the rooms until you too.  No one is there to notice as most folks dash out of both business, that the guy last seen smoking  a cigar who was standing in front of the is now scrubbing the Burger King floors forever, his cigar comprised now and forever the flavor Whopper wrapping, the toilets, and spoiled milk from unclaimed chocolate shakes.  People go toward the bathrooms, turn left and are never seen again.  Slate people.

But I digress.

It was a Neil Sedaka rain ("Ooo, I love sleeping on the bus, trying not to drool on the one I love") as we headed northwest toward The Place. I was shaking awake as we approached our target, but we had to avoid a few traffic accidents.  I was taken again by the luscious greenery, the majestic homes of the wealthy, the quiet decomposition of those failed ideas and if any humans remain in these homes, they are there still puzzled why things appear the same but it all looks so strange, warped in the same way a plastic chair doesn't dissolve on hot way.  These things are more Stephen King territory.

We continued in the slight rain to our next and, for yours truly, the only and best thing on the trip...

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

As an American history buff/student/freak, this was the best place (or one of the best - I'm not done yet- I hope) to study the brilliance of this man, his thoughts on every subject, how he built Monticello (and rebuilt and rebuilt again) He wrote (with a little help from Ben Franklin and John Adams) the Declaration of Independence in 1776. His words remain embedded in our national soul, although there are many people, such as Washington politicians, who seems to have never been read it.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.


Me again. Please feel free to associate Mr. J's words with present day politicians, if you feel that way.  Lincoln used the Declaration as the reason for keeping the Union together.  You can change the Constitution anytime as long as a majority of the states go along.  Try that with the Declaration. and you have chaos and civil war. Hey, he was right, too.

The mist cannot deter the beauty.

Now that's a stroll I'd take no matter how much my legs ached after .

We took the tour of the house, any good American should if they can, and see how a brilliant man in the right place at the right time could still support slavery and, of course, this:

This is a weird idea, but not uncommon even today, that a person would use what he considers his property (a pencil, or a shovel, Sally Hemings) and use that property for his own vices, like the President and Sally, or the President and Monica, or the President and Stormy Daniels.  But at least the last two made a few bucks on it.  Sally got a nice room.

Finest dirt floors that money could buy.

I've read that slavery/liberty question was not only Jefferson, but also Presidents Washington, Madison, and Monroe. The Father of our Country even had one slave that Mr. Washington had to order the execution of, which deeply disturbed him for the rest of his days.  I'm not sure if Andrew Jackson gave a hoot one way or the other, as long as dinner was served, both in the White House and Jackson's home The Hermitage back in Tennessee.  For the best read on Jefferson and the slavery issue, I must recommend The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed, a book that won both Pulitzer and the National Book Award.  Despite any feelings you may have about former Vice President Dick Cheney and any book he may write or movie be made about him starring Christian Bale, The Vice's wife Dr. Lynne Cheney wrote a fantastic bio of James Madison who was merely the man who was the Force of the Constitution,  Jefferson's Secretary of State, and served two terms as President. And had slaves.  Mr. Madison did, not the Cheney's. I don't think, anyway.

Mr. Jefferson lived his final days in this bedroom.  Just look it up, you'll be amazed. For us, the bus was waiting.  The drizzling rain kept the mood quiet as we climbed back on our transport, my soul slightly restored by this day, and the lack of pills was ignored.  We had to do head to a different hotel, AGAIN, but the place was quite nice, as it was filled with members of our military (Annapolis).

We arrived at the Baltimore harbor for an evening cruise on a huge ship (The Spirit of Baltimore), and we shared the food with not one but two graduation parties for, I am guessing, the young people of the Charm City's colleges, and what happened was, following the buffet, the old white people ended on the low deck outside bundled up in coats, while the folks inside boogied all night long.  The Inner Harbor is a lovely place to visit in the day time, a number of new additions since we last stopped in town back in the 2000's. But it can switch to Chill City when you're outside stuck in that same drizzle and 50 degree top temperature.  We tried to be the first off the ship, but were easily out numbered and mostly feeble by this time. Back to the Hotel.  Time to go home.

The last day was lovely, sunny and 70 degrees. We spent some time at Fort McHenry where the Star Spangled Banner poem was penned by Francis Scott Key,  a young Baltimore attorney stuck on a British warship as it and the other Juggernauts of the British Navy pummeled the fort. Well, you know the song, you got the story.  Mr. Key also did marvelous work in court cases dealing with slavery and freedom.  The Fort has been restored to early 19th century style and we watched a group of Boy Scouts learning the rules or raising and lowering Old Glory on a flag pole, and the need to respect those stars and stripes.  Maybe it'll work.

Fort McHenry

We took a quick zip around The Nation's Capitol, Our tour guide for this trip was also with us for the 2016 Washington trip, so we vets of that tour de force could not help teasing Judy about the time we were stuck in a loop of traffic that had us constantly ending up back at the Washington Monument.  You may find more info in one of these 180 entries.

We were grateful to visit the National Urinal Museum, and then, aside from Thruway stops, straight home to East Greenbush and the Yankee Trails parking lot.  I grabbed our stuff and dashed to our SUV, leaving Jackie for the hugs (Appomattox reference). Remember I'm not back on my drugs still.

Jackie's laptop arrived back at home before we did, thanks TSA.  Today is the first anniversary of our trip to the Old Confederacy, and it seems the whole thing has floated away or is in the process of being sucked into the Earth (Yes, I know its a bad time and I wish them all the best.  I always liked the Charlie Daniels Band and that song "The South's Gonna Do It Again." Get on it, y'all!)

Actually today I had a colonoscopy, and I'm fine but to do the procedure, I had to get off my  pills.  So I'm sitting in the den, at 2:30 in the morning writing this.  Maybe I'll just make this a yearly tradition, Dallas Book Depository tour or colonoscopy?