On July 3, 1863, Robert E. Lee’s command, a Confederate General named George Pickett attacked the Union center at Gettysburg with thousands of men. The fire from that many guns was seen for miles. But in a surprising turn of events, the Union Army stood its ground with most of Pickett’s soldiers surrendered, killed or wounded. A turning point in a war that seemed never-ending.
During the spring of 2015, my sixth grader visited the scene of that carnage, walking the grassy field where all those young men fought, reading the inscriptions on stone markers and monuments, looking for our last name on the lists of the dead.
At the same time, he was obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, a favorite comic strip from my own childhood.
And from that merging of pathways in his brain, connected only by the moment in time, he has concocted a plan.
When we go to Buffalo this Christmas, with the expectation of much snow, he is preparing to build a reenactment of Pickett’s Charge out of snowmen.
And as he fills us in on this snowman battleground based in American history – how on the hill from the Buffalo farmhouse to the pond, he will post snow-artillerymen as if it were Cemetery Ridge, 1863 – I cannot help but admire his creativity, smarts and ceaseless energy.