Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Little Birthday Lagniappe

My birthday is September 9th...it is now the 13th. The Colonel ordered some gifts for me that are still in route...he ordered them in time but you know how the postal service can be.

One of the belated gifts arrived today (one more to come). As The Colonel pulled the package out of the mailbox and handed it to me I could tell it was a book.

"I hope you like it."

"Of course I will like it."

I didn't like it...I LOVED it!

It was a book written by Gene Wilder (June 11, 1933 - August 29, 2016).

My French Whore is Gene Wilder's first novel. It was written in 2007.

I am currently reading another book and this will be the next one I read. I am looking forward to it.

Like many fans of Gene Wilder, I was saddened by his death last month but remembered the films he starred in that made me a fan in the first place.

My favorite of course is Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

Who can ever forget those big, blue eyes and wild, fly-away hair?

Then there was the "Waco Kid" from Blazing Saddles.

Blazing Saddles was the first R-rated movie I saw. I was in high school and my parents were out of town so my Aunt Mary was taking care of my siblings and I.

"Aunt Mary can I go see a movie with my friend tomorrow evening?"

"Is it a movie that your parents would let you see?"

Knowing full-well that it was an R-rated movie and my parents would not have let me go, I answered...

"Yes, it's a Western."

Another all-time-favorite is Young Frankenstein.

The movie's director, Mel Brooks was a genius! I recently watched Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with Yam. What Mel Brooks took away from those movies and then used in his movie was pure, comedic genius. I highly recommend watching both movies and then watching Brooks' movie (or vice versa). I think you will agree with me...Mel Brooks = Genius. 

Back to My French Whore...

The Colonel said he was reading on-line about Gene Wilder's death and came across this book. He knows I am a huge Wilder fan and decided to get me a copy for my birthday.

He finds a lot of  used books on-line and they are often very reasonably priced (even with shipping).

The Colonel handed me the package from the mailbox. I opened it.

"The book seller listed this book as used but never read."

"I love it, thank you!"

"Since it is a used book, I wonder if it was signed by Gene Wilder. Wouldn't that be great?"


"The book seller did not list it as an autographed copy."

I opened the book and turned to the title page and what did I see?

The Colonel and I could not believe it. There was Gene Wilder's autograph on the cream-colored page.

"I don't think the book seller even knew it was signed. I am sure they would have asked a higher price for the book if they had, especially because Gene Wilder is now dead."

"You would think so but I am glad they didn't."

"Me too."

I love the way The Colonel always gets the perfect gift for me...Gene Wilder's autograph is just a little lagniappe (an extra gift) on the side.

Sometimes the universe hands out a lagniappe too. The Colonel and I had lunch at one of our favorite spots. When you pay your bill there is always a big container near the register and it is full of candy. Anyone can grab a piece (only one). I like it when they have Tootsie Pop suckers. The candy The Colonel picked out was none other than Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstoppers.

Note: 9/16/16 - Today my last birthday present from The Colonel arrived. Another example of him always getting me the perfect gift!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mad Anthony's Fort

The Colonel and I not only stopped by the grave site of "Johnny Appleseed" while in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we also visited the fort of "Mad Anthony" Wayne.

Anthony Wayne (1745-1796) was a United States Army officer, statesman, and member of the United States House of Representatives. He began a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him a promotion to brigadier general and the nickname "Mad Anthony". He later served as General in Chief of the Army and commanded the Legion of the United States.

Fort Wayne was the successor of several previous military outposts at this location. Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes built the first fortified trading post on this site in 1704 called Fort Miami.

The French came to the area known as Fort Wayne in the 1680's. Fort Miami was occupied until 1760 when it was surrendered to the British after the French and Indian War.

Fort Wayne was established by Captain Jean Francois Hamtramck under the orders from General Anthony Wayne as part of the campaign against the Indians of the area. The fort was named after General Wayne, who was victorious at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne may not have chosen the name himself, as the fort was dedicated the day after he left it.

The fort was officially occupied by the army on October 21, 1794. It is a basic stockade with few buildings.

Wayne's army (normally consisted of about 100 men and their families) arrived in the area on September 17, 1794 and Wayne selected the site for the new fort. He wanted a strong fort built, capable of withstanding not only an Indian uprising, but also a possible attack by the British from Fort Detroit. The fort was finished in one month and was capable of withstanding 24-pound cannons. It was placed under the command of Major Hamtramck who had been commander of Fort Knox in Vincennes. The fort was officially dedicated on October 22, 1794 and is considered the founding of the modern city of Fort Wayne.

In 1798, Colonel Thomas Hunt took command of the fort. He had a new fort built several hundred yards north of the original. The first fort was demolished about 1800.

During the War of 1812, Fort Dearborn (in present Chicago) was evacuated and its residents tried to reach Fort Wayne, but were massacred by Indians before they arrived. Fort Wayne was next besieged by the Indian forces of Tecumseh. General William Henry Harrison (who later became the 9th president) arrived on September 12th and broke the siege.

After the war, a town began growing around Fort Wayne. A third fort was built in 1816. The fort was officially abandoned on April 19, 1819, and its contents shipped to Fort Detroit.

In 1796, "Mad Anthony" Wayne died of complications from gout. He was buried at what is now Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1809, his body was disinterred and boiled to remove any remaining flesh. As many bones as possible were placed in two saddle bags and relocated by Wayne's son, Isaac, to the family plot in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Legend says that many bones were lost along the way which now encompasses much of modern U.S. Route 322 and every January 1st ("Mad Anthony's birthday), Wayne's ghost wanders the highway searching for his lost bones.