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"Lemme get ya started..."

Fredericksburg, Virginia
June 16, 2011

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After breakfast, I let the girls head to the pool and fitness center while I snuck out to visit the Fredericksburg Battlefield. No need to drag them along, I thought.

In the parking lot, a quiet morning. A few other cars and just one other middle-aged guy, ambling from his car toward the brick vistors center. Avoiding eye contact. This is what it feels like to sneak into a peep show, I thought.

Ambling past the entrance to the Visitor Center, as if I had no intention at all of stopping in. Just walking past, y'see? Had no idea this was even here. Till I was sure no one was looking and then -- quick -- up the stairs and inside.

There, a calm park ranger, behind the desk, looking official, waiting for me and the 300 other guys like me who would sneak in that day. And here: no shame, no embarrassment, that I'd taken my time to visit this spot, where 150 years ago men slaughtered other men.

From the ranger, no judgment. "Lemme get you started," he said, laying out the map of the battle ground. "Here's the sunken road..."

90 minutes later, I was back with the girls. It's a pretty spot, I thought. And I don't have to go into too much detail about what happened here.