let your hair down

I happened to come across a post where someone labeled another who had differing views. Of course I violated the “blogging prime directive” – don’t throw gasoline on someone else’s fire, it’s their blog, their belief, and one snarky comment won’t do a darn thing to open their eyes.

Still, I am reminded of Gimli the dwarf words from Tolkien: “The words of this wizard stand on their heads.”

When we dehumanize or vilify an opponent we take the first step of the path toward justifying violence.

While I am sure this tower is not so grand as Orthanc where Gimli and Sauron bandied words, if you ride your bicycle down the Illinois Prairie Trail as it lazily parallels the Fox river, you can catch a glimpse of this modern day castle built in the 1930’s by the Pratt family.

Built in the 1930's by an engineer.

Built in the 1930’s by an engineer.

Maybe just the place to let down your hair….


30 Comments on “let your hair down”

  1. Kristi says:

    Cool castle and quote. πŸ™‚

  2. If I didn’t read the text I’d think there’s no way that stands in our modern world. So cool.

  3. Clanmother says:

    You are so right. Today, in the public market, my husband and I witnessed a husband and wife arguing. The words were hurtful. I was reminded of this quote by J.R.R. Tolkien

    β€œAll we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

    We do not have time to cause pain to others or to ourselves. There are so many better things to do with our limited time….

  4. Resa says:

    Does anyone live in the castle?

    • billgncs says:

      You mean like an ogre ?

    • billgncs says:

      Hi Resa – here is some more of the story… from the web…. no water, no electricity… no plumbing… no fun πŸ™‚

      The 50-foot tower and a neighboring boathouse have been empty since the original owner, eccentric medievalist Harold S. Pratt, sold it in the early 1970s. An electrical engineer obsessed with the Middle Ages, Pratt designed his summer home to be a replica of a 10th Century northern European fortress.

      He had fallen in love with such buildings while serving in Europe during World War I, said Mike Alfd, an Elgin historian.

      In 1937, Pratt re-created a keep, a tower that serves as a last refuge for besieged soldiers. The tower’s smooth, round walls were difficult for attackers to scale.

      Taking the fantasy further, Pratt installed a catapult in the castle’s walled-in courtyard. He also built a portcullis–a heavy, barred gate–that could be lowered over the castle’s entrance.

      “He didn’t want any modern improvements, no plumbing, no electricity, no water,” Alfd said. “The people in his wife’s family thought he was off his rocker.”

      Inside the tower, a now-rickety stairway spirals up to the stark rooms that Pratt once decorated with crossbows, battle axes and homemade armor.

      “Kids used to pay him a nickel, and he’d give them tours,” said Scott Bowers, vice president of the Elgin-based PTS Group, which is auctioning the castle.


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