On my last trip to Gettysburg Pennsylvania, I found it exactly where I had left it.
Now, I am here at the corner of Steinwehr & Baltimore, the same street that Abraham Lincoln took as he approached what is now the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The Irish Brigade shop stands in front of me as do all the other little touristy shops. Downtown Gettysburg lies straight ahead about half a mile. Behind me is Cemetery Hill and the two cemeteries, Evergreen, which is private and the National Cemetery.
It is almost impossible to ignore the sound of the continual traffic. Occasionally, the traffic lights bring the steady stream of cars to a stop. The cars comply, but for a few moments only. That is when, if you listen carefully, you can hear the intermittent sounds of birds chirping in the distance.
I listen, and they tell me that all is well.
As I look up and down the streets I see tourists, but certainly not as many as I usually do when I compare them with sunny Saturday afternoons in June from years gone by.
Yet another unfortunate sign of the hard times that we are living in.
After a few minutes walk, I find myself at my second favorite bench in Gettysburg.
It sits adjacent to the Jenny Wade House. The significance of this house is that during those awful days of battle during July 1863, only one single civilian was tragically killed and that was Jenny Wade.
The story goes that Jenny was baking bread in the kitchen when a sniper’s bullet pierced the side door killing Jenny instantly.
Sitting down on the bench, I survey the gardens which I had not seen for three years. The flowers are still as lovely as I remember them. The decorative trees have of course, grown larger and this is the only noticeable change that I can see.
The Jenny Wade house itself looks well taken care of which pleases me. The white sheers still hang in all the windows.
I can easily discern that the ghosts behind those sheers are still intent on ignoring me just as they always do. This is in spite of all my brash attempts at daring them to show themselves. It’s just as well. They know where my room is, and will no doubt be paying me a visit sometime during my stay, but on their terms of course.
I am always amused by tourists as they walk by the Jenny Wade house. You know, the ones who try to see Gettysburg in two hours or less. I cannot help but sense that they see this house more as a tourist trap, an oddity, rather than for the treasure that it really is.
All of a sudden, there is a very pleasant breeze, which invites me to stay in this place a little while longer. It breathes an invitation into my ear asking for me to stay just a little longer. It whispers “See, it isn’t so hot here after all now, is it.”
Within a few minutes comes the familiar roar of the Harley Bikes going by which was inevitable. Gettysburg is, after all a Harley town.
Dinner tonight takes place at O’Rorkes, named after an Irish commander who was killed during the assault on the Round Tops. It’s an Irish Pub well known in this area for good food and good times. Most memorable song of the night is “I Get Knocked Down” by Chumba Wumba.
And so ends day one, and pleasantly so.
The agenda for tomorrow is dependent on the weather gods and believe me it’s all good. Some of my best photos of Gettysburg were taken in both rain and snow. It’s really amazing how the atmosphere changes with the seasons.
However, the sun seems to set all to early around here. It’s almost as if someone or something is telling us that….
… tomorrow is another day.