Thursday, January 04, 2007

Who'da thunk it?

A year ago today, I visited Antietam National Battlefield, for the first time as a resident of the area.

My wife and I arrived from snowy Western Michigan to our apartment in Hagerstown on January 2 and spent the next few days waiting for our possessions to arrive . A day and a half went by and I just had to get to Antietam; the bright light that brought this moth to Washington County in the first place. The place that we had pulled up roots to be near was just 14 miles down the road, and there was no time like the present (so to speak) to go make sure that it was actually there.

I arrived at the park around four in the afternoon with only about an hour of daylight left. I got out at the tower on Sunken Road and cut through the field toward an isolated field piece. From that position I surveyed the park and my future prospects.

We literally "picked up and left" Michigan. Reactions from many of our friends ran from concerned to horrified. They'd ask: "Do you guys have jobs lined up out there?" To which my wife would cheerfully reply: "Nope, but Mannie knows where he'll be volunteering!"

And so it was.

I volunteered at Antietam, and worked as a substitute teacher. Virginia (my wife) got a job as a bookseller and continues to pursue her career as a fine artist.

And today, exactly one year later, with our own little house on South Mountain and a happy life, I'm the Ranger who lowers the flag at the end of each day at Antietam National Battlefield. Who'da thunk it?

Take a chance on your dreams.

Sleep tight,

Ranger Mannie


Anonymous said...

You and V. are an inspiration to us all. May the ranger-ing be long and happy!

Anonymous said...

You are living my dream.

Joshua blair said...


It is great that you are pursuing your dream. It is an inspiration to many of us. I wish I could pack up and leave Michigan.