We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Centuries later, in the summer of the year 2010, a graybearded old guy outside of Austin, Texas, would find himself reading here of an 'historic one-night stand in Regensburg', and would reflect on other such quick visits to Regensburg made in the winter of 1943-44 by the B-17 heavy bomber fleets of the American 8th Army Air Force.
The 8th called these visits "raids" and the raids on Regensburg were the strategic-bombing of the Messerschmitt aircraft assembly complex at Regensburg. The 8th was trying to kill the Messerschmitt fighter aircraft in the crib so to speak, before they could take wing and ascend to shoot cannon, machine gun and rocket fire into the Allied bomber streams miles high in the sky.
Anyhoo, the father of that old graybeard in the first paragraph, at that time 22 years old (in between the current ages of the old graybeard's two youngest children) and the pilot of a B-17E named Mr. Five-by-Five, was shot out of the sky (by Messerschmitts, natch), from whence Dad (yes i'm the old graybeard) parachuted onto the topography and was captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, on the Baltic.
While a POW he learned that a best friend from training, also a B-17 pilot, had been shot down and KIA. The two friends had made a pact that should one survive and the other not, the survivor would call on the other's family, once back home, and offer that comfort. Well, in due time, Stalag Luft 1 was liberated by the advancing Red Army (one soldier of which was the grandfather of my middle daughter's fiance, whose son would in the 1980s immigrate from Kiev to Houston, after Mr. Gorbachev's laying down of the Wall), and dad, a bachelor, did in due time make his way to North Louisiana to call on his friend's family --including the young widow, with whom in due time a marrige was made, which then in due time produced the baby which grew up to be the guy who tonight find himself typing this post.
So, Don Juan of Austria and I have --if not much in the conventional sense in common --at least some sort of granfalloonish link in the low-probability/high consequence category.
Don Juan of Austria, described in an excerpt from GK Chesterton's Lepanto:
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.