Monday, April 18, 2011


'Twas the 18th of April, '75.
Hardly a man is now alive
who remembers that famous day and year.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"

(That means that tomorrow must be the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the start of the American Revolutionary War.)

This is the only poem I ever memorized.  'Twas in the fifth grade, in Littleton, CO -- I can remember sitting in the school library at Carl Sandburg Elementary, reading it over and over, muttering the words under my breath -- but I don't even remember if it was for an assignment, or if I just thought it was interesting.

Thinking about it tonight, I'm amazed at how many bits and pieces of "The Midnight Ride" I still recall:  Might not be able to recite the whole thing, but could probably muddle my way through at least the first half.

I remember reading a lot of books in that library, including at least a couple of something called the Danny Dunne series:  Danny Dunne and the Homework Machine (my first exposure to the idea of a personal computer), and Danny Dunne and the Time Machine (wherein Danny went back to the Revolutionary War and met George Washington).  So memorizing "The Midnight Ride" could very well have been just for fun, part of a Revolutionary War binge.

I was like that, as a kid.  Can remember devouring whatever I could find on the First World War -- specifically anything to do with the Red Baron -- after hearing a Christmas song called "Snoopy and the Red Baron" (which may have come with a ViewMaster ... disk? ... does anyone remember those?  like a little stereoscopic slide viewer for kids?).  Then later doing the same thing for the Second World War after our third grade teacher read us some book that mentioned Hitler -- first time I'd ever heard of him or his war.

Do they still have Scholastic Books that kids can order at school?  I can still remember a bunch of those, from probably the second grade through the sixth grade -- and how cool it was to order them, and to have them delivered to the classroom.  Still have a few of them, in fact.

Okay, that's enough trips down memory lane for me for tonight.  Run review tomorrow, and still a little over eight hours left of this shift.  Only one flight so far - hopefully if we have any more tonight, they'll be short hops.

Good night, all!


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