Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Great Reason NOT to Build Fort La Presentation



For the past several years, some citizens of the City of Ogdensburg have been raising money to rebuild Fort LaPresentation. Ever heard of it? Neither has anyone who isn't from Ogdensburg.

Exactly why the citizens are doing this, noone really knows.

While I could create a long list of reasons why building Fort LaPresentation is a bad idea and a waste of time, I have been content to allow the town idiots to continue their exercise in futility as long as I am left to peacefully go about my own business.

"Live and let live," as the idiom goes.

Such has been my approach since this little idea got started, but I had an experience this weekend that convinced me of the need to stop this project where it is.

As I mentioned before, I travelled to Virginia this weekend to help a family friend move closer to home. On the way home, the traffic was so bad in D.C. that Jim and I decided to take a detour off of I-81 and take a different route north. As we got into Pennsylvania, Jim called me with the idea of stopping somewhere to eat. We agreed to stop at the next exit with food.

The next stop: Gettysburg

It was about 8 p.m. when we stopped to eat, and Jim and I were both eager to get back on the road - but not eager enough to eat fast food. We had already been driving for a few hours, so we decided to stop at the most convenient diner or restaurant we could find. The first one we saw was Friendly's. We parked just around the corner and walked towards the Friendly's. It was packed. So we decided to try walking across the street to find something that would allow for a more efficient dining experience. We decided on a little pizzeria called Dino's.

The food was excellent; the clientele sucked.

As Jim and I entered the establishment, we noticed that the majority of the others dining were clad in Civil War apparel. We were seated near three of them wearing Union uniforms, drinking sodas and waiting for their pizza. Jim and I ordered some subs and a beer and struck up a conversation with them, finding out that they were from all different parts of the country (Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania) and had come in to take part in the reenactment. They were nice guys, but their uniforms were covered in dirt and smelled like a mix between gunpowder and stale ass. They told horrible stories and talked about the Civil War like they had lived through it. It seemed to go on and on, each nerd taking his turn recounting different antecdotes about the battle as if we had paid them to be our living guides.

I wanted to change the subject. A simple "I don't care" would have done it, but I didn't want to offend the guys. After all, they were nice - just a little boring. I had to think of something funny that would easily shift the conversation in another direction or get them to figure out that I was getting bored.

Somehow the conversation got changed to Lincoln. One of the guys was talking about a specific line in the Gettysburg Address. I saw my opportunity, and when he finished I said:

"Ya know, after Lincoln got off the train he and Mary had dinner at the Friendly's across the street."

A corny joke to shift the conversation. Jim was laughing. I was laughing. The two other guys at the table were laughing. The guy who was talking about Lincoln? Dead silent. It was like I had taken a dump on his front porch. He wouldn't say another word to us. After a couple more minutes of awkward conversation, our food came. Jim and I ate our subs and finished our beers, paid the bill and got up to leave. On our way out, Jim offered a "Nice to meet you guys" just to kind of clear the air. The two guys were cordial, the Lincoln guy didn't even respond.

You want those tools hangin' around Ogdensburg?

Not that they'd come anyways.