Friday, December 13, 2013

Grading War Letters to Home, Day 9

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

One last note:  this whole #GradingLetterstoHome adventure was great fun, and a very welcome relief from the drudgery of grading.  Thanks to Marcus Battle for coming up with the idea in the first place, and special thanks to my fellow letter-writers over the last week or so: Charles McKinney (Rhodes College), Susan Satterfield (Rhodes College), Art Carden (Samford University), Zeke Leonard (Syracuse Univeristy) and Marcus Langford (University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash).  To of all my Civil War-enthusiast friends, I want to say for the record that I am aware that real wars are brutal and cruel, and that grading is a misfortune of an entirely different ilk.  To my students, I want to say for the record that I do not think that you are the Opposition.  To everyone unable to understand an extended metaphor, I got nothing for you.

13 December 2013, 1:38pm
Dearest Charles,
Dare I write it? Dare I say it aloud? Dare I even think it? Just this morning, our regiment laid down arms and watched as the truce between ourselves and the Political Philosophy Company was signed, certified and dispatched in the saddlebags of our respective couriers, to be carried on swift and noble steeds back to the Command Posts. I report to you now, dear Charles, that I am given reason to believe that the end to this protracted struggle is blessedly nigh.

We have but one more battle to fight here, and we will endeavor with all our courage and might to bring that dread encounter with the Existentialism Company to a speedy resolution. Our side has, I admit with some embarrassment, avoided them thus far, constantly revising our strategies and re-routing our efforts each time we heard the muffled thud of the E.C.'s boots close-by. But no more! We chomp down now on the steely bit of our Fate, hard and determined like beasts of burden in the field.. By hook or by crook, we shall not sleep another night at War.

So confident are we that the finale is within reach, several of the men and I have already begun making plans for our celebration of its much-anticipated end. Mark my words, dear Charles, that together our Company will travel homeward tonight on wings like eagles', and we will rest ourselves, at long last, in our familiar seats of our familiar watering-hole back home, in the company of friends for whom our hearts have desperately longed. Full of joy and full of love for one another, we will fill ourselves with spirits and all the fried chicken wings that we have been so long denied. We will revel in the music of home, in laughter and in dancing til the wee hours, and we will know that it is good.

I pray you and yours see a similar Vision of Home, close enough to believe in, to encourage your hearts and, above all, to realize. I remain, even in these last hours, as ever,
Your friend,
Leigh M. Johnson

Dearest Charles,
It is with my most full and gladdest heart that I draw myself away from the celebrations, only for a moment, to relay the happy news of our Company's long-awaited VICTORY in the Grading War! Hallelujah, hallelujah and a thousand more hallelujahs! Already we've begun feasting like Kings here. We've uncorked the first of what is sure to be many bottles of spirits, we've joined up with the men in neighbouring Companies to trade stories over the fire and, to be sure, we've unleashed a manner of Revelry that resounds with no less thundering reverberation than the most glorious chorus of Angels!

This will be my last dispatch to you, my exultant peroration to our lengthy and heart-wrenching correspondence over the last several days. I entrust this missive to our courier, and bid him a fond farewell, with every hope that my letter finds your Company immersed in the same saturnalia as ours, clinking your glasses and packing your bags to Home as we do now.

This Grading War has both tested and refined all of our moral backbones, my friend. I, for one, have come to see the Opposition as not only deserving, but also worthy, of my respect. God forbid I ever enter into such a battle again but, should that inevitability come to pass, know that you hold within your hands now evidence of my pledge to not feign ignorance of memory of these last nine days. Let it be the case that those memories will, God permitting, both direct and correct my path next time.

As the prophet Isaiah foretold, we shall henceforth run and not grow weary, we shall walk and not be faint. But not tonight, dear Charles, not until we drink ourselves, tonight at least, into oblivion.

Whatever state you find yourself in whilst you read these words, I pray you take comfort that your friend's is a triumphant state. I remain gleefully (and unapologetic in my bliss), as I have been devotedly throughout these days and as I remain, as ever,
Your friend,
Leigh M. Johnson

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