Monday, December 09, 2013

Grading War Letters to Home, Day 5

These are the letters from the fifth day of the Grading War.  If you landed here by accident and don't know what you're reading, click here for the backstory.

9 December 2013, 10:55am
Dearest Charles,
I received your note and hope you do not mind that I shared it aloud with the boys at breakfast this morn. We spent the better part of yesterday mending camp, replenishing supplies and tending to other corporeal demands. Our Rations had been reduced to little more than Toast & Beans, a half-can of Hominy, the last bit of Hardtack and very weak Coffee. You can imagine, I am sure, how loud were our Hurrahs when, late yesterday afternoon, the Quartermaster’s silhouette appeared out of the fog and, with him, that of his several bags heavy with relief! For now, it looks as if we will be spared that horrible disorder of the stomach & bowels plaguing the men in neighbouring camps.

I return to the front in short time with Resignation, knowing (if not willing) is sure to be a protracted one. Though I share your confidence that we do indeed fight to loosen the stranglehold with which Error, Miscalculation and Ignorance diminish our breath, I regretfully do not share your Faith that this Grading War is a noble one. In fact, dear Charles, I am given reason to suspect that many among the Rebel forces fight for Ideals, if not identical to yours and mine, certainly as noble as ours. ‘Tis a wretched shame that the faceless Powers commanding and directing this War continue to see it proper to send us all into battle, young and old, day after wretched day, under the banner of that increasingly tattered and increasingly ignoble Grading Flag.

There is glory in Truth, in Probity, in Rightness and in Wisdom, to be sure, my friend. But I confess to you now, on this my Fifth Day in the mud & cold: I fear there is no glory in Grades. At most there is but a poor reflection of that True Glory, and if we see the Virtues for which we fight in Grades, then we see them, as Paul wrote, only as if looking through a glass darkly.

Be strong, dear Charles. It is still very cold out, and Nature seems slow in righting herself. I eagerly await every good report from you and remain steadfastly, hopefully and fondly
Yours in Friendship and in Truth,
Leigh M. Johnson

Dear Charles, Dear Leigh,
Allow me to introduce myself as you likely do not recognize the hand in which this missive is written. My name is Phineas Hezekiah Spotweld, and I was a close friend, compatriot, and confidant of Art Carden. Though it has been many days since he last supped with you upon succulent fried fowl at a place called "The Rat," know that he spoke of you often, and fondly.

It is with heavy heart that I recount the conditions of his demise. He was heartened during this Great Grading War, for he had many students who wrote able and compelling analyses of monetary policy and of the institutional foundations of the wealth of nations. Many we're able to use "The Economick Waye of Thynking" to explain a great many things, but our good friend was hobbled for a while by a student who drew an upward-sloping demand curve. He never fully recovered, and he met his untimely demise in a Scantron machine explosion caused by a scoundrel who filled in his bubble sheet with a #3 pencil.

I know not what his last words were, though I'm sure his last thoughts were of you and of the righteous and noble cause for which this Great Grading War was begun. When you are tempted to hang your head or to weep with frustration, remember your dear friend. Continue fighting. Carry your head high and your banner proudly. Treasure the memory of the great many economists, physicists, philosophers, and Bothans who have died to bring us to the cusp of victory. I am, and shall remain,
Respectfully Yours,
Phineas Hezekiah Spotweld
3rd Samford Mounted Lecturers

Brave Charles,
I write this last, brief letter tonight before taking supper with the men and retiring for the evening. I send it with a heavy heart, having heard just this afternoon (as you must have also) of that dear boy Art's untimely expiration. Phineas was weeping still when he placed the news in my hand, and ere long I found my cheeks glistening with the same sorrow. Our friend Art was a strange one, with views as odd and sometimes ill-fitting as his lanky frame, but he was beloved. He always loathed this Grading War. He, above all others, should not have been one of its early casualties. (Really, the first to fall should have been Josiah.) I will miss Art, as I miss you now, but I will sleep tonight in the warmth of memories of a thousand better days with Friends, both quick and dead. Stay warm, persevere, and have confidence that I remain, as ever,
Fondly Yours,
Leigh M. Johnson

Click here to proceed to DAY SIX of the Grading War Letters

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