Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Next Generation of Addicts

Friends,

I am hanging up my badge and gun.  This week I investigated my last case.  No more cancelled plans, no more middle of the night phone calls summoning me to see something that I would rather not, no more flashing lights, no more sirens, no more witness interviews or suspect interrogations, no more missed meals, no more digging through burned out homes looking for some small sample of an ignitible liquid that may or may not even be there.  After many consultations with my wife, my doctors, my trusted friends, and even a priest, I have come to the realization that my degenerated discs will no longer allow me to do this line of work.  It puts my safety at risk and, more important, the safety of the citizens who rely on people like me to protect them from themselves and others.  So I am trading in my badge and gun for cane.

I never thought I would have to make this decision until I was ready to retire, but the gods have conspired against me.  I could be angry and question why this had to happen to me, but what good would that do?  I have accepted it and now it is time to move on.  So what does all this have to do with the Civil War?

Well, being a Civil War Addict does not pay the bills.  One must do something as a source of income.  Luckily my wife is employed by a school district that pays quite well by our state's standards.  I too will be picking up the chalk again......okay, actually it is a flash drive, but you get the point.  Starting this fall I will be teaching at a couple of local community colleges.  I'll be teaching 8 classes, which is quite a bit, but a few are online which should ease the burden a little.  Standing is the one thing I can do which doesn't hurt my back and since you can't teach sitting down (or at least not very well), I am fortunate to have this opportunity.  And the opportunity comes with 3 day weekends!

I'll have the chance to influence the next generation of Civil War Addicts.  Who knows, maybe the next great Civil War historian or novelist will be one of the smiling faces I have greeting me when I walk (hobble, actually) into the classroom in a few weeks.  I have taught fairly regularly in the past but it has been a semester since I was last in the classroom.  Hopefully I haven't lost my magic touch.  The reduced strain on my back might help me to reach a full recovery, but the odds are against that.  However, it should help with the day to day pain levels.  At this point, I'd be happy with just a 25% improvement.

My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict who is both excited and apprehensive about the path that fate has led me down.  I don't know what the future will hold anymore.  Frankly, I don't give a damn.  I know that no matter what new hurdles are placed in my path, I'll be facing them with the best friend a man could ever hope for, my cat Simon.  (And my wife too of course!)