With no Saint to honor today, we note that today is the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, and the date upon which my father died in 1998.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn (also known as Custer’s Last Stand and, by the Native Americans involved, the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek) was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota and Northern Cheyenne against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle was the most famous action of the Great Sioux War of 1876 – 1877 (also known as the Black Hills War). It occurred on June 25 and June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, near what is now Crow Agency, Montana. Custer had 647 men in twelve companies; he placed three companies under the command of Major Marcus Reno, three companies with Captain Frederick Benteen, one company with Captain Thomas McDougall and the slower pack train, and kept five companies under his own command. Custer accepted the Army intelligence estimate that there were some 800 warriors in the village in the valley; however, the number of warriors in the village had increased to something between 900 and 2,500 fighting men. Reno’s companies were ordered to attack the village, while Benteen was to cover the left flank to the south, and Custer and his men were to the north, up on a hill. Reno’s companies were nearly destroyed, saved only by Benteen’s companies (under orders to reinforce Custer’s companies) coming to their aid. Meanwhile, on what later was called Last Stand Hill, the five companies with Custer (along with two of his brothers, a brother-in-law, and a nephew) were totally annihilated, with no survivors. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, led by Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). Total U.S. deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded. Americans were deeply shocked by Custer’s defeat and by the death toll, although it was not the highest inflicted by Native Americans on the United States Army. Sympathy for the widowed Elizabeth Bacon Custer suppressed active research of the battle (and potential criticism of her husband). Numerous participants decided to wait for her death before writing and publishing their accounts of the battle. However, Custer’s widow outlived almost all of those with personal knowledge of the battle and wrote three popular books that upheld her husband’s reputation; no serious fact finding about the battle started until after she died in 1933, some fifty-seven years after the battle. Thus, perception of the fight at the Little Bighorn was recreated along tragic Victorian lines in numerous books, films and other media until the middle of the 20th century. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is unique in that, when the dead were taken from the field of battle, it was noted where each man had fallen, so now the battlefield is dotted with some 268 white marble markers showing where each individual soldier (and scout) fell, and some 10 red granite markers showing where Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors fell. My father would have found it most ironic that he died (in 1998) on the same day as Custer’s Last Stand.
I was up at 8:15 am; Richard bagged up our trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. He then went and got biscuits for us, and I ate two bacon biscuits (thank you, Richard) and finished reading Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston (I would have finished it last night, but I fell asleep). I then got on the computer, and noted that the scheduled Weekly Computer Maintenance Backup had been successful, so I changed the date and time of the scheduled Weekly Computer Maintenance Backup to Wednesday mornings at 1:00 am. I then read the Thursday papers.
I left the house on my own at 10:00 am, and headed for the Clinic at the Casino; along the way I got a text message from Liz Ellen, which I looked at after I arrived at the Clinic. She apparently took the day off from work, and went up to our old home town in West Virginia (along the Ah-hi-a River) to do one of her hooping and juggling programs at the nursing home. She then went up to the cemetery (on the north side of town, not that it’s a very big town), to say hello to our father, who (given his quirky sense of humor) would have enjoyed Liz Ellen honoring him with a hooping and juggling show. I asked her (via text message) if she was able to use one of the versions of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” that I had sent her, per her request, and she said yes. At the Clinic I had my 10:50 am appointment with the Renal Specialist. He was pleased with my blood work and urine work results, and I will see him again on September 24th, with me getting blood drawn and leaving off a urine specimen on September 14th after work. (I have it marked in my calendar that on the 14th I have both blood drawn and a urine specimen; otherwise, I’m likely to do what I normally do, and use the facilities right before I clock out for the day, which is good for the days we drive back home, and bad if I have to leave off a urine specimen.) I then drove back into our town, and ate Chinese for lunch at Peking, where I started reading Forty Whacks: New Evidence in the Life and Legend of Lizzie Borden by David Kent. (The dust jacket is quite lurid; fortunately my copy, which I purchased second-hand, is sans lurid dust jacket.) I then went to Wal-Mart and purchased groceries and my salad supplies. My last stop was the Hit-n-Run, where I noted a ladder and a guy working up on the roof; I was told inside that the guy in question was working on the satellite, and that they could not do anything with lottery tickets until he was done in about an hour. (More anon.) I then headed home, arriving at 1:30 pm.
Once home I did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston. I then ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and made my lunch salads for Friday and Saturday. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, then I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. When I finish this Daily Update I will get ready for bed and do some reading.
Tomorrow we once again have no Saints to honor, so we will instead note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the introduction of the Universal Product Code in 1974. Tomorrow is also the birthday of one of my Internet friends, Lori in Wisconsin (1954). Richard and I will return to the casino to once again take up our current careers as table games dealers on what is our Monday. On my breaks I will continue cleaning up my photos from our trip to Connecticut and putting the National Parks I have visited into my National Parks Passport application on my Galaxy Note 4. On our way home from work I will stop at the Hit-n-Run and purchase my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. And I do not have anything scheduled for the afternoon (save the production of yet another Daily Update for my Three or Four Loyal Readers and my Host of Followers).
Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Dame Margaret Tyzack, British actress. Born in 1931 in Essex, she grew up in West Ham (now Greater London), attended an all-girls Ursuline school, and was a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962, and played Winifred Dartie in the TV mini series of The Forsyte Saga in 1967. She appeared in two films directed by Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971); between the two films she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1970. In 1976 she played the character of Antonia in the TV mini-series I, Claudius, and in the late 1970s she spent three years on stage at Stratford, Ontario, where she played Mrs. Alving in Ibsen’s Ghosts, Queen Margaret in Richard III, and the Countess of Roussillon in All’s Well That Ends Well. Tyzack received an Olivier Award in 1982 for a revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in which she played Martha, replacing Joan Plowright who was ill, and a Tony award in 1991 for the play Lettice and Lovage, in which she appeared in both the London and Broadway productions opposite Dame Maggie Smith. The American Actors’ Equity initially refused permission for Tyzack to join the New York production, but Smith refused to appear without Tyzack because of the “onstage chemistry” she believed the two women had created in their roles. In the 1990s she played a major role in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series as the young Indiana Jones’ strict Oxford-educated tutor, Miss Helen Seymour. Tyzack also appeared in Woody Allen’s 2005 film Match Point. In 2008 she was acclaimed for her portrayal of Mrs. St. Maugham in a revival of Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse, London, for which she won the Best Actress award in the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2009. In 2009 she appeared alongside Helen Mirren in Phedre at the Royal National Theatre. In the 20101 New Year Honours she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 2011 she joined the cast of soap opera EastEnders, playing Lydia Simmonds, but had to withdraw from the series due to ill health (died 2011): “If you watch TV or listen to the radio for a week, you would get the impression that everyone over the age of 60 has no control over their faculties. I don’t want us to be treated with kid gloves, but a fraction of respect would come in handy.”