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Many empires in the past had been interested in Iberia; and many more would be in the future. The Second Punic War (218 – 201 B.C.) would place Rome in control of Iberia.

The Roman Engineers constructed bridges, aqueducts and theaters in Merida and Badajoz. These two locations in Extremadura would allow them to control central Iberia.

3765840-Roman_Theatre_Merida_Extremadura_Spain_Merida    Roman bridge over river in Badajoz              Aquaduct ruins Merida

Rome quickly realized the importance of the Extremadura, and the importance of Merida as a focal point. This resulted in the Roman military and construction legions placing unexpected pressure on the native Extremadurans. Food, materials and labor not gained by negotiation were often obtained through force or treachery.

An indigenous shepherd, uneducated but brilliant, was successful in assembling a substantive military force whose goal was to drive the Romans from the Extremadura. He was named Variathus.

Variathus’ initial plan failed and resulted in the death of 9,000 Extremadurans and 20,000 sold as slaves. Variathus, although one of those who the Romans sold into slavery, escaped and rebuilt his military.


He gained Cadiz by siege and defeated several Roman military units. This eventually led to Variathus’ control of the majority of central Iberia.

Rome, stinging from these defeats, dispatched a large military unit from Carthage. Variathus sent three envoys to meet the Roman leader of this unit. Promises by the Romans, of gold and power, swayed Variathus’ three envoys. Treacherously the envoys returned to Variathus’ camp, invaded his tent, and assassinated him.

Rome was, once again, in command of Iberia.

Tomorrow: Vandals, Visigoths and Berbers



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Spain with Extremadura WIKIPEDIA

Spain with Extremadura WIKIPEDIA

The term “Extremadura” is credited with two sources. The first is an apparent error in geography or translation: “The extreme reaches of the Duero River in Iberia.” More recent research suggests that the name originated from “estremad” meaning “separated” and “ura” which implies the practice of herding animals in a year-round pasturing location; a Roman practice.

Indigenous Iberians had long been venturing inland as the coastal areas became more densely populated. Typical paths of settlement would progress up river valleys such as the Guadiana River basin.

 Guadiana River Basin

At that time (400 B.C.) Carthaginians were in control of southern Iberia and many, like Hannibal, had taken Iberian wives. Hannibal controlled southern Iberia and northward as far as present day Merida.


Tomorrow: “VARIATHUS”

Wally’s Little Compendium of “TO CAST”


Origin of CAST

Middle English, from Old Norse kasta; akin to Old Norse “kǫs” heap

First Known Use: 13th century

or late 20th century, example;


Tonto asking the Lone Ranger why he is so happy.


“Holy Smoke-signal Kemosabe; why you make heap big smile all the time?


 LR and Tonto


NO – – – but seriously folks – – –


This is what “cast” means


To throw in a forceful way


a fishing line, hook, etc. into the water by using a fishing pole

(this is the absolutely best way to enjoy a cast)

or cast a net by hand

Casting a net

castanet (cast a chestnut) by fingers



in the direction of someone or something


dice in the game of craps

to the opposite end

of the table


a glance at a beautiful female

her legs or buttocks

(sorry – – – my bad)



To put forth


a warm glow as a campfire

(especially if I have a

Southern Comfort Manhattan

in my hand)



light on the subject

as a book or essay

(You want light on a subject?

Read Frederik Nietzsche.

He lights up the grey matter.)



To place as if by throwing


doubt on their reliability

(I promise not to say anything

about the current administration.)



To deposit


a ballot in hopes of reform

(See above.

Ooops – – – I broke my promise already)



To accidentally throw off or away


a horse losing his shoe

(Or my sanity or morals)



To get rid of by nature


all restraint

(such as singles leaving a bar

You wouldn’t happen to have

the address for that bar

would you?)




To set apart


segregated seating for smokers


a system where heritage overrides merit

(Oh – – – wait a minute

I think that is spelled caste; eg

the system of dividing society

into hereditary classes)




To shed


a raincoat must shed water


human nature sometimes causes bloodshed


pouring forth in drops – – – tears


enlightenment – – – sheds some light on the subject




To give off, discharge, or expel from the body of a plant or animal



eject, slough off, or lose

as part of the

normal processes of life


a snake shedding its skin

(see downsizing)


a dog shedding hair

(see sneezing

or vacuuming)



a deciduous tree sheds its leaves

(see “Fall”

Friends; are you over 60?

People  over 60 fall all the time.

Order our “ICAN”TGETUP” system

for only $500 and monthly payments

of a mere $40 for the remainder of your life.)


To discharge


usually gradually

(so as to be unnoticeable

such as information

from our government)


especially as part of a

pathological process

(this is redundant;

our government

is pathological)


shed a virus


a pustule

(sorry about

that image)



To rid oneself of temporarily or permanently as superfluous or unwanted


the company laid off 100 employees


she shed her inhibitions

and then 

she dumped her childhood sweetheart


(and I have

never recovered

from the experience)



To pour out


She spilled the beans





To become dispersed  


Scatter brained


(see above)

“She cast off all inhibitions”


Are you sure you don’t

have that address?




To cast off some natural covering as fur, skin or emotion


the dog is still shedding

(see above)


dispensing with all humanity

(see bloodshed above)


I dumped him; what a loser!


“Cast off Matey – – – yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”



To molt


shed hair, feathers, shell, horns, or an outer layer periodically



As in any invertebrate of the phylum


having a segmented body,

jointed limbs,

and usually a chitinous shell

that undergoes moltings,

including the insects,

spiders and other arachnids,

crustaceans, and myriapods.


Snakes molt as they grow,

shedding the old skin and

growing a larger new skin;

sometimes turning into CEOs.


Crabs molt their shell

as they grows larger;

sometimes turning into

bitter spouses.



To bring forth

Especially new ideas


Allow me to cast

a pregnant thought

into the mix


or newsworthy information


bee-bee-beep-bee- beep

“Attention all listeners

and ships at sea;

an explosion has

created devastation,

the wind blew up

the river.



To give birth to


Prematurely or unnaturally


He cast his seed upon the ground

(Onan knew that the offspring would not be his;

so when he went in to his brother’s wife,

he wasted his seed on the ground

in order not to give offspring

to his brother.)

Holy Crap – – – that’s really weird.


To throw to the ground


suplex in wrestling




He cast his opponent upon the ground

(not to be confused with the seed)


To build by throwing up earth


They cast mud into the Tower of Babel

(NO! They did not build the tower

and then throw mud into it;

they cast mud into bricks

and then constructed

the tower with them)





To perform arithmetical operations


by means of astrology


Casting an astrological chart


An astrological chart or,

more specifically,

a natal chart,

is a symbolic representation

of the position of the planets,

the sun, and the moon

at the moment

of a person’s birth.


Each planet occupies

a particular zodiac sign

at a given moment.

It is the interpretation

of this placement

that provides

astrologers with insight

into a person’s

personality and behavior.


Because an astrological chart

is based on facts (?)

—-the actual positions in the sky

(relative to earth)

of heavenly bodies

at a certain time—-

it is more of an astronomical

than an astrological endeavor.



To decide

She decided to cast her lot with him




To intend

I didn’t intend to cast

any dispersions

on this post


Oh yes you did.



To dispose or arrange into parts or into a suitable form or order


He separated them into different lots by date



First In First Out


First In Last Out


Last In First Out


Last In Last Out


Last In Still Here


Who Gives A Crap

(better known as)


Random Selection



To assign the parts of a dramatic production to actors


cast a movie


“Frankly my dear,

I don’t give a damn.”


To assign an actor to a role or part


He was cast in the leading role


(see Frankly my dear; above)


To give a shape to a substance by pouring

in liquid or plastic form

into a mold and letting it harden without pressure


cast steel


Sporks are not formed

by this process


Sporks are formed

when the cow

jumped over

the moon

and the fork

ran away

with the spoon

to make little

baby sporks.




cast the scale slightly

to cause to move around

an axis or a center

 make rotate or revolve; 

turn a potter’s wheel.


He cast some pottery



To make a knot or stitch by looping or catching up



unite by winding 

Robling cast strands of wire

together to form

the cables

for the

Brooklyn Bridge


she made a warp of yarn


To from a curve that has developed

in something originally flat or straight 


a warped door

This damn thing won’t shut right


a mental aberration


If you have read

this post this far

you must be

a bit warped

To bear fruit : 


give or render as fitting

rightfully owed

or required

as a pregnant idea


To give up possession of a claim or demand


He cast his last breath

- – – and so he died


The court has ruled;



To surrender or relinquish to

the physical control

of another

hand over possession of


I cast myself unto you,

my love



To give oneself up


to an inclination, temptation,

or habit


He cast himself

to the devil



To relinquish one’s possession of

a position of advantage

or point of superiority

I yield the floor

to the prosecutor



To perform addition


Casting a Summation


Define the sum

between the upper

and lower limits

 Summation between limits



To range over land in search of a trail


hunting dogs or trackers


They cast for a scent


To make immobile or perpetual

a hard covering that is put on an

arm, leg, etc., so that

a broken bone can heal







when can I take

this damn thing off?



A plaster mask was cast


His image was held

for all to see;

in perpetuity





Thomas Nast

had a blast

making politicians

all aghast.


The hot blast

wide and vast

of their rhetoric

extinguished at last.


Pictured their past

as big iconoclast

but boots of leather

had turned to bast.


Tied to their past

like pirates to the mast

Tom cartooned them

Forever cast.



Do you have an itchy burning sensation between your toes?

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?

Does your husband come home with scabies from a “business trip?”

Are the children getting tired from cracking ice for Grandpa’s piles?

(Oh, wait a minute. Piles is a synonumb for heap, and numb is the goal.)


A sample reading can be seen below.





If that sample interests you please send

one szlotney and

five box tops from

“Who Cares Gummy Bears?” (8 ounce size)

to ten good friends.





 Say Goodnight Wally




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This is another true story.

It is another sad story.

It is all but gone now!

This photo is of another great leader – – – like George F. Johnson was.


Thomas Watson Sr.



He borrowed and had this built during the depression.

IBM Endicott Lab


Following are a few comments from a Washington Post News Article:

Washington Post extract

All but gone. Less than 500 employees remain in the birthplace of IBM; Endicott, NY

ONCE UPON A TIME (In Upstate New York)


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This is a true story.

It is a sad story.

It is all gone now!

GFJ Legacy

To see pictures of this community, which has all but disappeared, click on the picture below which shows factory workers on coffee break.

Please note that there are several headers each showing pictures for that category.

For example; to work, at work, tannery, stamping, preparation, break, piece work, support, credits








With my deepest apologies to Lord Byron






My hair is grey, but not with years,

Nor grew it white

In a single night,

As men’s have grown from sudden fears:

My limbs are bow’d, though not with toil,

But rusted with a vile repose,

For they have been a tavern’s spoil

And mine has been the fate of those

To whom the goodly earth and air

Are bann’d, and barr’d — forbidden fare;

But this repeats my father’s fate

He suffer’d those chains and courted death;

That father perish’d from the slake

For habits he would not forsake;

And for the same his lineal race

In darkness found a dwelling-place;

We were seven — who now are one,

Six, in youth, and one in age,

Finish’d as they had begun,

Proud of intoxication’s rage;

One in bed, and two in jail,

Their souls do not demand fair bail,

Dying as their father died,

For the God their minds denied;

Three in inebriate house were cast,

Of whom this wreck is left the last.



There are seven pillars of nihilistic mould,

In potation’s taverns odiferous and old,

There are seven pillars, false I pray,

Allowing for my imprison’d way,

I am a sunbeam which hath lost its ray

And through the crevice and the cleft

Of the thick wall is fallen and left;

Creeping o’er tavern floor so damp,

Like the local sheriff’s lamp:

And in each pillar there is a ring,

And in each ring there is a chain;

The lying mind is a troubling thing,

For in this mind its teeth remain,

With memories that will not wear away,

Till I have done with this new day,

Which now is painful to those eyes,

Which have not seen my sun so rise.

For years — I cannot count them o’er,

I lost their long and heavy score

When my last brother droop’d and died,

And I ignor’d him by bed side.


Potations chain’d us to a column stone,

And we were there — yet, each alone;

We could not move a single pace,

Nor look upon each other’s face,

But with’n that pale tavern light

That made us strangers in our sight;

And thus together — yet apart,

Fetter’d in mind, but joined in heart,

‘Twas some solace for Neanderthal

Of the pure elements of alcohol,

To hearken to slurring speech,

As brothers turned comforters to each

With some new lie, or legend old,

Or song heroically bold;

But even these at length grew cold.

Our voices took a dreary tone,

An echo of the tavern groan,

A mumbl’d sound, not full and free,

As we of yore were wont to be;

It might be fancy, but to me

They never sounded like our own.



I was the eldest of the three,

And then I partook to cheer the rest

I ought to do — and did my best —

And each did well in his degree.

The youngest, whom my father loved,

Because our mother’s iris was given

To him, with eyes as blue as heaven —

For him my soul was sorely moved:

And truly might it be distress’d

To see such bird in such a nest;

For he was beautiful as day —

(When day was beautiful to me

As to young eagles, being free) —

A bitter day, which will not see

A sunset till his potent tis gone,

His sleepless summer of long night,

The foam-clad off’ring of the sun:

However his eyes were red, yet bright,

And in his natural spirit gay,

With tears for naught but others’ ills,

And then they flowed like mountain rills,

Unless he could assuage the woe

Which he abhorr’d to view below.


The other sibling was as pure of mind,

But form’d to combat with his kind;

Strong in his frame, and of a mood

Which ‘gainst the sober world he stood.

And perish’d in the sheriff’s tank

With joy; — but not in chains to pine;

His spirit wither’d with door-lock clank,

I saw it silently decline —

And so perchance in like did mine:

But yet I forced it on to cheer

Those taverns like a home so dear.

He was an imbiber with the swills,

Had follow’d there the dim and lonely

To him this tavern was only,

A fraternity of the best of ills.



Dipsomania Lake has a million walls:

A thousand feet in depth below

Its muddy waters meet and flow;

Thus much the fathom-line was sense

From million quite false battlements,

Which round about the wave enthrals;

A tavern wall were reality waivers

Alcohol has made — many living slavers.

Below the surface of the lake

The dark vault lies wherein we lay:

We had to tipple night and day;

In the dawn our heads it knock’d;

And I have felt the vomit’s spray

Wash through the air when winds were high

And wanton in the unhappy sky;

And when the very reality hath rock’d,

And I have felt earth shake, unshock’d,

Because I could have smiled to see

The death that would have set me free.



My nearer brother no longer opined,

I said his lonely heart declined,

He loathed his self and drank his food;

It was not that ’twas coarse and rude,

For we were used to hunter’s fare,

And for the following had little care:

The milk drawn from the mountain goat

Made our whisky laden bellies bloat,

Our bread was such as captives’ tears

We stuffed, not to listen, in our ears,

Man first toasted his fellow men

Like brutes within an imbiber’s den;

But what were these to us or him?

These wasted not his heart or limb;

My brother’s soul was of that fool’s gold

Which all taverns had soon grown cold,

Had his free drinking been denied

The range of his death bed’s side;

But why delay the truth? — he died!

I saw, and could not hold his head,

Nor reach his dying hand — nor dead, —

Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,

To rend my bonds of amber liquid grain.

He died, and this unlock’d his chain,

Poor house scoop’d for him a shallow grave

Even from the cold earth of his cave.

I begg’d them, as a boon, to lay

His corpse in tavern dust that day

However, mine — it was a foolish thought,

But then within my brain it wrought,

That even in death his freeborn breast

In such a tavern could not rest.

I might have spared my idle prayer —

They coldly laugh’d — and laid him there:

The flat and barren earth above

The being we so much did love;

His empty mind above it leant,

Such a drinker’s fitting monument!


Youngest brother, the favorite and the flower

Most cherish’d since his natal hour,

His mother’s image in fair face,

The infant love of all his race,

His imbibing father’s dearest thought,

My latest care, for whom I sought

To hoard my life, that his might be

Less wretched now, and one day free;

He, too, who yet had held untired

A spirit drink, natural or inspired —

He, too, was a sot, and day by day

Was wither’d on the walk away.

Oh, God !    it is a fearful thing

To see the human soul take wing

In any odoriferous tavern, in any mud:

I’ve seen it rushing forth in blood,

I’ve seen sailors on the breaking ocean

Strive with a swol’n convulsive motion,

I’ve seen the sick and ghastly bed

Of sin delirious with its dread:

But those were horrors — this was woe

Unmix’d was Gin —  pure and sloe:

He faded, and so calm and meek,

So softly worn, so sweetly weak,

So tearless, yet so tender, kind,

And grieved for imbibers he left behind;

All the while his nose with rosacea bloom

Was as a mockery of the tomb,

Whose tints as gently sunk away

As a departing rainbow’s ray;

An eye of most transparent light,

That almost made the tavern bright;

And not a word of murmur, not

A groan o’er his untimely lot, —

A little talk of better days,

A little hope my own to raise,

For I was drunk  — in silence — lost

In this last loss, of such a cost;

And then the sighs he would suppress

Of fainting Nature’s feebleness,

More   slowly   drawn,   grew   less   and    less:

I listen’d, but I could not hear;

I call’d, for I was wild with fear;

I knew ‘t was hopeless, but my dread

Would not be thus admonished;

I call’d, and thought I heard a sound —

I burst from bar stool with one strong bound,

And rushed to him: — I found him not,

I only stirr’d in this black spot,

I only lived, I only drew

The accursed breath of tavern-dew;

The last, the sole, the dearest link

Between me and the eternal brink,

Which bound me to my failing race,

Was broken in this tavern place.

One on the earth, and one beneath —

My drinking brothers — had ceased to breathe !

My hand shook, would not stay still,

Alas !    my throat was full of swill;

I had not strength to stir, or strive,

But felt that I was still alive —

A frantic feeling, when we know

That what we love shall ne’er be so.

I know not why

I could not die,

I had no earthly hope, only breath,

And that forbade a selfish death.


What next befell me then and there

I know not well — I never knew —

First came the lost of light, and air,

And then of darkness too:

I had no thought, no feeling — alone —

Among the imbibers I stood a stone,

And was, scarce conscious what I wish’d,

As mindless bogs within tavern mist;

For all was blank, and bleak, and grey;

It was not night,  it was not day;

It was not even the neon-light,

So hateful to my heavy sight,

But vacancy absorbing space,

And fixedness without a place;

There were no stars, no earth, no time,

No check, no change, no good, no crime,

But silence, and emotionless breath

Which neither was of life nor death;

A sea of stagnant idleness,

Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless !


A light broke in upon my brain, —

It was the warble of a bird;

It ceased, and then it came again,

The sweetest song ear ever heard,

And mind was thankful till my eyes

Ran over with the glad surprise,

And they that moment could not see

I was the mate of misery;

But then by dull degrees came back

My senses to their wonted track;

I saw the tavern walls and floor

Open slowly round me as before,

I saw the glimmer of the sun

Creeping as it before had done,

But through the crevice where warble came

That bird was sober, as fond and tame,

And tamer than upon the tree;

A lovely bird, with azure wings,

And song that said a thousand things,

And seem’d to say them all for me !

I never saw its like before,

I ne’er shall see its likeness more:

It seem’d like me to want a mate,

But was not half so desolate,

And it was come to love me when

None lived to love me so again,

And cheering from my tavern’s brink,

Had brought me back to feel and think.

I know not if it late were free,

Or broke its care to perch on mine,

But knowing well captivity,

Sweet bird !    I could not wish for thine !

Or if it were, in winged guise,

A visitant from Borinquen paradise;

For — Heaven forgive that thought !    the while

Which made me both to weep and smile —

I sometimes deem’d that it might be

My mother’s soul come down to me;

But then ‘twern’t mortal well I knew,

For she would never thus have flown,

And left me twice so doubly lone,

Lone as the corpse within its shroud,

Lone as a solitary cloud, —

A single cloud on a sunny day,

While all the rest of heaven is clear,

A frown upon the atmosphere,

That hath no business to appear

When skies are blue, and earth is gay.


A kind of change came in my fate,

My keepers grew compassionate;

I know not what had made them so,

They were inured to tales of woe,

But so it was; — my broken chain

With links unfastened did remain,

And it was liberty to stride

Along tavern room from side to side,

Back and forth, and then athwart,

And tread it over every part;

And round the pillars one by one,

Returning where my walk begun,

Avoiding only, as I trod,

My brothers’ graves nary any sod;

For if I thought with heedless tread

My step profaned their lowly bed,

My breath came gaspingly and thick,

And my crush’d heart felt blind and sick.


I made footing in reality’s mount so tall,

It was not therefrom to escape,

For I had buried one and all,

Who loved me in a human shape:

And the tavern would henceforth be

No longer a prison unto me:

No child, no sire, no kin had I,

No partner in my misery;

I thought of this, and I was glad,

For tavern life had made me mad;

But I was curious to ascend

Oer my barr’d windows and to bend

Once more, upon the mountains high,

The quiet of a loving eye.


I saw them, and they were the same,

They were not changed like me in frame;

I saw their white hair like snow

On high — their long purview from below,

And the deepest hope in fullest flow;

I felt my thoughts leap and gush

O’er wasted time in broken rush;

I saw the brilliant lights of distant town,

And fuller sails go skimming down;

And then there was a little isle,

Which in my very face did smile,

The only one in view;

A small green isle, it seem’d no more,

Much broader than a tavern floor,

But on it there were seven palm trees,

And o’er it blew a Caribbean breeze,

And by it there were waters flowing,

And on it there were young flowers growing,

Of gentle breath and hue.

The fish swam quickly by El Morro’s wall,

And they seem’d joyous each and all;

Reina Mora sang in the rising breeze,

Methought she never flew with such ease

As then to me she seem’d to fly;

And then new tears came in my eye,

And I felt troubled — and would fain

I had not left my recent chain,

And when I did descend again,

The darkness of my dim abode

Fell on me as a heavy load;

It was as is a new-dug grave,

Closing o’er one we sought to save, —

And yet my glance, too much oppres’d,

Had almost need of such a rest.


It might be months, or years, or days,

I kept no count, I took no note

I had no hope my eyes to raise,

And clear them of their dreary mote;

At she came to set me free;

I ask’d not why, and reck’d not where;

It was at length the same to me,

Fetter’d or fetterless to be,

I learn’d to love despair.

And thus when she appear’d at last,

And all my bonds aside were cast,

These heavy walls to me had grown

A hermitage — and all my own !

And half I felt as she had come

To tear me from a second home:

With falseness I had friendship made,

And watch’d it in its sullen trade,

Had seen the imbibers by moonlight play,

And why should I feel less than they?

We were all inmates of one place,

And I, the monarch of each race,

Had power to love — yet strange to tell !

In quiet I had learn’d to dwell;

My very chains and I grew friends,

So much a long communion tends

To make us what we are; — even I

Regain’d my freedom with a sigh.



 There was a very intelligent man who had a very inferior habit; he was an inebriate. He wrote his story in the Atlantic Monthly of 1869. This story (other than the introduction) is all in his own words.

Click on his temporary home below in order to start the story. You will have to use the

Next Post

button to move from the beginning to the end.

The Inebriate Asylum

The Inebriate Asylum

© wtomosky

THE PILGRIMAGE: Part 57 (Epilog aka The End)


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This blog, like my own life, has gone full circle.

As a young boy I loved to write the stories that my mind saw.

Right or wrong; I now do it again.

This post, as you will see below, will link to my first two posts on “WordPress.” It also links to a fictional story in “Short Stories of Waldo.”

These links have a specific purpose; they form the end of this story.

So the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.

But we must get on with the story so that you understand how such a strange thing is possible.

My special thanks to those of you who followed all 57 posts in this series; and also to those of you who will read the many other posts within the links. You will have to make use of the

 Next Post 

to move from post to post in the last two portions of this ending.


§    EPILOG    §

The sheep never recovered their eyesight but lived normal long lives.


George Park never obtained the information he was looking for about Jean Guilliame de Besse.


And you never did find out what happened to the Birdsall family after they departed the house of Juliand.


But wait!   All is not lost.


Other relatives of Jean Guilliame de Besse and George Park visited Epinetus at the “Preston Manor Home for the Indigent.” If you wish to read that rather eerie story then click on the sign in the front yard of Preston Manor.


Home for Epinetus


But not so fast. You may want to hear the Jean Guilliame de Besse story. You know; the one that Esquire George Park was never able to draw out of Epinetus. For the start of that story click on the picture of Jean Guilliame de Besse (aka Bessac) below.


Jean Guilliame's Picture


And last but not least; we really must finish the story about Henry Birdsall and his family. However this is not a eerie story, or a family story or a fictional story. It is the story of two families who lived in Greene, New York. There is nothing solid that ties the families together; only their identical surname and location give this allusion.


It is a story of comparative facts. Some may find it boring yet others may find it enlightening. I leave it up to you. To read these facts click on the following canal picture.


Chenango Canal



© wtomosky

THE PILGRIMAGE: Part 56 (Samuel Insists)


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The Birdsall caravan arrived at the Juliand home; however, it looked abandoned with the shutters and doors closed.


Julliands home shuttered


Epinetus told George Parks the following.


“’Mistah Birdsall’ came the unmistakable voice of Samuel. They looked around and finally saw Samuel scrambling up from the river’s edge. ‘Mistah Birdsall’ Samuel called again with obvious joy. ‘We been worry’n bout ya; supposed to be here last week.’”




“’Had some trouble Samuel’ replied grandfather as he waved his hand toward the wagon. ‘My son is broke up, I have some blind sheep and my horses are lame.”


“Samuel looked at Uncle Henry but dared not approach him. Samuel then studied the sheep with a puzzled look. Finally he went to the horses with self assurance and gently touched their legs while studying the open wounds made by the brakeless wagon.”


“Samuel spoke with more confidence than Grandfather had ever heard him speak before.’Mistah Juliand, he be on the Caribbean again. He tell me to have you stay in da house when you arrive. You take care of da boy. I take care of da horses. Da sheep – – I canna help – – maybe my missus know how.’”


Samuels Wife


“Grandfather replied that he would not feel comfortable staying in another man’s home. Samuel insisted; ‘Mistah Juliand be plenty mad with me if’n you don’t stay, please help, you stay Mistah Birdsall.’”


“Grandmother Abashaby had another one of those secret conversations with Grandfather Henry. Grandmother’s eyes flashed toward Uncle Henry, then to the sheep and finally on the horses. Grandfather apparently relented and spoke to Samuel. ‘All right Samuel, but just for one day.’”


“Samuel’s eyes brightened. ‘Mistah Birdsall, da house be unlocked. You take da family inside, I take da horses and wagon in da barn.’”


“Eventually realizing that he had overlooked a social requirement Grandfather said ‘Samuel, this is my wife Abashaby, my son Henry, and my younger son Horace.’ Then by age he started with the oldest daughter. ‘And these are my daughters Hester, Fanny, Abashaby, Rachel, Deborah, Eliza, and Polly.’”


“Samuel acknowledged each person with his bright eyes that complemented the big smile on his face. ‘Big family Mistah Birdsall, nice big family.’”


“Grandfather had promised to stay one single day in the Juliand home. That soon extended into four days thanks to the insistence of Samuel, the excellent meals that his missus provided, the availability of a warm bath for everyone, and the good care of Henry and the horses.”

© wtomosky

THE PILGRIMAGE: Part 55 (Repairing Feelings)


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George Parks was quite curious as to how the Birdsalls got out of the mess they were in.


Epinetus gave a wry grin at George’s lack of faith in old time ingenuity but said nothing; other than continuing on with the story.


“An unseasonable warm breeze blew most of that evening. The family and livestock rested comfortably; except for Uncle Henry and the horses. A nice campfire was built and after evening prayers the family recounted their experiences of that day. They prayed again; both thanking ‘The Light’ for sparing them a worse fate and asking Him for safety on the remainder of their journey.”


“The next day was spent at the same campsite. Everyone was assigned a chore except for Uncle Henry. The younger girls were assigned the task of searching the trail and adjacent woods for any pieces or parts of the broken pails or wagon. Other goods thrown from the runaway wagon were also gathered. The older girls did their best to re-assemble the pails and bind them together.”


“Teamwork” spoke George.


Epinetus looked askance at him for interrupting the story; however he gave George a big smile to acknowledge the fact the George was finally getting the drift of things.


Smiling Old Man


“My father Horace and Grandfather Henry were busy attempting to rebuild the brakes for the wagon. Grandmother Abashaby tended Uncle Henry, the lame horses, and the blind sheep. All this while she also separated the girls who were constantly arguing. Grandmother Abashaby also smoothed over Grandfather’s frayed nerves after he had misdirected his frustration towards my father Horace.”


“Father Horace finally won Grandfather’s admiration by building a unique system of linkages to replace the broken brakes. Father Horace also contributed his skilled wood crafts by combining the pieces together with dovetails, mortises and tenons; all that done with three tools; a knife, a small wood chisel and a wooden hammer. Grandfather’s misery turned to joy when he realized that he had a son with such capabilities. Grandfather praised my father Horace for his hidden talents by giving my father a big bear hug and dancing around with father’s feet dangling above the ground.”


Mortise and Tenon


George thought “quite a picture those two” but he said nothing. He had learned not to interrupt Epinetus after he had received that last glare.


“Grandfather and father spent the remaining daylight hours testing the new braking system. First they simply yanked the brakes on and then released them. After several repeats of this process they then set the brakes and both of them put their shoulders, weight, and the strength of their legs against the back of the wagon to see if they could move it. When they were satisfied they hooked up the horses. This in itself was a chore because the horses remembered the previous day’s disaster. Finally the horses were fastened and the brake released. A test ride both downhill and uphill proved the workmanship was excellent.”


“Upon awakening the next morning the family found that the ground was dry enough to avoid skidding. After breakfast they prayed and set out westerly and downhill. Eventually they neared Greene. They passed a small abandoned cabin that sat down in the hollow near a generous stream. Behind the stream was a peculiar hill; long, narrow and not too high. Uncle Henry commented ‘It looks like a hog’s back.’ Grandfather sat upright and studied the hill. ‘Yes, and it is a good trout stream also” he stated as he remembered Mr. Juliand’s comment about fishing at ‘Hogs Back.”


            “Late that afternoon they arrived at the Juliand home. It looked abandoned with the shutters and doors closed.”

© wtomosky

THE PILGRIMAGE: Part 54 (Run-away Wagon)


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Epinetus continued.


“After noon meal and prayers the family proceeded on their downhill route again. Almost immediately the wagon hit a wet and slippery clay patch. It slid into a thicket of saplings. The wagon’s brake mechanism lodged against a young tree. The horses became excited and lunged forward. The brake-bar that had become wedged in the tree broke as the horses stormed downhill. Grandfather pulled the reigns tight but the horses paid little attention. The wagon slammed against some larger trees; first to the left and then to the right. Wooden pails tied safely to the wagons sides were smashed into splinters. Uncle Henry was thrown from the wagon and against a tree. His limp body lay on the ground as the horrible spectacle went on. The horses attempted to come to a halt but the momentum and weight of the brakeless wagon forced them to lunge forward again and again.”


wagon crash


George, mesmerized by the story, inhaled deeply on his cigarette and held the smoke in his lungs for an interminably long time.


“When the un-Godly mess of equines and wagon finally stopped, Grandfather leapt to the ground with rope in hand. He tied a front wheel of the wagon to a nearby tree. By that time the women and my father Horace had raced to Uncle Henry’s side. Grandfather ran uphill to meet them.”


“Uncle Henry lay on the ground moaning but no wounds could be seen. Grandmother and Grandfather were able to help him to his feet. After taking off his suspenders and shirt they could see the damage. One or two broken ribs poked at the underside of his skin but did not break through.”


George, without realizing it let an “Oh my God, the poor boy!” escape from his lips. Epinetus looked at him skeptically but then continued on.


Surprised Epinetus


“Grandmother Abashaby had each child rip a small strip off their blanket. These were tied together to form a long piece of cloth. She had two of the children hold Uncle Henry’s arms in the air as she made several circles around him. She carefully wrapped his broken body with this makeshift bandage.”


“Once again the Birdsall family made an early and unplanned camp. The weather had improved and the snow was melting quite rapidly. Uncle Henry and the horses were inspected several times. No additional damage was discovered on Uncle Henry. The horses had torn skin in several places on the back legs where the wagon hitch had hit them. Luckily they had no broken bones but only a few tender muscles. Grandfather applied some salve to their legs. He had stored this salve in the wagon for just such an emergency.”


George finished his cigarette and Epinetus took another one of his long breaks with his eyes closed. George could not determine if Epinetus was resting emotionally or physically. When Epinetus opened his eyes he continued on as if there were no break in time since he last uttered a word.


© wtomosky


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