TWELVE POINTS OF TRIVIA ABOUT APPOMATTOX

1. After the agreement was signed, soldiers from both sides gathered at the McLean home to renew friendships and reunite with families.

2. The terms of peace were kind. The message was that the nation could now rebuild as one – not one of revenge.

3. Thomas Tibbs owned a farm near Appomatox Court House. He fought his last battle on his own property.

4. Lee and Grant met one more time after leaving Appomattox. When Grant was president, he invited Lee to visit the White House and Lee came.

5. The oldest building at Appomattox is the Clover Hill Tavern (1819). You can go inside – which we did.

6. Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian, wrote out Grant’s formal agreement. Lee said to him “I am glad to see one real American here.” Ely replied, “We are all Americans.”

7. Custer (yes, THAT Custer) received the flag of truce at Appomattox.

8. Custer died fairly young (as we all know) and his wife Libby then possessed the table from the McLean house where the agreement was written. She wrote in her will, …the table on which the surrender of General Lee to General Grant was written…and now located in the… War Department Building in Washington, D. C., I give and bequeath to the United States Government…”  The table is now in the Smithsonian. ( I remember reading Libby Custer’s biography when we lived in Michigan. Interesting lady.)

9. Appomattox Court House was originally named Clover Hill after the tavern. This was a stop on the road between Lynchburg and Richmond.

10. Not all the regiments got the message that the war was over and many still fought for several weeks. In actuality, the Confederates won the last battle of the war.

11. Lula McLean (7 year old daughter of Wilmer) had been playing with her doll in the parlor before the excitement. When the agreement was signed, one of the soldiers picked up the doll and started tossing it around to the other soldiers. The men called it the silent witness. One of the men (Captain Moore) took the doll home with him as a souvenir and the family actually kept it for more than a century, recognizing it’s importance. (Most everything in the parlor was taken as souvenirs.)  Lula never saw her doll again, but the doll was donated back to the park in 1992.

12. One of the members of Grant’s staff present for the signing was Lincoln’s son, Robert.

(Much of this information is from the Appomattox Court House National Historic Site web pages as well as a few other places.)

Village of Appomattox Court House today – the courthouse/visitor’s center to the right, Plunkett/Meeks store to the left. Clover Hill Tavern in the back right and the gift shop straight ahead. (I imagine the gift shop did a big business on the day of the  signing :).)

THE NOT-SO-LAZY DAZE OF SUMMER

I’m off work today – taking a comp day. (Think it has something to do with working four out of the last six weekends … AND the weeks in between.)

My day started at a very un-day-off-time of 4:50 a.m.  I had to make an airport run. That in itself was an adventure, but so as not to embarrass anyone, I will not talk about people who forget to bring their wallet along to the airport (think photo i.d.) and I will move right along with my story.

I’m sure I must’ve been VERY sleepy when I arrived back home because somehow I managed to clean off and reorganize the shelves of two bookcases in the garage (cases NOT used for books, but for everything but books) – something that has literally been on the to do list for SIX YEARS! I even managed to throw away a can of 2002 bug spray that had a broken nozzle AND an empty can of weed killer. I was truly motivated. Garages aren’t my thing.

So, since I accomplished something that lingered on my TO DO list for so long, I decided to reward myself by doing something that I said I wanted to do, but knew I would never get around to doing.

Mowing the lawn was not it.

Saturday, the 10yo and I passed an absolutely, beautiful field of flowers and I said, “I wish I could stop and take a picture.”  But state police frown on that kind of thing, especially since I would have to cross the expressway, so no pictures.

But the field wasn’t that far away – just between the first and second exit (from home) – IF I could find the field which would be the trick – because it wasn’t actually NEAR an exit. So that meant I would have to criss cross country roads on a hunt.

I got my bearings on the expressway and then actually did find the field rather easily.  My trek was affirmed when I saw a young couple parked next to the field – taking pictures. The guy even had his tripod.  I still had my telephoto lens on the camera from the zoo trip.

Anyhow – it was kind of a fun break and didn’t really take that long.

This is an example of heliotropism - where plants face toward the sun - so the field looks different depending on what time of day it is.

So, I drove around to the other side of the field.

Here the flowers are facing East.

Then I walked into the field.

The flowers were planted in perfectly straight rows.

A bee enjoys lunch.

Did you know a sunflower is not really one flower – but many florets making up the flower?  In fact, you can figure out the sequence with an algebraic formula. (Notice I said YOU could, but I sure couldn’t – I do words, not numbers – but  today I truly wished I did get it because this is fascinating.)

Ok, won’t do the formula – but I’ll attempt an explanation. The florets are in a perfect spiral formation. Each learns toward the next by the golden angle (137.5 degrees). The interconnecting spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. So, usually there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the over (although in large sunflowers there are 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.) What this does is allow the most proficient seed packing possible in the sunflower head.

If you understand the number part of this, I’m impressed. On the other hand, I am truly in awe of the design in just one flower. How can anyone say this all happened by accident?

Have you ever studied the spiral pattern of a sunflower?

See the spirals?

Talk about WOW!

I’m sure chasing down sunflowers isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun thing to do – but you know something?  I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot and wandering through a field of sunflowers on an August day was a just-right break.

Psalm 96:12 - Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

By the way, you think someone should tell these cows, they’re not getting a whole lot of shade from those trees?