The climatologists predict a long, cold winter. I do hope very much that they miss the mark on that one. We can wish that they will be just as accurate as the IBM official who, in the early days of computer development, said he thought there might be a worldwide market for about three machines… Don’t know why that story came to mind, but I do devoutly hope that this winter will be milder than last year’s which seemed to last forever.
Nita and I stocked up on non-healthy food to tide us over in case we get blizzarded in. Now we hear that a few days downstream there will be a considerable warm spell. So, we will probably have to eat all that non-healthy stuff – just to keep it from spoiling, of course.
Wow, that was quite a World Series. I got to see one complete game, most of a couple others, and bits and pieces of all of them. Interesting stuff. We may never again see another one where the visiting team wins every game in a seven game Series. I liked both teams very much, though I suppose Washington may have had a slight sentimental edge (no World Series appearances since 1933 and the one and only World Series championship in 1924). I am waiting to see if any politicians in D.C. claim credit for the victory.
The speaking engagement/book signing trip that I mentioned last month turned out to be an absolute pleasure. The venue was the “Most Unlikely Place” (that’s really the name) in Lewellen, Nebraska. Lewellen is a tiny place in a beautiful portion of the sand hills not far from Lake McConaughy. The “Most Unlikely Place” is a combination book store, gift shop, art gallery (oils, pastels, quilting, wood carving), restaurant, and coffee shop that draws visitors from across the United States as well as a remarkable number of international guests. The menu is extraordinary and the food was excellent. The couple that own the place are world travelers and they have brought those interests and experiences to the business.
The book signing portion of the day was especially enjoyable for me – no formal presentation at all. We just basically sat around an enormous table and talked about the book (Battlefields of Nebraska). Delightful. What made the setting particularly unique was that Lewellen is only a mile and a half or so from one of Nebraska’s major battlefields: the Battle of the Blue Water draws a separate chapter in the book. So, there were several interested and knowledgeable people in the group around the table. While Battlefields of Nebraska was the main focus, the proprietors will also carry copies of three other military histories as well (Boots and Saddles: Military Leaders of the American West and both volumes of In the Shadows of Victory: America’s Forgotten Military Leaders). All in all, a wonderful day.
Nita and I stayed at Ogallala on the way to Lewellen. Ogallala was a for-real cattle town akin to Dodge City during the days when herds were driven from Texas to railheads in the Midwest. It has a restored Front Street and a bona fide Boot Hill – which we visited in the morning before driving the remaining 32 miles to Lewellen. Neat place.
Back to Battlefields of Nebraska for a moment. Caxton Press is preparing to do a second printing of the book. That is good news because it means the first run has sold out. But from my perspective the even better news is that the second printing will allow us to do some tweaks and correct some things that have long bugged me. I suppose like every author, the glitches – fortunately there aren’t many – just absolutely grate on me. The staff at Caxton Press has told me on two occasions that “there is no such thing as a perfect book.” I am not so sure. At any rate, it will feel very good to have an error-free or near error-free edition out in the world.
I have been working on the third and final book in the series that tells the stories of some of America’s forgotten military leaders –although this volume will be considerably different in terms of name, format, and level of detail. One of the staff at Casemate Publishers – the company that published the first two books –- has asked to see an outline and some of the initial work. I think as time permits that I may also return to a work that I began a long time ago: the story of America’s first Vice Presidents. Many of the people who held the office have pretty much been lost in history. I had to set aside work on that project because contracts on the history books and the volume on baseball understandably took precedence. When I reply to Casemate I think I may also mention the possibility of a VP book (and eventually may try other publishers as well.) The book has been gathering dust for a long time. When I stopped work on it, it was probably about half done in rough first draft form. It was one of the first books I attempted, so I am less than sure about the quality of the writing. The draft might provide a starting point but there would be a long way to go with it.
The only other bit of writing to mention was a small piece published in the editorial section of the local newspaper regarding America’s abandonment of our Kurdish allies. The limit was 250 words, so those who welcome brevity over depth and detail may have been pleased with it. Others not so much.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you will be sharing it with friends and family. We hope to have our gathering at our daughter Karen’s home in Springfield, Massachusetts. Laura will join us also, so we will have the entire crew together.
Best wishes to all,