Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Relaxing at Stones River National Battlefield...NOT

Last Saturday started out so wonderful! My husband actually had a Saturday off work to spend with us and I'd planned to visit Murfreesboro, TN to see the artillery and cannon demonstrations at Stones River National Battlefield. Not only was I looking forward to a fun day with the family, I also thought it would be a great supplement to our Civil War study. We'd learned about the Battle of Stones River while we were reading Across Five Aprils and I thought that they all wanted to go. Well, here's what I heard on the LESS THAN TWO HOUR drive....

Where are we going?

How long do we have to be in the car?

Are we almost there yet?

We've been driving forever!

I'm carsick!

Why are we even going to River Stone or Stones River anyway?

Don't touch me!

Don't look at me!

Are you kidding me? Have I written enough for you to begin to understand what was happening in our vehicle? Somewhere after passing over the Alabama/Tennessee state line, my children had reverted back to four year olds, or rather two of them had. With each passing comment, I could just feel myself getting more and more frustrated. But yet, I was so happy to have my hubby along on the excursion that I wasn't going to let the 'voices' steal my joy....yet....

We arrived at the park just in time for the cannon firing which was incredible! A reenactor spoke briefly about the battle and the cannon fired with a bang so loud that it literally shook your body! After the demonstration we needed to wait an hour for the artillery demonstration so we made our way through the museum exhibit in the Visitor's Center, my son and I watched the film that was shown and we wandered through the gift shop where I made mental lists of the books that I want to use for our continuing Civil War study.

Somewhere between the gift shop and the few feet it took to exit the front doors, an attitude gripped two of my children once more. And this time, it frustrated me as well. Our fun family day was on the verge of being ruined. I tried unsuccessfully to lighten the mood, only to have things go from bad to worse. By this point, I was beginning to think that we should just get in the car and drive home. After a couple more, why do we have to be here remarks, I was nearly in tears and my husband had had enough. He set my children straight and two of them sat through the artillery demonstration in the car.

By the time the gunfire was over, the children were repentant and had decided to enjoy the day instead of sulking. We strolled through the cemetery, drove along the driving route, learning about the battle that had waged and saw Hazen Monument, the oldest, intact Civil War monument in the nation.

And though we took a longer, scenic route home through the mountains, we didn't hear one complaint from the backseat. We even stopped for ice cream and sandwiches and if you'd seen us then, you'd have thought we'd had a perfect day.

Ever had one of those days?

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