Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

BLACK IRON MERCY  TO BE LAUNCHED IN JUNE

I’m so very happy and proud to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Deeds Publishing of Athens, Georgia, to publish my novel, Black Iron Mercy.  Final edits have been applied to the manuscript and it’s on its way to the creative director for the layout process.

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Whew!  It’s been four and a half years since I started the research for this project.  Nine months of research, two years of writing, a lifetime of editing, and five long months of querying and rejection have culminated in success.  It’s been a long road, but could have been so much longer if not for the help and support of my family and friends.

Thank you to all of YOU, my friends and followers, for your continued support through your words of kindness and encouragement, assessment and criticism.  So many of you have said the right words at just the right moment, providing motivation and inspiration to continue this voyage.  I’m grateful!

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Eric Schlehlein, Author

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Capt Rufus R Dawes, CO K, 6th Wisconsin Volunteers

Mr. Dawes is quite a remarkable man. Forever cemented in the histories of the Iron Brigade, the affections of Mauston, WI natives, the leadership of the 6th Wisconsin, and the spirit of the “Lemonweir Minutemen,” Dawes wasn’t even a Badger by birth.

Like everyone else in early 1861, Dawes got swept up in the excitement of Lincoln’s call for Volunteers. Dawes, who happened to be in Mauston, Wisconsin with his father on extended business at the time of the firing on Fort Sumter, chose to raise a company of volunteers right there, rather than return to his home town of Marietta, Ohio to do so.

In a letter to his sister dated May 4, 1861, Dawes writes: “I have been so wholly engrossed with my work for the last week or I should have responded sooner to your question: ‘Are…

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Eric Schlehlein, Author

There’s a custom in America, and I suspect a few other countries, to place useful things on a useful space in a useful room and then to issue an edict throughout the house, stating that such things are hereby off-limits, rendering those things useless.

The custom of placing decorative towels on a hook or a rack or upon a shelf next to the dried flowers or above the wicker basket that holds the decorative soaps that we are not allowed to use has been going on for at least three generations, testing the self-discipline of children — and grown men — since the end of the depression.  

decorative towels

Look, but don’t touch… and by God, keep your damn hands off my flower, too.

In my house, such towels often become the magnet for the toothpaste left over after tooth-brushing regimens, the streaks of white or blue evidencing the failed self-discipline…

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Eric Schlehlein, Author

THE WORDS HE NEVER SAID HAVE STAYED WITH ME

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JOHN LENNON’S BLOOD-STAINED GLASSES

A long time ago I was watching a piece on television about the assassination of John Lennon.  The report was claiming that, after taking two bullets from Mark David Chapman’s pistol, Lennon had staggered into the lobby of his apartment building, the Dakota, and exclaimed to a nearby concierge, “They’ve shot me.”

Apparently he never said, “They’ve shot me.”  Doing a search online about the last words of John Lennon will get you a couple of different stories.  One will claim that instead of “They’ve shot me,” he uttered, “I’m shot,” before collapsing on the steps inside the lobby of his apartment building.  Another story says that he was conscious but incoherent in his last moments, answering “yeah” or “yes” to officials asking him if he’s John Lennon in the back of an ambulance.

What a stupid…

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THE END: PUNGENT, GENIAL

Posted: April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Honor and Empathy in Triumph and Humiliation

There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant… and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” – Gen Robert E Lee, Appomattox Court House, VA – April 9, 1865

On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?” – Maj Gen Joshua L Chamberlain, after receiving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

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   Chamberlain

Chamberlain was clearly moved during the surrender ceremony, causing him to order his men to give the marching salute as the Rebels marched past. Confederate Major General John B Gordon was momentarily stunned, then he and his mount pivoted to face General Chamberlain. Removing his hat,  the General and his horse bowed, as one, before Gordon ordered his men to return the salute. This moment marked the beginning of the healing of our nation, and it is my favorite tidbit from all that is our Civil War. Revolutions, failed or not, do not normally end this way. It ranks as one of the most beautiful moments in our history.

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         Gordon

This is a re-blog of a story I wrote four years ago and finally blogged in February of last year.

CHAPTER 28

An excerpt from an unpublished novel of our civil war
SUBJECT TO SOME MAJOR EDITING

 

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

          July 1, 1863

             10:30 am

 

 They’d been ordered to lie down in the field by Lt. Colonel Dawes, who was in command of the regiment, as Colonel Bragg had been kicked in the foot by a horse a few weeks back and was recuperating in Washington.  The regiment was being held in reserve as the rest of the brigade went into action against the Rebel line in the woods ahead of them.  The brigade had hurried forward on the run, the Sixth Wisconsin being the last regiment in the order of march for the day, rushing to gain a position on the left flank of the brigade, which was hastily moving en echelon into the woods to the west.  They ran into the trees and disappeared into the undergrowth, no longer visible to the men of the Sixth.

Suddenly, an aide galloped up to Dawes and had spoken hurriedly to him, causing the commander to order the regiment to lie down in the field as they were now.  Gunfire erupted in a tremendous crash from the woods as the rest of the brigade ran headlong into the rebel line.

“Something’s wrong.” Arlis said, lying prone in the field.

Bath, who lay to the immediate right of Arlis, said, “Why?”  His head flailed from side to side, franticly scanning the scene before them.  He was wide-eyed.  “What’s going on?”

“That aide that rode up to the colonel is Lieutenant Marten, one of Doubleday’s aides,” Arlis said, loud enough for most of the men around him to hear.  “Something must have happened to Reynolds if Doubleday is giving the orders.”  Reynolds, a very competent Pennsylvanian, commanded the First Corp.  He was in command of three divisions, containing seven infantry brigades and a brigade of artillery.

  Arlis watched as the commander of the brigade guard, which consisted of about one hundred men, briefly met with Lt. Colonel Dawes and then split the guard into two, fifty man companies, ordering each to lie down on the flanks of the Sixth, one company per side.  This strengthened the regiment to 340 men and officers, which was less than thirty-five percent of the strength that they’d mustered in at Camp Randall two years prior.  The Sixth Wisconsin was now the only regiment that was not yet engaged in all of Wadsworth’s division, consisting of the Iron Brigade and Cutler’s Brigade, which was made up of four New York regiments, a Pennsylvania regiment, and an Indiana regiment.  Cutler’s Brigade was already in action on the right flank of the Iron Brigade.

“We’re in reserve?” Bath asked, irritation in his voice.  “Why the hell don’t they let us in on the left of the twenty-fourth?”

“Relax, Tubber,” Arlis said, using the nickname that the company had bestowed on Bath.  Bath… Bathtub… Tub… Tubber.  He looked sideways at Bath, “Usually they use the regiment that’s in reserve to plug the line where the action is hottest.  Be careful what you wish for, Private.  You’re gonna see action today.  The whole damn Rebel army is out there somewhere.”

Another aide approached the mounted Dawes on horseback.

“That’s Lieutenant Jones,” Arlis said.  “He belongs to Doubleday, too.”

“How do ya know,” Bath bellowed, attempting to be heard over the gunfire.

Arlis spun his head wildly toward Bath and yelled angrily, “Because I pay attention, Bath.  Open your eyes and shut your mouth now!”

Dawes turned and passed the order down the chain of command.  Captain Ticknor, now the commander of Company K, passed it to his men.

“On your feet, men…”

 

THE LAW, THE CONSEQUENCES, AND ENTITLEMENTS

 

Oh hell, cherries on the car behind me.  He can’t be after me, can he?

Yes, he can… and is.  He’s definitely coming after me.

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Last February, and for the first time in sixteen years, I got a speeding ticket.  A deputy for the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department pegged me doing 51 in a 35 MPH zone while I was delivering pizzas.  He pulled me over and wrote me a citation.  Bummer.

I was guilty, no bones about it.  I was speeding and deserved to be punished in whatever fashion my community deemed necessary.  In this case, the community demanded $119 and 4 points.  Fair enough.  Most communities would want more.  I paid the ticket two weeks later — well before the due date — and withheld any rights I might have about fighting it or getting my punishment reduced.

As a long-time member of our local fire department, I have almost daily contact with the police in my local village.  Although I would consider a couple of them as friends of mine, I have no expectations about what might happen should I get pulled over by one of them.  I would never ask any of these officers to let me off just because of my job… even as I would be hoping upon hope that they would do so without any asking (begging) or prompting by me.

Sometimes, while responding to ambulance calls that are outside of my village, I have contact with county deputies who respond to the scene to assist EMS.  I know quite a few deputies by name because of this.  I don’t claim to know any of them well.

I had never before met Deputy M_______ before he pulled me over last February.  If I had, perhaps he would have recognized me, told me to slow down, and let me off with a verbal warning.  Deputy M_______ was professional, kind, and polite even as he was explaining that he was giving me a citation. He wrote me up and I drove back to the pizza store, ready to continue in my quest to deliver hot, fresh food to hungry customers.

I would have (nearly) forgotten about this whole episode by now, and I certainly would have no reason to blog about it, if something unusual hadn’t occurred just four days after my contact with the deputy.

I ran into him on an EMS call.

We went about our business, doing what each of us was expected to do.  Ten minutes later, I approached him.

“Hello Deputy M______,” I said.  “I’ll bet ya didn’t expect to see me again so soon.”

This sentence was carefully calculated.  I was testing him on whether or not he’d remember the pizza guy in a different environment.  Shamed as I am to admit, I wanted to knock him off-kilter.  As much as I respect cops, it was still “too soon,” I guess, and when I sensed his discomfort in not remembering me, I felt smug.  *Smirk*

“So soon?” he asked, “I haven’t assisted (your department) in a long time.”

I stared at him for a moment, pretending to be in a state of disbelief.  Then I said, “You wrote me up for speeding a few days ago.  You remember… the pizza guy…”

What I wanted to say was, “You haven’t tested for detective yet, have you?”  I was hoping that my face was conveying that very question to him at that exact moment.  Shameful, I know.  If I had been in his place, and he in mine, I wouldn’t have remembered me either.  Still, it was in my blood that day to be bitter.  I bit my tongue.

“Oh, sure,” said Deputy M_______.  “You didn’t tell me you were on the fire department.”

Pause the story right here.

You know how you have moments in your life that you re-live over and over, brainstorming on all of the things that you might have said, could have said, should have said, but you didn’t say them because you didn’t have enough time to think things through?

“You didn’t tell me you were on the fire department.”

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This is a “MATRIX” moment, where everything stops and I have an infinite amount of time to dwell upon everything that is wrong with that statement and then an equal amount of time to set Deputy M______ straight in how he sees the world.

 Instead, I said, “Would it have made a difference?”  Shit.  Lame.

“Maybe,” he said.

Last I checked, he and I didn’t know each other.  I was completely annoyed.  How many things were running through my head at that moment?  Not nearly as many as I would have liked.

Why didn’t it make a difference that I was delivering pizzas instead of running EMS?  Did it make a difference that I went 16 years without a traffic violation?  Would it have made a difference if I’d have told him that I have two girls at home that I’m trying to feed and clothe and put college money away for?  Would it have made a difference if I said the rent was a month late because we’re trying to put $7,200 toward a Disney World trip later this year?

“I’ll pay the damn ticket,” I said.