Friday, January 30, 2015

Personal Memoirs of the Personal Memoirs of US Grant

A memory popped into my mind driving to work today.  A little over three years ago I read a Civil War history book on a whim.  A dozen or so more books followed over two years, then I moved on to the history of World War II, followed by World War I.  I like immersing myself in something I know little or nothing about, and the histories of America’s wars fall into this category.

Anyway, I remember borrowing the audiobook of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant from the library.  I’d listen to it commuting to work, but the memory that stuck out was what I’d do on Friday nights.  I’d get off of work, grab one of those juice smoothie things from the grocery store, and listen to the CD book in my car, in cold, wet weather like this, vicariously reliving General Grant’s experiences.  I did this frequently during the six or so weeks it took to get through the book, and it was quite a relaxing, refreshing experience.  Should’ve had a shot of whiskey and smoke a cigar during these listening sessions in honor of the man whose life I was studying, but, hey, I got a family and I’m trying to stay healthy.

I have a funny memory of the audiobook, too.  During those six weeks, my trusty Impala broke down with one of its many coolant leaks, and the extended warranty company paid for a rental car.  When the job was done, the rental company picked up the car from me a few days later – and immediately afterward I realized I left one of the Grant CDs in the car.  So the next day I drove on over to the rental place and had the twenty-something Hispanic girl behind the counter rummage through their lost and found.  She wanted to know what CD she should look for.  I told her, “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.”  She raised an eyebrow at me, and I said, no kidding:

“It’s what all the kids are listening to nowadays.”

No comments: