Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grading War Letters to Home, Winter 2014 (Day One)

These are the letters from the first day of the 2014 Grading War.  If you landed here by accident and don't know what you're reading, click here for the backstory.


Day One, 12:40am
My Dear Leigh,
It has been far too long since I’ve written to you. For this transgression, I can only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Due to the current campaign, I haven’t had a dog’s chance of putting pen to paper. And it has been far too long since I’ve heard from you. It is my sincere hope that my letter finds you well, and in good spirits. I pray that this cursed Grading War has not gotten the best of you. From my vantage point, the casualties mount with a grim regularity that sickens and saddens me. It is Loss that will haunt me for the rest of my days. If the War has claimed you as well, my Despair will know no bounds.
This cursed Grading War – it deforms the soul and corrupts the most noble of intentions. None of us have escaped its Wrath. With each passing day, my uncertainty grows. I know not whether I will see the other side of the execrable conflict. I am distant from my comrades. Food has no taste. Even the weather has turned against us – the ceaseless grey skies mock us at every turn. The Dead March of Time offers me no comfort, no sanctuary. However, I truly fear for many of the young people in my charge. I fear that I’ve not been able to protect them, and give them the guidance they so desperately need in order to survive this monstrous ordeal. Many of them are irreparably harmed by this War. They cower in the face of firm instruction. They feign understanding and claim comprehension, yet many of them utter balderdash when asked to produce simple reports. I’ve tasked many of them with producing reports containing primary source materials – the very stuff of History. And yet, after months of instruction, I’ll have to acknowledge the corn and admit that much of their performance has been less than desirable. I know what awaits many of them. They will get my assessments back, and their eyes will dim. Their backs will curve and the air will leave their sails. Many of them will eventually absquatulate, in a vain attempt to make their way home. It is a sad and awful thing to see, and my heart sinks in the wake of their collapse. But, I must hold firm. While I know I can always improve my instruction, it is incumbent upon those under my command to steel themselves for the journey that lies ahead of them. I fear many who claimed to be fully prepared for this torturous odyssey have only now found out that they were sadly mistaken.

On this day, Carnage was unchained. Its Wrath was unspeakable. I hope this letter finds its way to you, because the thought that you may, one day, inform me of your position gives me the slimmest thread of hope that, in the midst of this ordeal, you are well.
I will try to write you again, but I cannot be certain of it. I will remain, as ever,
Very Fondly Yours,
Charles W. McKinney

10:42am
Dearest Charles,
Would that it were not the case that I was dispatching this short missive to confirm what surely you must already suspect is True. Like you, my friend, I have also been conscripted once again into service at the front of this wretched Grading War. Only two weeks ago, sitting down for a hearty supper at home—Rabbit & Potatoes, if I recall, your favorite!—I thought I heard the muffled detonations of nearby combat, faint skirmishes, muted cries. No sooner had I laid down my knife & fork and sent up a quick and fervent prayer to our Intercessor than the dreaded knock resounded at my door, calling me back to this familiar tent, which remains as Spartan and wretchedly cold as my last time in it, unsympathetically frugal in the comfort it yields to the Body, perfectly close-fisted in the comfort it yields to Spirit.
For four days already now, our Philosophy Company has engaged the Opposition with steadfast Determination and no end is yet within sight. (Recall, dear Charles, that I was, ahem,“reassigned” after the last campaign. I now battle further away from you, alongside the brave soldiers of the Christian Brothers University Division.) We worried that the Opposition may attack this time around with more sophisticated tactics but, as Fortune has fortuitously seen fit, even the wiliest and most Degenerate among them are armed with only scarcely-modified variations of their old, familiar weaponry: the dreaded Non-Sequitur canons, the rapid-fire Run-On Sentence Rifles, the devastating so-called "improvised" CPE’s (Cut-and-Paste Explosives). Their occasional deployment of unpredictable and haphazard Citation Formations continues to stymie and overburden the attention of our Company, as has their newly-devised strategy of summoning new soldiers to arrive unannounced and late to the battle. We have not yet mounted an effective defense for either of these.
With a heavy heart, I regret to report that our victories are measured at most by hairs’ breadths. We measure our setbacks, on the other hand, by nothing less immeasurably expansive than the Prides of Nations.
My boots are regrettably strapped for today and I am but moments from returning to the front. One last grievance that I must confide, however, if you can bear another amidst your own Struggles and grief: to be called off to fight this Grading War again, especially now, with so many more genuinely Noble engagements remaining left to be fought back home, continues to weigh upon my Heart and my Conscience heavily. As you are able, please do continue to send word of your station; our correspondence is a comfort that I cannot bear to lose, a luxury that I shan’t squander. Be well, be of good Heart, stay Steadfast in your doubtlessly disconsolate situation, and I will, as ever, remain affectionately and devotedly
Yours in friendship,
Leigh M. Johnson 


Click here to proceed to DAY TWO of the 2014 Grading War Letters to Home.

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