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This and That on Friday

Sometimes it’s nice to reach for the notebook, give it a good shake… and see what comes out for a Friday blog.

a puppy laugh

Life is about choices. During a time of career slump, John Travolta turned down the part of playing the lovable Forrest Gump, a role that won Tom Hanks his second Best Actor Oscar.

From the history books is one of those rumored stories about President Lincoln’s well-known difficulties in finding a competent general to lead the Union armies during the Civil War.  One General was roundly criticized by many and was ultimately hired, fired, and then rehired when his successors proved just as bad (General McClellan).

When Lincloln was asked why he didn’t just fire McClellan once and for all, Honest Abe replied with a question  “And replace him with whom?”  “Anybody.” came the reply. “That’s just it,” said Mr. Lincoln, “I can’t have ANYBODY. I have to have SOMEBODY”

And for pic o’ day, I really can’t tell if I am more distracted by the computer, a boxer at a desk, or the fact that someone is distracting hm from his work.

old computer

The Wilmer McLean Comparison

     I’ll bet that insurance adjusters would blame all the events on Wilmer McLean. No, this isn’t story on why some mother named her child Wilmer. It’s about Wilmer McLean and the Civil War.

     When the Civil War started in 1861, McLean was 47 and considered to be too old to be a soldier. He was just a wholesale grocer.  He did live on a road that was between Washington, D.C and Richmond, Virginia. At some point as a sugar broker, he began selling sugar to the Confederates.

     The first land battle of the Civil War, “The First Battle of Bull Run“, broke out on July 21, 1861, near Manassas, Virginia; which was Wilmer’s hometown.  At the time, Confederate General Beauregard needed a building to serve as headquarters for his staff and decided to make the McLean home his headquarters, because of McLean’s relationship to the Confederacy. (Yorkshire Plantation)

     Sometime during the evening, the Union Army fired on the McLean household. One cannonball found its way down the chimney. No one in the house was hurt but General Beauregard was later noted to say that the true damage caused was that his dinner was ruined. 

     Fortunately, none of the McLean family was hurt. So, he made plans to move his family. Wilmer waited too long. Another battle much larger, known as the “Second Battle of Bull Run“, also took place in  front yard of the McLean house.

     Finally, Wilmer decided to move to a small, quiet place. He found a nice cottage in Clover Hill, Virginia. Thereafter, the town changed its name to Appomattox Court House.

     By 1865, General Robert E. Lee had come to the conclusion that the war was a losing cause. He decided to make plans to surrender and sent a messenger to Appomattox Court House to find a place to meet with General Ulysses S. Grant, for the purpose of surrender.

     The messenger found his way to the front door of the McLean household and asked Wilmer for the use of his house. There, in that McLean parlor, Lee surrendered to Grant, ending the Civil War. History records, just as Wilmer McLean said it, “The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor”.

     Following the surrender, representatives from both sides basically helped themselves the the McLean furniture as surrender souvenirs. They tossed McLean a few dollars; far less than the value of the memorabilia. Wilmer later was unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and had to declare bankruptcy.

     I started this out, wondering how an adjuster would blame Wilmer for these events. It reminds me of a lady that I represented several years ago.

     It’s not that unusual to represent someone for a second accident. However, I represented this lady for 4 different cases. After the first case, I would listen to adjusters explain that my client’s injuries were preexisting; or they would make a joke about her repeatedly being in an accident.

     Only in the first case was she the person driving. The fourth case resulted from a crash in northern Virginia. She was being transported from the airport by a motel van. Another car hit the van on I-95. For that case, my client again was hurt. Each subsequent case made her more afraid to be on a high speed road or even traveling in a car. The adjuster brought up all the same excuses before finally making payment, right before trial.

     After the last crash, my client and her husband moved to Franklin, Virginia. I haven’t heard from her in a while. I hope no one knocks on her front door with some bad opportunity. Hopefully the town of Franklin is giving her a nice life.  

    And now pic o’ day to get you thinking about some costume ideas:


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