Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Great Men of History
It should have been a simple repair. Generally, when our water pipes freeze, I just heat them up with the blow drier for a couple of minutes, and, wallah - running water. But not this time. The pipes just wouldn't thaw. I wasn't too concerned. It was just a minor inconvenience. We did have cold running water at the bathtub, so I could keep things running fairly smoothly. I was hoping for Sir Knight to get home, because he seems to have the magic touch with the hair dryer. He always puts it in just the right spot and miraculously, water starts flowing almost immediately. But not this time.
Sir Knight got home from a day slaying dragons, to a wife saying "before you get too comfortable...." I told him that I had been unable to get the pipes thawed and that I had been at it off and on all day. I also informed him that using the generator to run the hair dryer was not working because the dryer kept flipping the circuit breaker. Maid Elizabeth and I had a system. She would run out to the generator, make it back into the shouse just in time for me to yell "go flip the circuit breaker", run outside again and, well, you see were this is going! It had been nothing short of frustrating. By the time Sir Knight got home, I really didn't care if we had running water at the present, I just wanted to be done messing with the pipes.
Riding to my rescue, Sir Knight rolled up his sleeves, and humming a little tune (I think it might be his theme song) went to work on the pipes. He cheated though, and used a torch (now why hadn't I thought of that?). But still, the pipes wouldn't thaw. What in the world? And then he saw it - the pipe was not only frozen, it had completely split at a seam! Had any of my efforts, or the early efforts of Sir Knight worked, our entire bathroom would have been flooded. And so, Sir Knight went to work. Still humming his theme song, he dug through the tool box, found a little of this, a little of that and a hose clamp (don't ask) and fixed that broken pipe.
After his great success with the pipes, he was ready for a cup of tea. But before he sat down to enjoy the evening, he decided to head out and start the generator so that we could charge batteries as we enjoyed our afternoon cuppa. The generator started with one pull and Sir Knight came into our cozy shouse ready to put his feet up. And then the breaker flipped. Yes, you read that correctly. After having tripped the breaker a gazillion times trying to run the hair dryer, it would no longer "hold". There truly is no rest for the weary. We really had to charge batteries, so it was back into the dark night for Sir Knight. He had yet another dragon to slay. With a flashlight held between his teeth, blowing on his hands from time to time to keep the frostbite at bay, Sir Knight re-wired the generator.
As Sir Knight lay on his back in the snow, in sub-zero temperatures (with a wind chill), holding a flashlight between his teeth, fixing the generator yet again, I started thinking about great men. I don't mean wealthy men or successful men or powerful men, but GREAT men. Men that persevere in the midst of crushing adversity, men that fail only to dust themselves off and start again, men that rise from the ashes like a Phoenix taking flight. Men like my husband - the slayer of my dragons.
The great men of history have not been formed in the halls of academia or the nurseries of grand homes. They have not been chiseled from the boardrooms of commerce or the venerable marbled columns of congress. They have been hewn out of adversity. The stoic men that built our country held fast the British and overcame the British and Hessian armies through sheer grit, determination. They met adversity as Great Men.
"To compound Washington's problems, the enlistments of the majority of the Militias under his command were due to expire at the end of the month and the troops return to their homes. Washington had to do something, and quickly.
His decision was to attack the British. The target was the Hessian-held town of Trenton just across the Delaware River.
During the night of December 25, Washington led his troops across the ice-swollen Delaware about 9 miles north of Trenton. The weather was horrendous and the river treacherous. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain to produce almost impossible conditions. To add to the difficulties, a significant number of Washington's force marched through the snow without shoes.
The next morning, they attacked to the south, taking the Hessian garrison by surprise and over-running the town. After fierce fighting, and the loss of their commander, the Hessian's surrendered.
Washington's victory was complete, but his situation precarious. The violent weather continued - making a strike toward Princeton problematic. Washington and his commanding officers decided to retrace their steps across the Delaware River, taking their Hessian prisoners with them.
The news of the American victory spread rapidly through the colonies reinvigorating the failing spirit of the revolution. The battle's outcome also gave Washington and his officers the confidence to mount another campaign. On December 30, they again crossed the Delaware, attacked and won another victory at Trenton on January 2, and then pushed on to Princeton defeating the British there on January 3.
Although not apparent at the time, these battles were a decisive turning point in the Revolution. The victories pulled the languishing Revolution out of the depths of despair, galvanized colonial support, shocked the British and convinced potential allies, such as France, Holland and Spain, that the Continental Army was a force to be reckoned with."
EyeWitness to History.com
The list of great men is long, but, I'm afraid, not current. I do not see Great Men leading our country, standing in the gap between good and evil. I do not see Great Men being hewn in the school of adversity.
Our country longs for a Great Man. We long for a leader that will stand for truth and righteousness regardless of the personal cost. If a Great Man were to lead us, we would follow.
Our family is lead by a Great Man. That is a beginning. If many Great Men were to rise in families, more Great Men would follow in their footsteps. If we embraced adversity and allowed it to form our boys into Great Men, our country would experience a revival unparalleled.
And behind every Great Man, there is a woman, quietly, humbly, encouraging, serving, helping her man become a Great Man.