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A Tale of Tea and War That You've Probably Never Heard

If you are familiar with battle details of the American Revolution, then you have no doubt heard about the “Battle of Long Island” fought on August 27, 1776. General George Washington, then Commander-in-Chief, and the Continental Army attempted to defend the strategic port city of New York against the combined land and sea forces of General William Howe, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces. It was considered a true military blunder by Washington. And it almost cost the Continental Army a great price.

The “historic details” of what happened are intriguing for both history and military enthusiasts. I’ll spare you the full recap in order to jump right to my point. Essentially, the Continental Army was surrounded, vastly outnumbered, and outgunned. Then this:
“Howe, in a move considered controversial to this day, ordered all of his troops to halt the attack … Howe's failure to press the attack, and the reasons for it, have been disputed” (Battle of Long Island: The Old Stone House).

The other day I spent some time chatting with a U.S. Secret Service agent. He told me that once during a transport of the Australian Ambassador he was told of an interesting story by the Ambassador himself. Seems that as General Howe was pressing in on the Continental Army, a New York resident saw the British troops approaching and went out to offer them tea. Yes, you read right. She offered them tea. According to the Ambassador, even in the heat of battle and the pursuit of an “enemy force,” the British cannot refuse tea. The troops were ordered to stop and tea time was on. As the story was told, this little tea time stop is what helped the outmaneuvered Continental Army to survive and eventually escape.
“The British were stunned to find that Washington and the army had escaped” (Battle of Long Island: Conclusion of the campaign).

I have no idea whether this account is true, but you must admit, it is a fantastic tale and one that should be included in some movie. At the very least, Rush Limbaugh could use it to help sell his new line of iced teas, Two If By Tea®.


Book Review -- "COACH: Lessons on the Game of Life" by Michael L. Lewis

I wish it had not taken me seven years to stumble across this little memoir written about Billy Fitzgerald (a.k.a., Coach Fitz). Nevertheless, I did at least stumble across it. Better late than never applies as well as it ever has.

I won't bother to repeat all the basic details already covered by other reviewers except to say, Yes, it's short (I'm estimating 8,000 words), but it really packs a punch. As a father of four (3 boys, 1 girl), the themes really resonated with me. This quote seems to sum it up much better than I would be able to do:
"Fitz gave another one of his sermons. They were always a little different but they never strayed far from a general theme: What It Means To Be A Man. What it meant to be a man was that you struggled against your natural instinct to run away from adversity" (p.77).
There's an even better quote on pages 82-83, but I'll let you read it yourself.

Here's why that quote from page 77 resonates with me personally. For the past 15 years or so, I've pondered the idea that self-discipline is listed last by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 perhaps because it is the "holy grail" of a truly fruitful life. More than anything, I want my children to grow up esteeming self-discipline as equally honorable and desirable compared to virtues such as love and peace. I recognize that one can be incredibly disciplined in all the wrong ways (hence the other 8 fruits), but the older I get, the more I recognize the elusiveness and value of that fruit called self-control. Even as I type this I am wearing a cheap rubber bracelet that simply says "Lose Your Quit." I can't help but think that the world might be a much better place if we would all learn this simple lesson. Too bad there isn't a Coach Fitz in each of our lives. I suppose this tiny booklet will have to suffice.