Monday, October 11, 2010

The Weekend

I hope your weekend wasn't as busy as mine seemed. First, Friday. I had a cold last week, Wednesday and Thursday being the worst two days. I was hoping I'd feel better Friday, and thankfully was. Gotta love that Comtrex, even if it is nearly impossible to get into! Friday night a friend and her mom hosted a Stampin' Up workshop, and had a really good turnout, about a dozen people. We made two cards, one I didn't like and have decided not to share, and one I did and am. I really like this design, which uses the "masking" technique to create both the moon and the illusion of snow. I may be using this design, or something similar, very soon. Got home around 10pm, bone tired, and managed to stay awake just long enough to finish the last couple chapters of a book before calling it a night.

Saturday was a little more laidback. I slept in a bit, finally rousing myself in time to shower and eat before the Badger football game came on. It was homecoing, as well as the Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. This annual game against the Minnesota Golden Gopher's is one of the longest rivalries in college football, dating back to 1890. The Badgers won possession of the axe for the seventh year in a row with a 41-23 victory. Yay, Bucky! Not having cable, I listened to the game on the radio while cutting cardstock. Now to just put that cardstock to use! I spent much of the afternoon and evening reading. I know I should have taken advantage of the summer-like weather (we hit a high of 85F Saturday, a new record for that date!) for a walk, but hey--I was just getting over a cold so I didn't.

Sunday was almost as warm as Saturday, high of 81 and hardly a cloud in the sky. I spent much of the afternoon at Forest Hill Cemetery for the annual Talking Spirits Tour. You can click on the label below or in the sidebar to read about tours during previous years. This was the twelfth year for the tour, which lasts roughly 90 minutes to two hours (it varies by year). Guides teach visitors about the history of the cemetery, which predates the Civil War, and along the way there are five or six "vignettes" where one "meets" former Madisonians from the year(s) highlighted during that year's tour. The last three or four years have focused on the Civil War, but there was a year that focused on WWII and there was another year that featured characters from four different conflicts.

I don't know whether it was owing to better advertising of the event or the exceptional weather, but this year's tour was without a doubt a HUGE success. I arrived at Forest Hill at 1:30 and all tours were sold out until 2:45. In the past I have never had to wait more than fifteen or twenty minutes. No biggie, it was a nice day, so I got myself a glass of complimentary lemonade and found a bit of shade under a gorgeous ash tree to read for an hour. Not a bad way to spend one's time on a beautiful autumn day.

This year's tour saw the return of a few favorite characters from previous years, including Lt. Alfred Lamson (right) and Lt. Col. Henry Harnden, but also a couple new ones as well. We started out at Soldier's Lot, the Union Civil War graveyard inside Forest Hill, where we met two of the eight orphans buried there, children of soldiers who died during the war. That was followed by a stop at Confederate Rest (pictured above), the northern most Confederate graveyard in the United States. Other Madisonians met along the day's tour included a Union prisoner of war, the lieutenant colonel responsible for capturing Jefferson Davis, and Col. Cassius Fairchild.

I did not take any pictures at last year's event, which I later regretted, so seemed to make up for that oversight this year. I will try to share more about the tour later in the week!


Alice Audrey said...

I've never taken the tour. Now I wish I could. I did, however, stop off and take a few pictures.

Heather said...

I wish you could take this tour, too! It is only open to the public one Sunday in October, with school tours three days during the week. Given how popular it has grown, I think they should consider making the tour a two-day affair.

Guided tour or not, I always enjoy wandering through Forest Hill. Despite the traffic on Speedway, it is quite peaceful beneath the trees, especially nearer the back of the cemetery, and--unlike the Catholic cemetery across the street--cool and shaded.

Most people do not know that, although it is a cemetery, Forest Hill was laid out as a pleasure park, and families used to picnic here on weekends up until around WWII.

Alice Audrey said...

Mr. Al was talking about cemeteries used as parks not to long ago.

Heather said...

Was he? Was that during your visit here, or completely unrelated? I always seem to visit at least one cemetery when on vacation. Père-Lachaise in Paris, Mount Moriah in South Dakota, Lafayette Cemetery #1 in New Orleans, Arlington... Mind you, I'm not one for traipsing about them at night, but I do like wandering them during the day. So much history, so many untold stories!