“Pickett’s Charge Had Around Twenty Thousand Confederate Soldiers”

My best friend is Thomas. I’ve known him for 35 years. Thomas and I were best friends at first sight. Our fathers were both professors at the same college. We were both the youngest children of large tight knit families. We were intellectually curious but academic misfits.

Thomas reminds me of the comedien Gallagher. Not because he’s into smashing watermelons with a mallet but because they resemble each other and they are total goofballs.

Thomas came to visit me. He takes a seat on the deck. “The Battle of Chickamauga was the first battle in Georgia in September 1863. The Confederates won. There were 18,454 Confederate casualties and 16,170 Union losses. It was the second highest loss after Gettysburg.”

A few moments of silence. Then he continues.

“There were one hundred and twenty generals at Gettysburg and nine of them were killed? Nine. That’s a lot.” 

“Pickett’s Charge had around twenty thousand Confederate soldiers but Gaines’ Mill had more than fifty thousand Confederate soldiers.”

I say, “If I was a soldier I’d run away and hide under a big log. I’d pull out my handy bottle of Elmer’s Glue and glue leaves all over myself.”

“They didn’t make Elmer’s Glue back then.”

“Well, they made some kind of adhesive. It may not have dried clear but it would have worked for my clever leaf disguise.”

Thomas brings up his junior and senior year in high school. “I went from straight A student to D’s and F’s.”

“One day I skipped school. I went to a park and smoked a joint. I pulled onto the main drive and my biology class was gathered under a tree. I pull up and say I THOUGHT I’D FIND YOU HERE. I helped them gather soil samples. It was a total buzz-kill.”

I love my best friend.

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