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January 22, 2019

which came first Gettysburg or the headache?

No idea why Dad owns a hat that makes him look
 like he belongs in the rice fields
 of Cambodia.  We are pretty confident
 that the hat is a woman's hat to boot.
Gettysburg itself was hot.  Like, I-might-melt-why-are-we-here-in-August hot.  Thankfully period wear was not incorporated into the agenda.  This was the kind of weather that I could only embrace from the side of a pool.  Sitting in itchy grass and weeds on the blankets we brought while Dad lectured the kids about the various battles, leaders’ personalities, and little-known facts was nothing like sitting next to a pool.  

The kids presented the material that Dad had asked them to prepare.  I assumed my other role - when not driving:  I was the videographer of this expedition.  I captured plenty of footage to share with generations to come.  In fact once, I had to race back to the hotel to recharge the battery.

The area really hadn’t changed much since our last visit.  There was still the peach orchard, the Irish bridage, and the mandatory participants’ march across the same field where Picket’s last charge took place.  As the videographer, I was sorry (not sorry) to skip out on the march.  Instead, I drove around and positioned myself at the other side and videoed the kids and Pat crossing the field from the air conditioned comfort of the great white.  

One update was the addition to the visitors’ center.  Now there was a movie theater and a round room with a painted, lighted pictorial of the battle.  Dad was all about it.  Remember when I mentioned that the trip was painful?  Well, to add torture, to . . .  well, torture, I had one of my crazy-bad headaches.  I threw some Motrin at it, some caffeine, and the damn thing just crawled right into my cranium and took hold.  

Dad bought tickets for all of us to see the movie after lunch on Saturday.  Honestly, this was the thing I was most interested in.  Because I travel with my own food (thanks in equal parts to celiac disease and my tight fisted existence), and lunch food for my offspring, my wheeled cooler bag was right there with us at the visitor center.  We ate lunch at a picnic table, while the other family members with deeper pockets ate in the canteen.  That went over like a led brick for Reg, who dared to sneer at the fact that everyone else was eating in a restraint while we dug around in our cooler for lunchmeat that was slightly past its prime.  I chewed him up and spit him out, and he quickly saw the error of his ways.  

This was the movie screen in the
wonderfully air-conditioned, dark
 paradise where we all sat to watch the
 movie.  The rest of my party found seats
 while I duked it out with security and finally
came stumbling in with my tagged cooler bag
 and my video camera bag when the lights had
already been lowered.  Remarkably I found an
 outlet and scurried over there without
 looking at all clumsy and frightening.  
Anyway I didn’t have time to haul my cooler companion back to the great white, so I pulled it into line with me at the entrance to the movie theater.  Well, this is not how it is done.  No matter how I swore I wasn’t planning on pulling out any munchies during the movie, security had to be called.  I was eventually allowed into the movie theater.  My bag was tagged.  I was flogged.  Just kidding.  Really, I was given a stern talking to.  They didn’t want to hear about my food allergies and my need to carry my own food with me.  

All through lunch, while Pat had been helping his kids shop for souvenirs in the gift shop and people were using the bathrooms and refilling water bottles, I, the videographer, had scrounged around the place looking for an outlet where I could charge my overused video camera.  I entered the auditorium with my tagged bag, my stern-talked-to-self, and my agonizing headache.  I opted not to sit with the rest of the gang, because there were seats over to the side and I spotted an outlet.  I hauled my cooler, and my camera to the side section of seats and plugged in.  The movie began and I rested my throbbing head on the back of my chair.  Then I fell asleep.  I missed 85% of the movie.  Damn it.


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