Susan called her mom for Mother's Day and spent half the phone call talking to her dad.
He asked her if she were a history buff (she's not a buff anything) and did she know of the Pulitzer prize winning historian David McCullough? Susan's dad was quite surprised to find that she did not, her knowledge of historical authors being limited to whoever put together the Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, which is an entertaining book regardless.
Susan's dad told her that David McCullough's new book was a collection of speeches he's delivered over the years entitled 'An American Spirit' and he had recently been discussing it on Charlie Rose. Susan thought this sounded like the blandest collection of uninteresting OMG who cares but, she is rarely disappointed in her father's choice of reading material, and she likes Charlie Rose, so she said she'd watch the interview later that evening.
She GTS-ed David McCullough on Charlie Rose and sat enthralled for almost an hour by this series of interviews. Most exciting was his description of the Battle of Brooklyn, in which General Washington & his amateur army of mostly New England farmers got the crap kicked out of them, followed by their miraculous night time escape to Manhattan in which a providential fog is featured. Susan loved his realistic description of Washington as having never commanded an army in his life, who was out-foxed, out-flanked and out-numbered, who made bad mistakes in judgement & suffered terrible defeats but did not quit and learned by experience as he went along.
Memorable also was the story of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River with Washington's modest Continental Army, all in sad shape, who marched through the night and attacked the Hessians (well trained German soldiers hired by Britain) at Trenton. And won!
One detail stuck with her; the reports of bloody footprints left in the snow by the shoeless soldiers in that winter of 1776.
Eventually she got tired, bookmarked the interview, and went to sleep. The following morning Susan made a point to call her dad to let him know how much she loved the interview and to discuss her favorite parts.
That evening she climbed into bed with a book that was sitting around since the previous weekend when she brought it home from the thrift store. Blood, Bones & Butter; The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef begins with a description of the author's childhood home on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.
Here is paragraph two from page one;
That part of the world, heavily touristed as it was, was an important location of many events in the American Revolutionary War. George Washington crossed the Delaware here, to victory at the Battle of Trenton, trudging through the snowy woods and surprising the British in spite of some of his troops missing proper shoes, their feet instead wrapped in newspaper and burlap.