Born, raised, and currently live in Oklahoma. Life-long OU Sooners fan. OKC Thunder fan since before we knew what their name was going to be. Dog person, having had dogs in our family literally as far back as I can remember, along with an assortment of cats, rabbits, hamsters, and thanks to the lucky bounce of a nickle at the state fair one year as a kid, one goldfish.
I played baseball as a kid, and was well on my way to being a future major-league all-star shortstop. Until grade school ended.
I was seriously into bowling from around the age of five until my late 40's, when a bum knee finally forced me out of the game. I still bowl a few games here and there for fun, but that's about it. Over the years I ended up with four sanctioned 300's, one sanctioned 299, lots of gutter balls, splits, and whiffed spares, and some truly great memories. The best part was the people I got to meet, the friends I made, and the places I had the chance to visit when bowling in tournaments. It didn't last long enough, but it was great while it did.
I got hooked on the Civil War as a kid, and as many of you have doubtless learned, once you're hooked on the war, you never really get un-hooked. My first in-person Civil War experience was Point Park on top of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, along with the nearby (and now re-named) Confederama. Chickamaga and Missionary Ridge followed in short order. Then came Shiloh, and I've never looked back.
Having come into the war by way of Tennessee, I have a natural bias for the Western Theater. I do believe that the war was won in that theater; but I also believe that the Eastern Theater was just as important, and that the Trans-Mississippi was important in ways that perhaps are not fully appreciated. The whole "east vs west" thing where the Civil War is concerned is just so much noise to me. They were each important, just for different reasons.
As with bowling, I've met and made some great friends through my interest in the Civil War over the years. I enjoy group outings, but some of my most memorable experiences have come on solo trips to hauntingly quiet battlefield parks. If you don't believe that those now-silent battlegrounds speak to us, then all I can say is this: listen carefully, and you'll realize that they do.