Thursday, August 21, 2008

John Brown

Sometimes I feel sorry for my wife. When she married me she thought she was just getting one Civil War nut. Turns out I've influenced my son enough that he's a Civil War nut too. He loves to come with me to the roundtable meetings, so far I've taken him to two. He's very well behaved, at first I was a bit worried taking a 4 year old along but he sits there quietly, watches the presentation and whispers questions to me.

This weekend I was going through some boxes in the closet and he saw a mini Confederate flag. He reached in and said "A Confederate Flag!" like he'd been looking for one his whole life. I don't remember explaining the different flags to him but somehow he caught onto it. Also in the box was a plastic house to go with plastic soldiers, I think the house is supposed to be Meade's Gettysburg HQ, or something similar. And he loves that thing. Every night this week he's wanted to look at it and hold it. I had intended to throw it away but he's so into it I now feel guilty throwing it away.

At one point he talked about being a Confederate soldier for Halloween, but I think now he wants to be a cowboy or Shrek, it changes all the time. Its odd though that he would want to be a Confederate soldier when his favorite Civil War character is John Brown. John Brown was the first character I read to him about. I've tried Lee, Cleburne, Grant, Sherman, but he always comes back to John Brown. A couple times a week he'll bounce out of bed run downstairs and blurt out "John Brown!," then scamper back to bed. I look at my wife as she rolls her eyes.

I had been thinking next summer's family vacation would be to Chattanooga but now I'm thinking we should go to Kansas City and make side trips to some Bleeding Kansas sites so he can get the full John Brown experience.

I'd like to dress him up like this for Halloween, but I think my wife would kill me.

I'm also thinking of doing a John Brown presentation next year for the roundtable (our theme will be causes so he'd fit in nicely) and I could take my son in full costume along. Right now when I take him to meeting I play a little game with him. I'll say things like "Who led the raid on Harper's Ferry?" or "What abolitionist was a major figure in Bleeding Kansas?" and he gleefully shouts back "John Brown." I could incorporate that into the presentation, although he might become shy if he was on the spot like that.

When doing a google image search for John Brown I came across this statue on the Kansas University campus. They did a series of Hawk statues like those pigs and cows that pop up in cities every few years. I wonder if its still there, I'd love to see it.

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