The view from San Diego, and the Delaware River
Fair Oaks Lodge has been fairly busy this Christmas season, with welcome carolers from church groups singing in both the lodge and apartments. Many treats have been evident with company coming from far away places. Are there quiet days, especially weekends? Yes, but is that especially bad?
My sister, Wilma (Billie) Scott, lived in San Diego, where windows are not made to be opened. Even so, heavy bars crossed windows and doors. She had what could have been a pretty yard, one like we take for granted each summer here at Fair Oaks. But, as she explained, anything decorative wouldn't survive the night. We have our own beautiful grounds at Sunnybrook Park. How blessed can one group of people be?
To be able to say that from your own front stoop you can look over into the Sierra Madre Mountain range in Mexico has an exotic sound, one with which our poor ravaged Mt. Nebo can hardly compete if someone doesn't help her soon.
Being able to see a few square inches of the San Diego harbor, providing you stand on tiptoe and squint just right, is hardly worth it when your tax bill arrives, informing that you have almost priceless waterfront property. Show a prospective buyer your tax receipt and watch him run.
She sold at a loss, and is now living in an apartment in Moscow, Idaho. She called last night to tell me a half-grown moose was standing on her deck. She sounded relaxed and happy.
Has Christmas Day always been set aside for celebration, gift giving and fun? Most of the time, yes, we can say it has, but not always. George Washington, father of our country, used the aura that surrounded the Christmas Day of 1776 to pull off one of the most risky stunts ever. It comes under the title of "The Battle Of Trenton" in history books.
Washington's Continental Army was bushed, ready to disband, one more battle away from defeat. Troops were in rags, most of them leaving bloody tracks in the snow. It was Dec. 23, 1776, with morale at a new low.
Washington knew he had to do something, and fast. He barked out his first order, "Make rations for three days!" New flints were passed out next. One order after another helped soldiers to try and ignore how miserable they were.
Cries of drunken merriment from Cornwallis' army across the river increased as night descended. Surely, they thought, Washington's army was declaring time-out to party and relax just as they were.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Instead, boats were outfitted and manned, companies gone ragged were reformed. In silence, boats full of soldiers fought their way down the ice-choked Delaware River.
Colonel Rall was sound asleep. He refused to believe the pitiful Continental Army would do anything other than try to run for their homes.
Belatedly, Rall finally realized his mistake. What he could get together of his befuddled army he ordered to run for an apple orchard, where the newly invigorated Washington army all but wiped them out. It was not long before Rall was wounded and fell from his horse.
It is reported that his last words requested that his men be kindly treated as they became Washington's prisoners.
Washington ordered a Christmas banquet for all the soldiers. As for himself, he requested that the captured officers be seated with him at his table.
It was a glorious victory.