COLUMN: A Confederate Yankee

Bill Mayers

The osprey chick fledged some four weeks ago, and now the parents have abandoned the nest. The pole stands with wind-blown bits and pieces of the nest blowing, drifting away. In the near distance, the fall colors have peaked. The few leaves left aloft have faded to a dull yellow. The bare trees look like skeletons of their recent greens, leaning in the face of autumn winds. The drastic changes in the woods are stark and depressing. The turkeys and the deer have quickly realized it’s time to hide; only their footprints giving proof of their existence.

Just days ago, shorts and tees were the wardrobe of choice, and now the sweaters and winter pants are everywhere. A few die-hard motorcyclists brave the chill, knowing it’ll be time to garage them and shove the helmets onto the shelf in the hall closet in a couple more weeks. Wasn’t it only yesterday we were greeting the spring flowers? The dandelions? The robins? Why is it, as we grow older, time seems to go by faster?

Beyond a certain age, we become more acutely aware of our mortality. People I’ve known for years – decades, even – are no longer here and, at times, that becomes depressing. We realize that our time grows ever-shorter. So much of what we want to do, and should do, we’ll never do.

Our little Civil War group had our annual fall get-together yesterday. Nineteen of us, which is just over half the membership, enjoyed a dish-to-pass lunch. One of the ladies found out my fave pie is also a fave of several others in the group, including herself. Lemon meringue. So she brought two, plus a key lime pie. It went quickly, and then she sent a quarter of one of the lemon meringue pies home with me.

There was much discussion of the hobby, and we’ve welcomed new members. Several interested folks have yet to choose to join us, but it looks promising. One of our issues is the (reproduction) unit flags. They are hand-painted silk and showing some wear. They are large enough that they need 12-foot poles. Now, having a conservator repair the damage would NOT be cheap: We’re talking silk, after all. But one of our group has experience with sewing silk, and has agreed to look into doing the fixing. Betcha it will turn out fabulous! These look exactly like the unit’s original flags, and we do not leave them unattended!

We are rather insistent on period authenticity because we feel that to do less would dishonor those who were part of the original unit. We re-enactors are just that: actors. We’re telling a story; a very real and very important one. Ya do something like that, especially before school children and the general public, ya want to do it right.

I recall having spent time in California, one of the most diverse and beautiful spots in the union. Seeing all the pics of the fires ravaging much of that state, I’m saddened. I’m sure there are areas that are spared, but the long-term future of the state is in doubt. Climate change is real and a major contributor to this fire situation, and it may well take drastic and expensive remedial action to confront. One has to wonder what compels so many in government to deny and resist? It is going to get much, much worse, and disasters do not discriminate based on political or economic factors.

People need to get their heads out of their rectums and work together to confront the issues, or we’ll suffer the consequences separately.

Editor’s note: William Mayers of Sullivan is a retired senior U.S. Army Corpsman. A certified healthcare professional since 1964, he holds two professional licenses, including that of Registered Professional Nurse licensed in New York, Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana. He is the father of three and avid analyst of current events.

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