Weekend Alone

Nov 17, 2003

Harpers Ferry
The wife and I spent last weekend alone, quietly celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. Seven blissful years gone – twelve now in total. These chains of love are starting to fit. In fact, they have never fit better.

Our destination was the sleepy town of Harpers Ferry. Sleepy is a charitable word for the historic town without the warm weather of summer or spring. We started our trip with a little exploration. We took a walking bridge across the Potomac and back again. We thawed our windblown ears in a local tavern. A trip through town featured a secluded — almost creepy — visit to the wax museum (Let’s not speak of part of the tour where John Brown looks at you on his way up to the noose.) and more than one trip into the local shops. A cookie to warm the belly, a beanie to warm those ears, and a Christmas quilt to warm the heart were the conquests of our travels. We braved the 200 steps to Jefferson’s rock and finally left to track down our Bed and Breakfast.

The next day we were off to Antietam, a place significant for featuring the bloodiest day of the civil war as well as the Union victory that triggered the Emancipation Proclamation. Perhaps less significant, it rounded out our tour of “the big two” Maryland civil war battles.

I found it interesting how hard the historians are on the Union, the eventual winners of the battle. General McClellan was too reserved, foolishly squandering an opportunity to crush the army of the South. He only had their battle plans and far superior numbers. Their hasty escape only allowed them to fight for two and half more years. Cmon. Give the guy a break.

McClellan was eventually fired (and, it seems, rightfully so) for letting the army of the South get back across the Potamac. His successor, Ambrose Burnside, is infamous for related reasons. Late in the day, a large force of Union soldiers were repeatedly beaten back by just a relatively few Confederate riflemen while attempting to take a bridge. They could have forded the river a little upstream or a little downstream. Instead, they wasted the morning and many lives in the effort. In a bit of historical sarcasm, Burnside Bridge was the reward for their commander.

The whole trip was quiet. We didn’t have to fight the crowds; there weren’t any. Except for some wandering boy scout troops scattered along our tour of Antietam, we were pretty much alone and that’s just how the wife and I like it. One of the real advantages to having a mid-November wedding is that tourist season is over. Our love doesn’t just make it feel like we are the only ones in the world, the population of the attractions we visit bare it out. It’s a nice way to spend a trip — no bumping elbows for me. The wife and I are on vacation. Only us two need be present.

Still, I must admit, our minds weren’t just on the two of us. We spent more than a little time thinking about what we left behind, in the form of just the best little baby boy on earth. This was our first overnight trip without our little bundle of joy and it felt like it. Don’t get me wrong. We had a grand time, particularly that part about sleeping until the late hour of 8 am, but by the end we were ready to return. We didn’t want him to forget our names. We didn’t want him walking away before we got a chance to witness it.

And what a wonderful way that was to end the weekend. We spent the weekend celebrating our love. We spent the trip home celebrating the fruits of it.

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