Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Hilton Head Island: cool; THEODORE REX; hermit

A gale warning for coastal waters the past two days saw only 20-25 knot winds here on the landward side of the island, but that was enough to drive live oak branches into a frenzy and Spanish moss to blow horizontally. .  

34F/01C when I woke at 6:30 with a feels like 27F/-2.77C.  This is about as cold as it gets on Hilton Head Island and temperatures will be back in the 60s and even low 70s in a few days, but it caused me to do some research and I find that January is the coldest month with an average low of 38F and an average high of 61F.  I can live with that.  Values are so relative.  People here are talking about the cold, while my friend, Michael, 600 miles south in the Florida Keys where it is 66F is talking about the cold, and people farther north would be more than happy to be this warm.

Next to our condo are the ruins of the Civil War Fort Mitchel.  I knew the Union occupied Hilton Head Island for most of the war, but in googling Hilton Head today I learned that the assault on Hilton Head Island on November 7, 1861, was the largest amphibious landing until D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Many, perhaps most of the books I read I buy through BookBud.  I just completed one of them with considerable enjoyment, THEODORE REX, the second volume of a three part biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, covering the years of his presidency, 1901-1909.  I have read other books about Roosevelt, but this impressed me even more with what a exceptional man he was and that the issues of his time are still the issues of our time:  the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, race hatred, fear of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment.

Teddy Roosevelt had enormous, almost preternatural energy, yet he was a consummate politician who understood the importance of newspapers, the media of his day, and manipulated them with skill, and was capable of subtle diplomacy, such as in his mediation of the Russo-Japanese War.  He was a voracious reader and a devoted father and husband.  I really don’t know how he found time to do all that he did.

He was not always on the right side of history and science.  Despite being the first President to invite a black man to dinner in the White House, Booker T. Washington, for which he was severely criticized, he believed that blacks are generally genetically inferior and the greatest mistake of his Presidency was dishonorably discharging from the Army a black regiment for the possible but unproven misconduct of a few.

It is said that for a while he was the most popular President ever.

I thank Michael for a link to an article about a hermit.  With usual journalistic exaggeration he is said to be the last.  I doubt he is, but I find his story interesting and that he lived without heat through almost thirty Maine winters astonishing.

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