September 30, 2011
My summer of Shelby
The R.H.O. himself.
The summer of 2011 officially ended last week and the weather is starting to act like it, for now anyway. I'll remember this season for several reasons, some pleasant, some not. The trip to Italy was cool; the constant knee pain not so much.
But aside from all that, I will remember this as my summer of Shelby. It was during this season that I listened to an unabridged recording of all three volumes of Shelby Foote's masterful Civil War trilogy.
I'm talking over 110 CDs of around an hour and 15 minutes each. If I did the math right, that comes out to 135+ hours. That's a lot of Shelby. He took up my time doing chores, driving, walking the dogs, mowing the lawn, etc.
I have mentioned before how I worship him and have been known to channel him from time to time. I love his long, rambling sentences and sharp wit. I only wish the version I listened to was read by the author. But then I'd listen to a recording of the real Shelby reading the phone book.
When you spend that much time with an author you notice things. I noticed that Shelby had a real issue with William Tecumseh Sherman, which is perhaps not so surprising from a true son of the south.
I wish I had a dollar for every time he referred to Sherman as a "red headed Ohioan." He seemed to be unable to refer to Sherman, who is bound to show up a lot in a book on the subject, without mentioned his hair color.
It made me wonder whether the divine Shelby had a thing about redheads too.
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