Right now I am suffering from a hangover. No, not the usual kind you think of but one I have experienced three times before.
The befuddled and lightheaded fog is due to the fact that my brain cannot take anymore review of miniscule facts and picayune information. Today was my fourth effort in taking the examination for Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg.
It is difficult for me to predict how I fared so it will be easier to await the letter from the ranger in charge of the program.
My first foray into the examination process was in 2006 when I scored 77%. It was obviously too low to qualify but not bad for a candidate living 475 miles away.
I retired in 2007 and moved to Adams County, to a location in the suburbs of Cashtown. The Gettysburg National Military Park was the wife-approved mistress that wooed me to the area. It was a fulfillment of a pipe-dream that was ten years in the making.
Once I settled in, I started taking all the tours of the battlefield I could, including the Guide Series that was offered by the Harrisburg Area Community College. I got involved in a study group and then took the exam in 2008. I then scored a 90%, but still I missed the cut for the orals.
In 2010, I dropped the study group because of a full time job and eventually scored a 95%. I still missed the cut. I also quit the full time job when I realized why I had retired in the first time.
For today's exam I approached the test in a earnest but relaxed manner as opposed to the frenetic pace of the past. I was not nervous or agitated as I calmly opened the test packet. While I answered the questions I realized that I actually enjoyed taking the test! I did not care whether I scored well or not, I really did enjoy the process.
The most satisfying moments of the morning were spent in conversations with like minded people who were seeking that coveted position of Battlefield Guide. It is a position of honor and respect awarded to a few individuals that can with historical accuracy and deep appreciation, tell the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Personally, I was greatly honored to be greeted with warm respects and well wishes by no less than ten Licensed Battlefield Guides that I have come to know in the last few years.
Regardless of the results of this 2012 exam, I believe I have accomplished a great deal in the past few years.
I still marvel at the fact that the battlefield is only minutes away as opposed to hours. I have several history projects going on that I hope will lead to publication. I have made friends with many people who understand and respect the study of the past. I am glad I made the decision to move here and I feel honored that someday I may have the opportunity to guide others on America's most hallowed ground.
I feel better now. My head is clearer and the little nap did me good. Now...., where is that scotch?!