Friday, April 21, 2017

Most of a Day at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

I had not intended to stay the entire day at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, and that would have been entirely possible if the children had done what I had told them to, and worked on what they could do in their Junior Ranger books ahead of time in the car. Although the [grumpy] Ranger had grumpily informed me, when I told him of my plan, that one wouldn't be able to complete any of the book away from the battlefields, you could actually fully complete over a third of it anywhere you liked, as many pages asked only for close reading of informational passages--a crucial skill to develop, but something that can be done without standing next to a cannon.

But only if your kid actually does what you asked and works on the book that you made a special trip to obtain for her so that she could work on it in advance. Otherwise, you will stand next to a cannon for an hour while she matches soldier ranks using textual evidence and composes pretend diary entries, etc.

But at least you'll have beautiful weather to stand in!

I love this picture, because can you see it? She's trying to follow the soldiers sight line.

I like these displays that help you visualize what the battle looked like where you're standing.

Inside the visitor center, we discovered that our favorite national park orientation film of ALL TIME is now The Campaign of Chattanooga: Death Knell for the Confederacy. Will and I watched it once, then came out basically wailing to each other, "OMG, CALLAWAY!!!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!!!" And then we found Matt and Syd and shoved them into the theater to watch it, too. Some random bystander watching this looked at Syd and then said to me, "You know that movie's pretty gruesome." I was all, "I KNOW! CALLAWAY!!!!!!!" and then he pretty much backed away from me, smiling nervously.

Sorry, Stranger Trying to Help Me Parent!

The visitor center also fed my obsessive desire to buy land just outside of national parks in order to conduct my own amateur archaeological digs, because they had a whole exhibit on Civil War treasures found by random people!

Good for them. Looters SHOULD get jail time! Or, not jail because I don't think jail is a very good solution in most criminal contexts, but some sort of highly supervised probation/re-education/community service!
See how the tree healed over the bullet hole? The caption said that sawmills stopped accepting trees from the area because they were so studded with bullets.
It felt like a long and cranky drive up to Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center (especially with a husband who stubbornly refused to accept my gracious backseat driving, grr!), but once we were there, it was well worth it.

I can't imagine a lovelier place to desecrate with carnage:

I'd thought that Matt was safely somewhere else, so that he wouldn't have to see our little Riptide once again trying as hard as she can to break her fool neck. When she finally came away from the ledge, though, and we hiked a little further down the trail, we came upon Matt, standing and glaring at us both, with a clear view of that overhanging rock ledge behind him. Oops!
Although we spent hours longer here than I'd intended to, it actually worked well in that it tired the kids out so much that they barely fought with each other at all on the long drive back home. I finished reading my book, I made next semester's homeschool plans with the kids (informing Will often that no, she didn't *have* to take grammar OR keyboard OR home ec, since I could just enroll her in the local middle school where those classes aren't offered, if she'd prefer...), I planned out a lot of improvements that I doubt that I'll actually have time to make to the garden, listened to a lot of country music on the radio (I LOVE driving through Nashville!), and--not exactly before we knew it, but before we were completely beside ourselves in misery--we were home again, back in our own snug beds with the dog and the cats and the chickens and a home-cooked breakfast in the morning.

Traveling with the family is my favorite thing, and so is coming home afterwards!

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