No, no. Just a little bandage is all I’ll be needin’ And a few minutes off my feet. Me brogans are killin’ me. — Buster Kilrain, “Gettysburg”
I dunno if a very real descendant of Protestant Huguenots would appreciate being honored with the words of a fictional Irish Catholic soldier but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news:
Another one of the finest human beings on this Earth is gone. Killed by cancer. Taken, I suppose, by God for his own inscrutable reasons.
This is getting ridiculous. There better be one hell of a party going on in Heaven because all the good people seem to be already there.
Jed X. Hastings was the first friend I made in Civil War reenacting. I stood by him on a dusk-bathed hillside in Waynesboro nervous as hell in my first “battle” while a Coehorn mortar shook the very ground beside us and howling secessionists swept out of the gathering darkness towards us.
He was family. We were Hastings – militant Yankees who always wore blue and stayed up late just so we could participate in a TP raid on General Lee’s tent. I’ve run out of fingers to count the laughs. There were the jello shots to celebrate Wellys Hasting’s name. The year of “LUMPS!” WEEZIL’s initiation. The night of Gretchen’s leak. The 23d Fiji at Little Round Top. Jed and Doc and family standing in the boiling heat of my graduation day in full woolen kit.
I lose track of the number of times I drank “Very Northern Comfort” with the man, or shared a case of American Light pounders, or those ginormous 22 oz. bottles of Yuengling Lager you can only get near the Mother’s Teat in coal country. I’ve no hope of numbering the jokes, the memories, the brotherhood, the affection, the love.
That’s family. Brothers from another Mother. And my mother is dead.
And so is my brother.
And all I can do is remember him and pray he’s in good hands, welcomed by those who have gone before him to a richly deserved reward.
Requiescat in pace.
Well Lawrence, he died. Yeah. He died this morning ‘fore I got there. Couple of the fellas, they was with him. He said to tell you goodbye. And that he was sorry.
I tell you Lawrence, I sure was fond of that man. — Thomas Chamberlin, “Gettysburg”