Do you remember the scene in the movie Jaws when Quint, the shark fisherman, was being chomped alive by the great white shark that had managed to throw itself up over the transom of his boat? It wasn’t a pretty scene. I had gone to see the movie for the first time with a co-worker of mine (our wives were out of town) and we went to a drive-in to see it (how sad that the generations now growing up don’t now about drive-ins!) It was a hot, summer night and we had the windows down. At some point in the movie, we both found ourselves pulling our elbows and arms back inside the car. Later that night as I lay in bed, I wouldn’t stick my legs or arms over the edge. Silly, right?
Well, I just don’t think that being eaten alive would be a fun thing if you are a sentient being! It just ain’t pretty to contemplate!
The old house in today’s photo sits in a field in Georgia and the plants and trees, bugs and rains have been working on eating this house alive. I suppose that one could argue that the house is no longer alive as it has been without laughter or heartbeat for quite some time. Still, I wonder what the house thinks about it. Maybe a swift demise, like that of Quint in the movie, would be better than a demise that takes years and perhaps decades, to complete.
I went up to the window and looked through as if to see history passing by. It didn’t work, but I could imagine people moving and living (and perhaps, dying) inside as the hours of their lives passed by.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1864, Pennsylvania troops begin digging a tunnel toward the Rebels at Petersburg, Virginia, in order to blow a hole in the Confederate lines and break the stalemate.
The great campaign between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac ground to a halt in mid-June. Having battered each other for a month and a half, the armies came to a standstill at Petersburg, just south of Richmond. Here, they settled into trenches for a long siege of the Confederate rail center.
The men of the 48th Pennsylvania sought to break the stalemate with an ambitious project. The brainchild of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, the plan called for the men of his regiment–mostly miners from Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region–to construct a tunnel to the Confederate line, fill it with powder, and blow a gap in the fortifications.
On June 24, the plan received the approval of the regiment’s corps commander,Ambrose Burnside, and the digging commenced the following day. Burnside’s superiors, Generals Grant and George Meade, expressed little enthusiasm for the project but allowed it to proceed. For five weeks the miners dug the 500-foot long shaft, completing about 40 feet per day.
On July 30, a huge cache of gunpowder was ignited. The plan worked, and a huge gap was blown in the Rebel line. But poor planning by Union officers squandered the opportunity, and the Confederates closed the gap before the Federals could exploit the opening. The Battle of the Crater, as it became known, was an unusual event in an otherwise uneventful summer along the Petersburg line. The attack was shown as part of the movie, Cold Mountain.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The Globe theater burned to the ground on June 29, 1613, set fire by a cannon shot during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.