This is not a current events article.  I’m burned out by politics tonight…

I was thinking about odd things I’m come across and odd things I’ve wondered about.

For instance – why was a car with several men standing around it parked behind the Sav-Way, watching other cars come and go?  Not talking to each other, not eating anything, just lounging against the car, stretching, walking back and forth, and watching the traffic?

Several weeks ago I had parked in the grocery store parking lot to eat a burger and listen to the radio at lunch-time, and that car was in my line of view.  I was there over thirty minutes and so were they.  I can think of some reasons but I bet they’d all be wrong.  Guess I’ll just have to wonder about that one.

What does “toe the line” mean?  Or is it “tow the line?”  I think I’ll look that up… slight pause…

Okay, according to Wikipedia, the phrase comes from usage in the British House of Commons.  That House has two sets of lines separating the front row benches, more than a “sword’s length” apart from each other, to keep over-excited members from using swords to settle debates. It was quite common through much of the House’s history, dating back to the 14th century, to have its members armed with swords. Thus, the Speaker would demand that members “toe the line” if debate was becoming heated, particularly along the front rows. So then, the primary connotation of “toe the line” is to conform to a rule or standard.  Interesting.

In doing family tree research, I came across some odd things.  Williamsburg County (SC) records indicate that in the latter 1750’s, able-bodied men were being recruited to fight in the French and Indian War.  My ancestor Stephen Motte was listed among the volunteers.

What was the French and Indian War?  Were we – the colonists – fighting Frenchmen and Indians?  Something else to look up…

Okay, I looked it up.  Also called the Seven Years War (1754-1763), this war was really between England and France, both of whom claimed disputed territory between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River in North America, including areas in America and Canada.  Both sides had Indians fighting with them, although most fought with the French.

The American colonists were British subjects at that time and were trying to help England, thus the call for recruits.  This is a very simplistic, abbreviated account, believe me.  George Washington fought in this war.  Eventually England prevailed and a treaty was signed in 1763.

I’d love to find military records for that war, even sketchy ones like those I found for my Motte ancestors who fought in the Civil War, but so far I haven’t located any such records.

Well, I have a lot of questions on a lot of stuff, some of which is just unimportant trivia.  Right now it helps to take my mind off the TV news, at least for an hour or so.