Ode to a Once Mighty Oak

Bookmark and Share

And in that brief moment, its reign ended.

We don’t know how old it really was, but the centuries had exacted their toll. Despite the efforts of the valiant few, the rot that builds with age had eaten its way through the internal fabric that once supported its mighty infrastructure.

When that final gust rushed through, the great citadel had fallen. It had stood for so long that those closest to it, stunned by the fatal reality before their own eyes, could only muster an anemic disbelief.

All that incredulity could not suspend the finality that was. It was gone. Not really. But really.

*          *          *

The Seneca tribe was a fierce warrior tribe. They had to be. They guarded the “west gate” of the Iroquois Confederacy. From that position, they both protected one flank of their Continue Reading “Ode to a Once Mighty Oak”

Welcome to the New Age of (Virtual) Exploration

Bookmark and Share

Following the fall of Rome, the European continent went dark. Although the term “Dark Ages” has fallen out of favor, we have no problem referring to the nadir of that time – when the Bubonic Plague – decimated Europe’s population as “the Black Death.”

Shortly after this tragic pandemic, Europe finally emerged from its thousand-year cocoon. Today, we call this the “Renaissance,” and it is aptly named. Side-by-side with the flourishing arts and sciences was the advent of something greater, something that, without it, we would not exist.

It’s called the “Age of Exploration.”

It was a time when everything came together for Europe. It was a time we forever remember as a simple mental image of a dandily dressed mustachioed man in a shiny helmet planting his Continue Reading “Welcome to the New Age of (Virtual) Exploration”

I’ll Have One for the Road and Two for the Sea

Bookmark and Share

And let me the canakin clink, clink,
And let me the canakin clink.
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
– Othello

The reason James Fenimore Cooper strode into Hustler’s Tavern has disappeared into the hazy mists of history. By 1821, his life had been less than pristine. Kicked out of
IMG_3230_violin_cocktail_300
Yale after three years as a trouble-maker (he blew up a classmate’s door), the son of a (probably embarrassed) Congressman who founded the City of Cooperstown did what any other lost teenager trying to find himself did in the early eighteenth century – he joined the Merchant Marine.1

Perhaps he remembered his earlier, albeit brief, stay in the Niagara Frontier just before the War of 1812.2 Serving mostly overseas, he saw some of his best crewmates taken from their ships and forced to serve aboard British warships against Napoleonic France. Like the rest of America, he detested Continue Reading “I’ll Have One for the Road and Two for the Sea”