I don’t need your civil war

[Posted on Monday, October 22]

Today, Kelly and I went up to Gettysburg with AJ and Denisse. We picked AJ and Denisse up from the P.G. Plaza metro station at about 10:30 AM and hit the road. The drive to Gettysburg took us about 90 minutes and it was a lot of fun. We passed through some farm land and of course, the leaves are now changing so we managed to catch glimpses of riotous colors (though probably not as nice as what people are seeing further north).


We parked at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. It was windy when we arrived which made the air a little cool, but as the wind died down, the air grew warmed so that it turned out to be a pleasant day. Our first stop was the cemetery across the street from the Visitor Center. AJ wanted to see the spot that Lincoln stood when he gave the Gettysburg address. None of us were sure where it was exactly. So while we waited by the New York monument, AJ ran back to the Visitor Center for maps. Turns out we had passed right by the spot and AJ had already photographed it, but we went by it again for good measure and AJ took more pictures.

Next, we walked into the town proper. AJ and I were hungry so we looked for a place to eat. The first place we went into was full, so we kept walking and eventually found another place and got seated in a corner booth. The service was slow but we weren’t in a hurry. It was at this place that a rather amusing event took place, which will go down in the annals of history as the infamous chicken pot pie bait and switch scam. Denisse was having a hard time deciding what to order. Kelly, AJ and I all had a pretty easy time of it (although AJ did debate momentarily before finally ordering meatloaf). We finally convinced Denisse to order chicken pot pie. She’d never had it before and we described it to her. So she ordered it. When our food arrived, Denisse’s chicken pot pie turned out to be noodles and chicken. Literally. There was no pie to be found (and very little chicken for that matter). It was rather odd, and made for amusing conversation at lunch. (When we finally got around to ordering dessert, we debated saying, “We’d like to order the apple pie, hold the noodles.”) Incidentally, several items on the menu were not what they seemed. There was, for instance, a pea soup that AJ and Kelly ordered that turned out to be a peanut soup, not a split-pea soup that we all expected.

After lunch we wandered through town some more, lazily making our way in and out of various shops. Kelly and I explored the basement of a kind of antique shop with creaky floor boards, that became even creakier ceiling boards once we were down stairs. Kelly tried on a variety of hats that I thought would make great accessories for a Halloween costume, but she didn’t end up buying any. Kelly, Denisse and I then waited for AJ, who had disappeared for a while. When we finally found him, we discovered that he’d asked one of the store employees for some information and ended up in a discussion on health care with him. These kinds of things seem to happen to AJ with alarming frequency.

Later, we found a civil war weapons shop and, naturally, AJ was like a kid in a candy store. Kelly seemed pretty excited about it too. She unsheathed a sword a one point, and checked out a couple of the knives that they had. Meanwhile, AJ tried desperately to find a hollowed out grenade that he could take home as a souvenir.

By this time, Denisse needed caffeine, so we wandered around until we found a bookshop that sold Seattle’s Best Coffee. Denisse got her caffeine, Kelly and I browsed books, and AJ disappeared for 3 minutes, wandering next door to another store to see if they might have a hollowed-out grenade he could purchase.

We walked back to the car and then started the driving part of the tour. For those who have never been to Gettysburg, there is a driving tour of the battlefields that can last as long as 3 hours. Ours did not last three hours, but we did get to see plenty of battlefields. I tried to stop frequently to allow AJ to get as many pictures as possible. And, of course, AJ was a shutterbug, taking pictures of everything, even the signs. (The latter, he claimed, was so that he didn’t have to waste time reading the signs now.) We stopped at two observations towers and climbed to the top of each. At the first one, Kelly suggested that a fall from the tower would be easily survivable, which lead to all kinds of speculation on falls from high places. I don’t think anyone doubted the survivability of a fall from the second, taller observation tower.

Finally, around 6:30 PM, we headed home. The drive home was a lot of fun too. Kelly, AJ, and Denisse took turns selecting songs to listen to while I drove. We got back to Riverdale around 8 PM and headed straight for Franlin’s for dinner. I had their wonderful Beer Cheddar soup, which really hit the spot. I also had their Bombshell Blonde ale. AJ had the nitro-infused Maple Porter, while looked a lot like Guinness to me. Kelly and Denisse had Cosmos. After dinner, we stopped in at the General Store next door and picked up some beer, wine, a game to play (Apple to Apple) and some Silly Putty. We then headed back to my house.

We played games into the wee hours of the morning. It started with Apples to Apples, which was a lot of fun, and to which I was first introduced by vickyandnorm. We ended by playing Uno. Uno was interesting. I won the first game despite the fact that Kelly and Denisse were ganging up on me (with a somewhat reluctant AJ helping out). In the second game, however, the rules really started to, um, change. Kelly and Denisse conspired to beat me and when I say conspired, I mean things like looked at each others cards, traded cards to set me up, and generally set aside the rulebook for a new and improved Kelly-Denisse version of the rules. The second game took much longer as a result. And although I fought hard and valiantly, I was not able to pull of a win. Kelly won that game.

By that time it was 2 AM and we were all exhausted. I invited AJ and Denisse to stay the night so that they didn’t have to rush to catch the last train home. It was a long day, but a really fun one.