Sunday, October 25, 2009

You meet the nicest creatures at the battlefield

Today this foundling appeared at the Visitor Center in a cardboard box. I took him down to the pond at the Roulette Farm which he seemed to prefer to the box.
Come see the nature,
Just north of Sharpsburg
Ranger Mannie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words

Currently being without a camera makes it clear to me that this blog has always taken a visual lead, that is, the prose supporting the photos rather that the more traditional photos supporting the prose.

I like taking pictures, and this digital revolution has made photography inexpensive, easy, and almost as essential as any of the five senses.  That my camera died of exhaustion is no surprise really when I consider that it has been on my belt and in daily use for nearly two years.  The Canon Powershot has also freed up my videography, making it easier to shoot video on the fly with very adequate sound and picture quality considering the compactness of the camera.  Lest this start sounding too much like a commercial I end by simply saying that Canon is a pretty swell little camera. 

Had I a functioning camera yesterday I could have taken some shots of two tour-hour Ranger-led tour.  In lieu of a photo merely visualize cold weather coupled with a light, saturating rain.  It was ragged and bone-chilling.  I ended up telling the whole battle story from the warmth and comfort of the observation room and then inviting those who wished to join me for a drive around the park with stops at the iconic areas of the battlefield for additional narrative and conversation.  I actually had about 25 true-believers go the distance with me for the following hour out on the field.  Considering the  rotten weather it turned out to be quite a delightful time.

Every season I find myself incorporating a new theme or element in my talks, and this year I've hit upon one that has really resonated with my audience.  After I greet everyone and lay out the goals for the two hour tour, I offer this observation;

"Now I know that a good percentage of this group is made up of true believers - life-time students of the Civil war, another percentage represents the real good sports who've come along for the ride, and I'm also fully aware that among you are the outright hostages who'd much rather be elsewhere.  My aim, for all of you, is to make this the best two hours of your day".

The good sports and the hostages really seem to enjoy the recognition; which they really do deserve.  Not everyone shares our passion, but thank goodness they can suffer ours with such good grace.

And that grace is something I wouldn't be able to do justice to with even with the best of cameras.

Maintaining focus, just north of Sharpsburg,

Ranger Mannie 

Monday, October 12, 2009

This time I mean it

Okay. Now my camera is actually, really, and finally dead.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Busman's Holiday!

When it's Sleepytime Down South

Today (my day off) I traveled to Antietam National Battlefield (no surprise) to hike the Three Farms Trail.

The weather was breezy, the sun was warm, and the short grass on the hillside behind the Park's Farm beckoned.

What a wonderful place.

Hitting "snooze", just north of Sharpsburg,

Ranger Mannie

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Rangers Game!

Ranger's night out

Recently I went to a hockey game with Rangers Brian, Alann, and John (Hoptak).

Though It was between the Capitals and the Blackhawks, I kept calling it "the Rangers game" cuz, well, we're all Rangers. I thought it was pretty funny but the guy sitting next to me thought I was lost or something. Anyway here are highlights with color commentary:

There was lots of really bad, really expensive food at the arena. John got a funnel cake:

which I think he regretted.

Speaking of food, the Capitals are lead by a young Russian player named Ovenchicken (or something like that). Comrade Ovenchicken is very good at what he does which involves skating. Oh, did I mention all the players are on ice skates? Did I also mention this was my first hockey game?

Everytime Ovenchicken scored, which was every few minutes, Alann would say: "Hey, take my picture" and then he'd do this:

It helped to add to the general excitement of the crowd, Alann's very good at modeling appropriate behavior for others.

The capitals (capitols?) won 103 to 2 sending the evil Chicago Blackhawks home in tears of humiliation.

And I had a very fun night out with some very fine friends.


p.s. I can now also check "hockey game" off my list of things to experience.