Extraordinary activities

Suddenly I find myself doing things that for me are probably beyond the unusual and well into the extraordinary. I doubt it has much if anything to do with the emphatic assertion of Fall. But the thermometer displayed its red line only to the 40° mark this morning: its first such display since last year’s leaves began to bronze.

It was extraordinary for me to watch the Presidential debate. It was extraordinary because I have no interest in the election. Gay marriage vs. magic underwear—who cares? Still, the debate interested me. I got to see a surprisingly kinetic candidate I had previously thought was in early algor mortis; and I saw a stiffly braced candidate I had previously thought of as kinetic but insubstantive, looking very resentful to no real advantage. I don’t know why these things interested me, but they did. But I still can’t get past the magic underwear thing.

It’s extraordinary for me to fill out financial aid forms, but if the hospital wants to reduce my bill for my two extraordinary visits, I will go the extra mile and ask them to.

It’s extraordinary for me to read an entire book on history. I’ve tended to attribute my indifference to the subject to poor writing on the subject. I’m reasonably well versed through the Bronze Age, but my conversancy takes a dive from there. And now, here am I, 24% through Churchill’s second volume on World War II. What next? Volume 3. It’s amazing how an educated person in this country can know nothing about the events most impacting her parents’ generation, except the gruesome details of the concentration camps. And I know I’m not the only American like me. That’s probably why our country is still acting like a dumb little kid standing in the snow without his boots on, throwing snowballs with all his might.

I’m also reading Les Miserables; I have been reading it since June. It is extraordinary that I would spend four months reading a novel, but it is long and I have been reading other things concurrently. Now that I am 92% of the way through Hugo’s monumental tome that touches on every conceivable aspect of life except the reality of divine sovereign grace, I am starting to think I don’t like the book after all. But I will finish it, because I am a finisher.

I can’t think of anything else going on that’s particularly extraordinary, even for me.



Filed under Thoughts & Reading

3 responses to “Extraordinary activities

  1. What a worthwhile thing to read on a Friday evening — post, comments, and all. L, I was so sad to read of the migraine as well. You are daily in my prayers right now especially in that regard.


  2. Lauren,
    I think you and your subscribers might be interested to read these few words handwritten by my father, Stanley Piggott, inside the front cover of Churchill’s
    “Their Finest Hour”
    These are recently discovered hand written notes inside the book which is an American edition published in 1949. Also, he describes his part on the final day of the miracle of the Dunkirk evacuation on the two maps on page103 of Book1.
    I received the book along with others for Christmas 1986 and only gave it a cursory glance as I was preoccupied with my own battles at the time.
    It has sat on my bookshelf unopened for 26 years until now! Your reference to your reading of the Churchill chronicles prompted me to scan the shelves and imagine my surprise and delight to read one of the chapters of my fathers war time exploits which we had never had the chance to discuss as adults.

    From the front inside cover:-
    “Read about two of my greatest experiences in H.M. Forces or in fact my life.
    As adjutant of the 30th Field Regiment R.A (Royal Artillery) 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division, I had the task amongst many others, of leading the Regiment all the way in withdrawal from east of Brussels to Nieuport by the sea in Belgium to the west or S.W where we helped to form the Eastern end of the Dunkirk Canal Perimeter. This was the final rearguard action around Dunkirk from Furnes to Bergues.
    “Finally I was chosen as the fittest “Walking Wounded” to take charge of the last Ambulance column, 50 vehicles, 300 wounded (250 stretcher cases) to leave the Hospital at La Panne en route for Dunkirk and U.K. This was June 1st 1940 just an hour or two before the Hospital surrendered to the advancing German Troops along the beaches to La Panne!”

    From the two maps on page 103:-
    “As convoy Commander I took the last Ambulance column of 50 vehicles, 250 stretcher cases, 50 walking wounded and Drivers from La Panne, the British Military Hospital to Dunkirk on 1st June, via the only road not blocked or impassable for vehicles. This was along the outside of our defence perimeter and the Canal line from Fernes to Bergues between the British and the German forces! Fortunately we got through to the Eastern Mole eventually, intact with God’s help!”
    “The convoy of 50 Ambulances left the Hospital at La Panne at 10.00 hrs and embarked for Newhaven U.K at 16.00 hrs”.
    “The 4th and 3rd Divisions comprising East Surreys and Coldstream Guards, fought rearguard actions all day on My 31 st. These numbered around 3 or 4 half Battalions of approximately 1000 / 1300 men”
    “The German Air force had 400 Bombers at times over Dunkirk and the beaches, but the R.A.F outnumbered, held most of them off”

    Hope this adds just a wee touch of real Family history to your reading of a time when the World faced probably the most criminal of all dictators.


    • I think this also heps to put our own time in perspective, too, Robin. People may have strong feelings about the candidates running for President (your people stand, but ours run), but neither of them is scarcely likely to go down in history as a criminal dictator.

      Thank you for sharing your father’s first-hand account.


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