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  • As my week long November vacation comes to a close, I feel like I am slowly reentering my life in the 21st Century, after spending a significant portion of my time over the last week immersed in another century, trying to get to know a young man I never met, but who I'd felt like was a part of me all my life.

    I do feel like I know him better, now. Much better. I’ve noticed a number of things that we had in common, as well as a number of differences. He’s become a lot more human and real to me, much less an idea, an ideal and an icon. I’m thinking this is a good thing.

    I went a lot further into this exploration than I ever expected to. I just kept following clues, and walking through opened doors, and as one thing led to another, there I was – back in 1863 with the whole town of Gettysburg back there with me. A part of me still waits for me to wake up from this dream. Did this all really happen?

    That will happen tomorrow morning, when it’s time to go back to work. I have an All-Hands Meeting on Thursday that I have to do all of the planning for, and I’ve barely begun planning it, so I will have my hands full the next few days, putting that together. All of this will quickly recede into the memory of one really cool week.
  • What I’ve written as I’ve traveled this little journey will help me to remember what all went down, on the way there, while I was there, and on the way back. Perhaps this will give me something to build on in the future, if I ever decide to go even further into this whole story, or to create a historically-based fiction out of what I've learned – or, maybe I’ve done what I needed to do, here, and that’s it. I really don’t know which, and honestly, I don’t have a major stake in either eventuality.

    Whichever direction my heart and my spirit are drawn to, is where I will follow. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing for quite awhile now, and so far, I have liked where they have led me. This is one of the things I’ve found that I believe Martin and I had/have in common. He definitely marched to the beat of his own drummer, pardoning the pun (he was a drummer boy), and I do that, too. A big difference – he learned to do this successfully at a much younger age than I did. I had a lot more issues to sort through than he seemingly did, before I grew the confidence and the fortitude to follow my own, distinct drummer. But, in my family, we have a strong belief in “do-overs”, meaning there’s a lot of room for screwing up – it’s how we learn where we belong, and what we’re meant to be doing. Trial and error. Process of elimination. Me, I went through 17 jobs in 4 years before I found the one that has lasted 30. You keep fucking up, until you don’t. The key is, you keep trying, keep plugging away, until a door opens, and then another, and another.
  • The last thing I did, during this little sojourn to the past, was to spend last night and this morning transcribing Martin’s entire Civil War diary, along with Dad’s notes and Introduction to it, so I would have an electronic copy of it. I could swear I did this once before, but I suspect that file was on a laptop that crashed and burned about 5 years ago. Yes, I didn’t have adequate back-ups for it at the time, though I thought I did. However, since then, I have done a lot more research, and learned that Dad had a few of his facts mixed up in his notes and intro, so I was able to correct those this time.

    The process of transcribing it really brought me even closer to a sense of Martin, who he was and what he was all about, at least at that age. I’m glad I did it. Just as I’m glad I marched with the 61st Pennsylvania Regiment Reenactors at Remembrance Day.

    Now, I feel fully ready to get back to Hawkeye Pete Egan B’s 21st Century life. As I do, I feel a little bit more like myself. A piece of me has been added onto, or deepened, and I am returning not quite the same person I was when I left – just a little more so. I was 59 when I left. I’m 60 now. I have another 40 to go. I feel like I have what I need to get there. Now…

    Let’s rock!
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