arms and the man
When we first moved in, we were intrigued by the flags with the subdivision’s “coat of arms.”
Abby: Well, the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.
John: Is that a leaf? or a clover?
Abby: I think it’s an oak leaf? I guess that means “we have nature.”
John: Golf ball means “golf”! But what is the cannon for?
A couple weeks after we moved,we got a better idea about the meaning of the cannon. A guy came and took pictures of our backyard, and we thought maybe he was interested in buying the house we’re renting; however, a couple days later our neighbor got a notice from the HOA to tear down his kids’ treehouse. We also got a reprimand through the rental company saying that our flower beds (that were empty except for pinestraw) needed “attention.” We asked what they meant by this, since as renters we are not obligated to plant flowers, and they told us to ignore it, that Taberna had sent them something complaining. Soon after that, sources that shall remain nameless whispered that the Taberna HOA is sometimes referred to as the “Taberna Taliban.” Which brought new insight to the last part of the coat of arms.
As we’ve mentioned, this year is New Bern’s 300th anniversary, and almost every weekend there is something fun to do associated with the celebration. A few weeks back we went to Fiddle Fest, a concert of four local bluegrass bands, and it was wonderful. I was surprised that John liked it so much, he didn’t want to leave! He said it made him feel relaxed and plugged in to our new city.
A couple weekends ago was the biggest reenactment ever done of the Civil War’s Battle of New Bern. I love learning and teaching about the Civil War, but I have never lived anywhere with any significant Civil War history, so I was thrilled to discover that New Bern was the site of an actual battle. I packed Valor up one day and headed out to get the free battleground tour. What I didn’t realize until I finally found the battlefield (which was inadequately labeled) was that it is IN Taberna. Literally, right inside the entrance to our neighborhood. RIDICULOUS!
Which, of course, is (probably) the explanation for the cannon on the coat of arms. The Yankees’ landing south of New Bern was actually the first combined-forces (navy and army) attack in the United States. From this hand-drawn map that I got from my excellent tour guide (who is writing a book on the battle), you can see that the North (blue bars are their regiments) were marching up from the south to attack the Rebs (black bars), who were dug in behind a series of redans, or trenches.
You can actually still see some of these trenches at the battlefield site…gives me the chills to imagine the scene in 1862! A rail line splits the two sides of the Rebel line, with Brices Creek on the western end and the Neuse River on the east. The Yanks broke through the line at the railroad tracks, and despite the brave defense of the outnumbered 26th NC, the Union won the day and occupied New Bern until the end of the war. Taberna’s entrance is at the railroad tracks, right in the center of the map, at the beginning of the western line of curvy Rebel redans. So 148 years ago this March, Taberna was in the thick of it.
We met some of the volunteer Confederate reenactors, who were being great sports despite wearing woolen uniforms in the heat. We asked the one on the left when in the course of the battle he was slated to die, and he said for this reenactment no one had told him any specifics. He said he usually just waited for a good volley, or until he was so hot he needed to take a break, and just dropped. (We actually this guy “die,” later; he got injured and yelled for help before a Yankee solider came up and finished him with the butt of his rifle. Nice.)
Here come the Yanks, pushing the Rebs back over the Cunningham drawbridge. (The reenactment didn’t really recreate the historical battle as much as approximate it in a concentrated area near a public park. In other words, it was like a show-battle.)
The Rebs defend their land. The cannons were loud!
Here you can see one of the boats in the background, shelling the shoreline (with blanks) to prepare the way for the Union infantry. The Yanks are in blue, on the right.
We saw a desperate Rebel bayonet charge, but history had foreordained that the Union took the day, so there was a lot of retreating. All in all, it was a great time. In two more years, on the 150th anniversary of the battle, they hope to do it all again.
Rebel troops aren’t the only ones retreating around here. For the last two weeks, Valor has been crawling…backwards. The more he wants to get the toy in front of him, the faster he moves away from it. He can’t get his behind up high enough to get his knees under his hips, so his arms just push and his body slides backwards.
Quite frustrating, as you might imagine, although when someone comes over and exclaims about how fast he moved so far, he’s placated.
There’s nothing made that Valor doesn’t want to get his hands on. He loves to grab so much that when there’s nothing in front of him, his little fists open and shut in anticipation.
Discipline has begun to show up on our radar. The list of “no”s has expanded from “don’t bite Mommy” to “don’t hit Daddy’s face” and “don’t drink the bath water.” He still laughs when I say this in my sternest voice, but he did seem to stop drinking the bath water tonight, so maybe it’s getting through. Either that or he realized that the soap doesn’t taste good.