Monday, October 13, 2008

Grand Harbor and Shiloh

Today is Sunday, October 12th and we have been here in Grand Harbor Marina since Friday mid-morning. And I was wrong in my last blog saying this marina was in Tennessee—it’s actually in Mississippi—the state line of Tennessee being at the top of the very steep hill here! This very large, fairly new marina is on beautiful Lake Pickwick (on the Tennessee River) and we have a great spot here alongside “C-Life” right at the marina’s office/ship store. We are backed into our slip, and the view off our stern (for 180 degrees!) is nothing but tall hardwoods just beginning to turn their fall colors—we’ve had some nice “slip spots” before, but this one ranks right up there in the top few for us. We even have a working cable TV—cable being something that seems to be rare for us in any marinas these days!

Yesterday, Saturday, six of us went in one of the marina’s courtesy vans about 25 miles away to visit Shiloh National Military Park—site of the famous Civil War battle which took place April 6th & 7th in 1862. Situated along the Tennessee River, this two-mile square battlefield area and surrounding woods saw almost 24,000 men lose their lives in just two days—Union soldiers being the victors against the Confederate men. It is absolutely staggering to me to even comprehend that fact—what an unthinkable tragedy. We spent nearly three hours there—visiting very quietly and soberly—we all felt we were on such hallowed ground. One interesting fact that I do not want to forget is that immediately after all that carnage, General Grant ordered mass graves to bury all the dead—trenches where the bodies were piled on top of each other—Union soldiers placed in separate mounds from the Confederate ones. The horses and mules were burned. After the war was over, President Abraham Lincoln ordered only the Union graves reopened to bury the soldiers in proper single graves marked with headstones in the cemetery at Shiloh--the cemetery remains there today with a huge American flag flying, very visible even from the river. The Confederate soldiers were left where they were buried—all in a pile. Doesn’t seem right, does it—and I also wish I knew why the Confederates' loved ones were not ever allowed to claim the bodies of the men who died there for a proper burial. Led by the Union General, Ulysses S. Grant and the Confederate General, Albert S. Johnston, all the soldiers fighting there thought the war would be over in just a few weeks—little did they know the war would last another three long years—ending at Appomattox, Virginia with the surrender of the Confederacy by General Robert E. Lee to General U. S. Grant in April of 1865. In those four awful dividing years of the Civil War, over a million lives were lost. Unbelievable to comprehend, isn’t it.

Because we stayed so long at Shiloh, we had a very late lunch (3pm) at a small local Tennessee ribs/bar-b-que/chicken place—yummy—we all were starving! Our meal was delicious; we watched some of the UNC/Notre Dame football game while eating and needless to say, none of us had supper after eating so much/so late in the afternoon!

We had just enough time to make one more stop before making the trek back to our marina—the former home/now museum of Buford Pusser—the notorious 1960’s sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee. His life was made famous by the movie, “Walking Tall”, and he was well known around these parts as being “judge, jury, and executioner”. A tall man, he was always known to carry a large stick or baseball bat along with his gun, and he never hesitated to use the stick/bat—his temper was just a heartbeat away. He primarily wanted to rid this area of moonshiners, and in doing so, lost his beloved wife and half his face in a “Bonnie & Clyde” style ambush. Plus, he was stabbed twice and nearly died both times from the puncture wounds to his chest—but he always survived against unreal odds in the late sixties and early seventies. He lived a fast and hard life, and died at an early age while driving alone in his Corvette one evening at high speed and losing control of his car in a curve.

Tonight, Sunday night, we had a pot luck dinner on the dock with “C-Life” and “Freedom’s Turn”. There are four sets of wooden gliders on our dock here, two 4 person, two 6 person—all complete with a pretty blue canvas on their tops—and we each brought something delicious for the six of us to share in one of these gliders. Complete with candles and our special “mosquito busters” at our feet, we had a special evening right on the dock for an hour or two—just gliding back and forth and enjoying each other’s company under a beautiful “Bella Luna”. We thank our lucky stars we are so blessed.

We leave tomorrow morning, Monday October 13th, for two nights at anchor and then arriving Wednesday afternoon at Joe Wheeler State Park for the Fall AGLCA Rendezvous with all the Loopers of this year—plus new ones from Michigan, Wisconsin Illinois, Ohio and up-this-way just beginning their journey. Lucky for them!!! Sadness for us!!—we just realized our trip is now half over.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Me again! Still playing catch up and so wishing I had come up your way! Walking Tall was filmed in Rex's hometown (Henderson, TN) and all of his family and some of my cousins were in it as extras. McNairy Co. is just south of Chester Co (where Rex is from). Shiloh really is such a sacred place, isn't it? Hard to imagine the carnage and the loss.