Per usual when I saw the prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, for/fore/four, multiple thoughts flitted across the synapsis.

Two gelled for whatever reason:

  • Free Four – a loose, jaunty pop song from Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds album
  • Fore Score and seven years ago

Wots … Uh the Deal

Love Pink Floyd. My freshman college roommate would play The Wall and Meddle (on vinyl) while stoned all the time (when he wasn’t playing the Butthole Surfers or Black Flagg or the Meat Puppets).

Yeah, stereotype. I know. Still, fun.

Also fun, watching The Wall out on the lawn as a college freshman while stoned and starting to realize there was a bit more to life than Catholic School and fantasy literature (though I’m still all-in on fantasy, please, George Martin, write faster).

The Wall. Meddle. Dark Side of the Moon (duh). All great.

Ever since picking it up from a Circuit City decades ago, I’ve always been partial to Obscured By Clouds. It’s a soundtrack to some French film or something so it meanders some. The songs are a bit uneven.

But for 50 minutes or so of just sitting and chilling, there’s not much better. There’s a little rock with Childhood’s End. Stay is a chilled out jam.

Free Four is my favorite on the album. I’ve always dug the opening lines:

The memories of a man in his old age

Are the deeds of a man in his prime.

Nothing new or profound, but as a reader of history, I’ll often think of this line. You look at oil paintings or black and white photos and they look stilted and stuffy. It’s easy to forget those were real people, same as you and me.

. . . Our Fore Fathers Brought Forth on This Continent . . .

“Fore” almost always makes me think of the Gettysburg Address (NOT written off-hand on the back of an envelop on the train to Gettysburg, that’s a myth. Not a myth, Lincoln would store his speeches in his hat.).

I’ve been to the Gettysburg battlefield 70 times or so by now. By myself. With the girls (now banned for asking me if I’m going to read another sign). With my Dad. With Kirk and his then fiance (holy shit, THAT was a long time ago).

One of my favorite visits was a 7 mile hike around the first-day piece of the field with Lauren. She must’ve been 5 or 6 at the time. I went for a 7 mile hike. Lauren went for a 4 mile hike and 3 mile ride.

Knox’s first visit to Gettysburg. Confederate artillery position at Benner Hill.

I also have a vivid memory of following the path of Longstreet’s Assault from Seminary Ridge across to The Angle (which gives you an appreciation for how a flat piece of ground can hide dips and hollows that hide your view of where you’re going) with Oscar and George and the 20 or so ticks we pulled off of Oscar afterwards.

The battle itself is fascinating and I’ve hiked just about all of it by now, piecemeal over the years.

A more chilled out version of the one above.

When it’s a quiet day and you stand on Seminary Ridge looking across the ground of the misnamed Pickett’s Charge (it should be called Longstreet’s assault, but the Virginia press dominated coverage at the time and discounted the more numerical contributions of regiments from other states like North Carolina), you can feel that history was on a pendulum.

I’ve always thought that if it weren’t for the stout fence on either side of the Emmittsburg Pike that halted the charge’s momentum just when the Confederates came within effective rifled musket range that it could have worked.

And if it had worked, what would have happened? Would Lincoln have lost the election in 1864 to Democrats who were ready to make peace with the South?

There’s something powerful standing in a place where great and brave deeds were done that changed the entire course of history.

There we have it, two mutually exclusive thoughts, but that’s SoCS for you.


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