So Friday morning, I get up at 6 am to get my stuff together and eat breakfast. I eat, then I have to run back up to my room because I forgot my phone charger. After I grabbed that, I went back down to the Sadler circle and waited to get picked up by my friends. They came, and I got in the car. We had two cars; one was the Petersons’ and the other was Gen’s. I went in Gen’s car and we followed the Petersons because they obviously knew how to get to New Hampshire from Syracuse. It was about a six hour drive, and it went pretty smoothly. It was Gen, Steve, and I in Gen’s car and the whole time we had in depth conversations about religion, politics, music (top five most influential “classic rock” bands), and alternate realities—heavy stuff. We got to New Hampshire around two or three, and we met the Petersons’ family and relaxed for a while. Around five, we left the house to grab dinner. The Petersons’ parents insisted that they paid for our food—and our tolls, and our parking. We tried to defer them, but they wouldn’t have it. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson were extremely kind and hospitible to us the entire weekend, and I am very thankful. After dinner, we headed toward Boston.
The drive into Boston was pretty painless, and we parked in a lot so that wasn’t a nightmare either. We walked to the venue from there. Unfortunately, it was colder than I predicted and I was sorely underdressed for the temperature—but it wasn’t too terrible. We got to the venue and outside we met some of the Petersons’ friends and one of ours from SU who had transferred to Emerson. When we got inside, I bought a t-shirt, which is really awesome, then went to go sit down. This band came out and started playing, and everyone thought that it was Sigur Ros, because they sounded exactly like them, but we couldn’t really tell. During the opening act, my friend from Voorhees, Caitie, was at the show so she called me and we met up and talked for a while. Then I headed back to my seat to watch the rest of the act. When they were done, the house lights went back on and Caitie came over to where Gen and I were sitting and talked to us during the interim. As soon as the lights went down, however, she went back to her seat. Then the show started. As soon as the the first note was played, there was a wave of intense energy that went through the venue and everyone felt it. It was like the air had this electric charge that was hanging over the crowd—and that feeling lasted the entire show and grew more intense as it went on. Two of the best performances were “Hoppipolla" and "Goobledigook". This was the most amazing show I have ever seen. P.T. Barnum used to say he had the greatest show on earth; he was clearly mistaken. There is this energy that the band and the music generates that is unique and entirely liberating. There is really only one way to describe it: pure beauty.
Sixty-four years ago, today, the world saw the largest airborne operation in history, Operation: Market Garden. If you haven’t done the math already, sixty-four years ago today is September 17, 1944—World War II. By this time, the Allies had recovered most of France, including Paris, and Germany pulled back behind their Siegfried Line. At this point, Poland and Britain had been in the war for five years, and the United States three. The Siegfried Line was a formidible defense for the Allies to try and break—it would take a long time to crack, more time than the Allies wanted to give. Field Marshall Montgomery, the British general, conceived of an idea to break it. His idea—which became Market Garden—was to take the British XXX Tank Corps through Holland, supported by American, British, and Polish airborne troops, capture bridges over the Rhine, and drive into Germany that way and take Berlin by Christmas, 1944. The airborne would land first, capture the bridges and the route (known as “Hell’s Highway”) so the tanks could roll aross the countryside and over the river. It failed miserably. The famous assumption that cost them the operation was that the Allied command thought that only “old men and boys” were in Holland; turns out there were many very strong German units there recuperating (I won’t go into the details of exactly who was there). The Allied forces met with resistance that they were entirely unready for. The result was the largest strategic defeat the Allies faced against the Germans in the entire war. A few months later, in December, however, Hitler launched an entire counter-offensive in an attempt to take back Western Europe, this was stopped, and, in turn, the Allies advanced and eventually took Germany.
Monty was looking for a shortcut to end the war by Christmas. It didn’t work. I feel like I see that a lot. When people bet big on the quick way out, but it never works. They always fall flat on their face. Usually, their plan seems like it should work, but something completely unpredicted gets in the way—Murphy’s Law. I mean I know I’ve tried things like that, and, sometimes, yea, I’ll get out, but at a very high cost. I guess I can’t blame him (though I read that Monty did ignore intelligence reports that said there were more Germans in Holland than he thought); it seems like it could have worked. That’s life, I guess: a series of quick bids to get through things, only to learn that we actually need to face them, confront them.
Anyway, that history lesson wiped me out. Today, as I predicted yesterday, was warmer, but still quite nice. There’s something very pleasant about walking around in shorts and a t-shirt and sandals—very soothing almost. We have a freeze warning tonight—yea, that’s right: a freeze warning. Tomorrow is supposed to be back to low 60’s. And today, I did catch the sunset (I even posted it twice to make up for the lost days!)