Anyway, Mama and I headed across the prairie to spend the day south of Fort Pierce at the 14th Annual Raid on Fort Pierce reenactment. It was the only reenactment going on while I was here, so I really wanted to go...especially since a special SCV friend is one of the men who is behind it. Seeing as how things are, we only went over for the day, rather than doing the whole weekend deal (which is, you know, quite a blast).
Grandpa Wess had informed me, via email, that when we got to the registration table, I was to tell them he was expecting me and he would get us in and introduce us around. Well, I did, but Mama and I walked on, rather than standing around, so it was probably a good hour or so later when I finally saw him, looking more than ever like Santa Claus (he could seriously pull a Santa Claus act off) in a bright red shirt. He, naturally, gave and received a big hug. :) We actually didn't talk overly much, but it was enjoyable and pleasant while we did....
Anyway, that happened after something else. More surprising, but probably even more joyful. Mama and I had passed sutler row and we were walking along with me rattling, when I glanced up and saw a wagon with a shade cloth off it and a nice little setup around it. Then I saw the banner...which said something about "ministries". At roughly the same time, I saw a tall, quite broad-shouldered man in a green-check shirt with a black vest and straw hat. I interrupted myself in the middle of a sentence (I may have exclaimed "oh!", but I'm not sure) and just dashed off, rudely leaving my mother in my dust.
By the time I reached the wagon, I slowed myself to a little more lady-like pace. I stepped up behind the Reverend, who was still arranging things, and piped, "Good-morning!"
He turned, returning the greeting, and then stared at me in surprise for a second or two before breaking into a delighted grin and more warm welcome. Ah, yes...Mr. Brian is one member of our reenacting "family". He also so happens to be the bacon box bass player for 7lb.s of Bacon. :D
We also ran into a couple other acquaintances...I don't think I ever actually really had a conversation with Rebekah before yesterday, but she was a familiar face. We did stand and talk for a little while there. :)
This was the smallest event I have ever been too, so the battle wasn't supremely spectacular, but it wasn't bad either. Naturally, being Saturday, the Yankee's won (I must admit here, they were a pretty nice group of Yankee's...it was such a small event that the fraternization was a bit freer then usual. But, more on that later.) I guess I shall go ahead and put the pictures here, then I will continue the tale.
Anyway, there was some fracas about one of the guy's wives "turning traitor". She got 'arrested' by two of the men. The CO was talking very loudly, but her husband was really making a stew about his wife. Well, anyway, the CO made some remark about "Since you can't keep your wife under control". The guards "tied" the wife to a tree and her husband came up rather near her and started telling the other men to make sure their aim was sure. The CO gave the "ready, aim, fire!" routine and the firing squad fired--and the husband fell down 'dead'. The CO start raving about "what did you do?" and the men retorted with something about "her being a woman".
Suffice to say, they had entirely too much fun with it. :)
Let's see...Mama and I went out to dinner (yes, with me decked out like a lower class woman from the 1860's, replete with secession cockade). We were going to go to a sea food place, but even at that early hour, it looked crowded, so we went in search of sustenance elsewhere. (The event sponsors were feeding the reenactors at 5:30, but chicken and dumplings are something I steer clear of, for obvious reasons.) We ended up at this Mexican restaurant with good food...and a man playing live mariachi music on his guitar. :)
We had already decided that I could stay for the dance. I really wanted to and Mama was game, even though it meant getting home later than perhaps is wise, so I decided I wanted to re-do my hair. While I could have done it without brushing my hair, Mama swung by a DollarTree and bought me a hairbrush and a nice hand mirror (that was really nice!) So, I sat there in the car (by the way, corsets and bucket seats are opposing forces), in the dim light (until I remembered that I could turn the overhead on) and did my hair in two braids over the top of my head.
We still had about an hour to kill before the dance began, so I spent a good portion of that standing up, leaned against the car, fingers busy with my knitting, looking at the stars. I went through my Confederate song repertoire (which is rather small if you count only what I know all the words to). Roughly fifteen til eight, we strolled back on down to where the dance was to be and shortly after that, the rest of the dancers arrived.
I think we may have had a grand total of eight couples at the floor's fullest. It was the smallest and most haphazard dance I have ever been to, but I must admit that since it was so small, (er...intimate, to use a more period term), it was also quite fun. I danced the majority of it with a young Confederate private who goes by the handle of "Stumpy". Stumpy is a one-year reenacting veteran, plays the "hick" very well, but probably is a pretty smart guy. My guess is he's someplace between 18-21. Oh, and isn't stumpy at all. He's a good head taller than me (at least) and has very broad shoulders. We chattered away like old friends for a good part of the evening; he reminds me remarkably of my 'brother', Matt.... He taught me another version of the waltz and I introduced him to an idea that I think he had never considered before (from reading his expression): women shouldn't be on the battlefield. Granted, I did a pretty poor job of it, seeing as I was unprepared for the conversation and it was hugging 10 o'clock more or less by that time, but I think I was clear enough to paint a picture of why I, personally, will not "cross-dress" (his term) and go on the battlefield (even though, I must admit, I think it would be rather thrilling).
Anyway, to describe the dancing a little more; the majority of the men there were Yankees...there were only three or four Confederate men. The music was blared from the speakers of someone's pick-up...and, it tickled me deeply, the majority of it was 7 lb.s of Bacon! :D I told Stumpy gaily that 7 lb.s of Bacon (whom he also thinks is the best!) is "my reenacting group"...and that the parson down yonder was the bacon box bass player! He didn't realize that.
We started with a Grand March. One just does, you know. It was the shortest length of people I have ever seen! Still, for all that, I was trying very hard not to trip on Pvt. Jimbo's heels...I cannot say that I exactly succeeded on that front.
I believe we went straight into a waltz after that...then a Virginia reel. I really like the Virginia Reel better when the sets are more than four people...but it seems like most callers set up groups of four couples, instead of six to ten. Anyway, not to complain... ;)
There was the Broom Dance...which is different than what we do at the Scottish Ball. It's more like musical chairs. Technically, one is never supposed to dance with the same partner twice in the Broom Dance, but with such an infinitesimal group of dancers, that rule kind of got ignored.
And the Hat Dance! In the past I haven't enjoyed that one overly much, but I really got into it last night....it's quite hilarious. Three chairs get set at the head of the line: either a lady or a gent is seated in the center, holding the hat, with two gents or ladies (respectively) on either side. The two on either side are supposed to convince the person in the middle why he (or she) should pick them (the one not picked receives the hat). When I was the girl in the middle...oh dear me! I was shaking with laughter nearly the whole time! Pvt. Jimbo, an older gentleman with a bad leg, would always get down on one knee and address the ladies as "Madame". I went with him once...and then with one of the Yankee's the next time, simply because I had already danced down with him already. (Sorry, sir, it wasn't the fact that you have cable!) There was one man who had been rather "fresh" with the lady before me (I think these folks all already knew each other anyway), and she had picked the opposite man. Well, when I had to sit down next to him, I leaned away from him (playing the part, you know) and my antics of horror were adding to the merriment. Stumpy danced me down the one time I ended up lined up with him...my hat compliment was the key. ;D Another time, I was one of two ladies on either side of a Yankee (I believe it was the man throwing his General's pay around :D), and I sat up stiff as a poker and remarked 'fiercely', "I'm a Confederate, through and through!" I forget who was on the other side of him, but he picked me with a remark that went along these lines, "Well, I've never had a Rebel before, but if I must..." It was all good-natured fun...and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Let's see...we also did a truncated version of the Snowball Reel. (Done in full that one is really, really fun.) We did the Star Reel (which I messed up), another waltz...and I taught Stumpy how to polka! I do so enjoy the polka...it's fast and fun...and you'd better have a good grip on your partner or you might fly apart! :D
This particular ball was shorter than the norm, but it was still quite fun and I'm glad I got to stay for it. We left directly as it ended and headed home. I rolled into bed at roughly 12:30 and I guess I went to sleep faster than I expected I would...because I sure don't remember laying there trying to wind down (I ran my mouth the whole way home, which is actually a good thing for the driver). I also didn't get nearly as sunburned as I expected to, but I then remembered that I had slathered vinegar on my face before we left. I do believe truly that it helps prevent sunburn.
I had a grand time...and my brain is twitching with that partially formed notion I alluded to in the first paragraph...