Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Simply Wonderful: Choosing Southernness: Southern With an Italian Accent

 the fugitives

Late in August 1965, a young boy not yet eight-years-old stood with his father on the field at Gettysburg near the spot where Pickett’s men formed in the woods. The boy’s father was not a learned man and had an uncertain grasp of the events that took place on that ground more than a century before. “Which side were we on?,” the boy asked, interrupting his father’s halting explanation of Pickett’s charge. “We weren’t on either side,” his father replied, knowing that his son’s question was meant to discover what part his ancestors had played in the war. “No one from our family was here yet. Your grandfather didn’t come over from the old country until 1907. He wasn’t born until 1898.

The Civil War was over a long time by then.” Sensing the boy’s disappointment at not being able to name an ancestor who had fought on either side in the war, the father added that the war was part of history and that anybody with sense could learn history whether his ancestors had been part of it or not.

As you no doubt have guessed, I am what remains of that young boy.

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