Apr 5, 2007
"The Ghost and the Rock" is our retelling of storyteller Jim Flanagan's retelling of a ghost story about Gettysburg. We met Jim at a PTO Convention in Valley Forge, and he allowed us to use this tale, called "The Shadow in the Back Yard", from his book "The School of Scary Stories". This little yarn, which takes place in the present,but involves a classic ghost story motif, makes an important point about respecting and preserving history.
And history was very much a part of our experience this week in Pennsylvania, as we (Dennis and Kimberly) took in about 80 miles of territory on our bikes while Zephyr was practicing and performing with his band in North Carolina.
First, there was Valley Forge itself: we toured on bikes through the park where General George Washington's troops spent a miserable winter in 1777-78 defending the area from British invasion. Although Washington himself, and his wife Martha, were considerably more comfortable in the house that served as the army's headquarters, and which today is open to the public.
Then we pedaled from the town of Plymouth into downtown Philadelphia and had our lunch by Independence Hall, where delegates spent a sweltering summer in 1776 hammering out the beginnings of the new nation. The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution were all signed in this picturesque building that recently guest-starred in the movie "National Treasure". We also dropped in to visit the fabled Liberty Bell, just across the street.
On to Lancaster, where we joined our first ever group bicycle tour for a quaint ride through the countryside, past many Amish farms.
And then there was Gettysburg, the site of another important military operation in another landmark war, nearly a century after Valley Forge. And whereas the soldiers at Valley Forge had to deal with insufficient clothing in a bitterly cold winter, the soldiers at Gettysburg wore stifling wool uniforms in the middle of July. It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, killing about 50,000 troops. No wonder there are so many ghost stories in the area. And with those wool uniforms, no wonder the ghosts are so restless!
Dennis ("dad" and "son") and Kimberly ("mom", "daughter" and "geologist") Goza