A follow-up from my last post.
I met Chris and Donald at Park Operations and then followed their park vehicle to “the house.” Two park rangers who I didn’t know well at all and a spooky house. Thankfully, the sun was up and the two park rangers were perfect hosts and gentlemen.
Nevertheless, as we drove up the long, winding driveway to “the house,” I was considering whether I had any tender shred of sanity remaining. They parked, so I parked. We exchanged more formal and thorough introductions; I ensured they had my photographer’s business card. I wondered whether it was more important that I get to my two hosts, or appear fearless and legitimate to the house. I took out my camera to look more the part. They opened the gate, so I walked through until I found myself standing directly in front of the house.
Chris gave an outstanding orientation of the grounds. He has solid command of battlefield knowledge as well as a good foundation on knowledge passed down through generations.
“The house” is actually the Hart House. Mrs. Hart was a widow whose husband joined the Confederacy, marched off to battle, and never returned. The strange part: the previous owners had the exact same experience. The previous widow sold the house to the Harts, and then the experience repeated–except Mrs. Hart did not resell. The house was hers until into the 20th century (I believe). It seems the rule of this house is husbands ought not join the military and run off to war or battle. You won’t return.
After a thorough orientation to the house and the nearby line of battle, Chris asked me, “So—do you want to go inside?” I hesitated. Maybe they didn’t notice. I said, “Sure!”
It was warm inside. They have maintained very well the Hart House, and—well, it seemed like an old, antique, and empty house. No ill, bad, threatening, or evil vibe. At all. Instead, it seemed like a family home in need of residents. We hit every floor and even the basement—yes, I had reservations—and it seemed like a genuinely nice house.
Now, when I run or drive past this house, I will know that, instead of watching me with hunger or malice, it knows only love, battle, and loss. And the house is maintained by professional and caring people who preserve our Nation’s history.
Now that I’ve been granted unprecedented access to the Hart House, I have another house in-mind for the future:
I hear that strange things walk the rooms in THAT house!
Thank you, Chris and Donald! Oh—and I encourage a visit to Pamplin Park. They do an amazing job preserving the grounds and they are generous hosts and true professionals!