Once I got the car packed and we ate lunch, we headed off. We arrived at the reenactment someplace around 4-ish (I think). Lt. Com. Keith K was working the registration desk and he told us where to go. I didn't talk to him about filming at that point. I did that the next afternoon. He's probably pretty nice once you get to know him, but I didn't get any warm fuzzies from the man. Even though we were camping modern we didn't stay in the modern camp (up by registration), but in the sutler parking area. I guess that was because we said we were with the 1st Florida Reserves (which is true). We were all lined up: the C's, the D's, the K's, us and then the W's. Savannah and I were the only one's tenting...except for Mr. Jack. He spent Saturday night in a single person tent. (I call them weiner tents...)
Other than us, the only 'young' people were Amanda C and her brothers Tom and Walter. Walter was only there Saturday (more on him later). I've taken quite a liking to Amanda. She's crazy in a different way than I am, but she keeps me in stitches. Underneath her goofy exterior, there is a pretty solid little girl, I think.
Friday night, Savannah and I pulled out our instruments and played for a little bit after Savannah recited "Paul Revere's Ride" and Amanda had read the Declaration of Independence from her school book. Don't ask how exactly that happened...
Anyway, Mr. Craig W pulled out his fiddle and Mr. Joe K his guitar and we all played together for a little out of Savannah's book. Once we got to Ash Grove, Mr. Craig asked us if we'd play it with him the next night at the dance/ball. We agreed. Savannah was actually the lead instrument, Mr. Craig played a harmony line, and at the dance, Mr. Jack and I played chords on the guitar, and Mr. D played his wooden box bass :D It sounded pretty good (even if I do say so myself). I only messed up once and Savannah says she messed up only once too! (I think I heard it when it happened, but she pulled it off so well it could have been intentional.) Savannah has remarked several times since that she was surprised that she got up in front of people and played from memory. I said it was because I had the music right there...I needed it for my chord markings!! So, because it was there, she didn't need it :D
Saturday morning, Savannah, Amanda and I wandered around a bit. I was going to talk to Mr. K then about filming, but he was being interviewed...so I waited until that afternoon. At 11:00 there was a ladies tea. Mrs. Anita L gave a nice presentation on black jewlery (a fashion statement of Queen Victoria's when Albert died) and had several of the ladies, Savannah included, walk around with the antique pieces she had for sale to show the rest of us. Also, she gave a little talk on authentic/age appropriate clothing. She pointed out one lady in her late 40's/early 50's as being very age appropriate and Savannah--particularly Savannah's bonnet. I thought that was pretty cool. :D The doorprizes were varied, from tea-cups to a parasol, to stocking to a brooch--which wonders of wonders, I won! I went to wear it Sunday, but it didn't quite hang right/look right on my dress so I went with my little siver bow with the heart locket that I wore last time.
Both Saturday and Sunday, the 7 lb.s of Bacon band played a 'concert' at 1:15 (or there abouts) and played until the start of the battle at 2:00. I didn't hear them as well Sunday because I moved to an entirely different local to shoot footage. I don't think anything I got is really much good. I mainly wanted cavalry footage and Saturday when I could have gotten some, there were light posts, cars, signs, and other stuff that messed up my shots. Sunday, I trooped out to the other side of the lake and set up where on Saturday the Confederate cavalry had galloped around. I still had to deal with light posts and a few other nuisences, but it was better--the little footage I did get. Even some of that I won't use because of the women...there were several women on the field...and I think most of them had on gray...Anyway, the number of women on the field actually rather disgusted me. Particularly the way they carried themselves off the field. I have a problem with women in the military anyway (main reason being it's not her role and secondly it weakens the military in a couple different ways). I was talking to Amanda about it and she also thought it was rather unrealistic--I know there were women who marched in both armies, but for starters, they would have been doing EVERYTHING to hide the fact that they were female...but, I'll get off this topic before I get myself buried any deeper... :)
I really can't tell you who won the battle on either day. I was so busy being glued to my LCD screen Saturday and frowning in concentration that I wasn't paying that much attention. Sunday, being across the lake, I couldn't see/hear well enough. It was kind of fun to look out there and go, "Hey, I know who that is! (Sorta...)" That was mostly the "Maine Boys" (I think that's what I heard them call themselves at the dance), who had been at Chipco. Yousef "dies" very well...he's quite an actor. (And he likes Savannah; I mentioned it to Amanda and she was like, "Oh, so you noticed it last week too?" :D )
On Saturday, while free handing with my camera behind the bandstand, a group of bluecoats marched in and one of the fella's on the end looked my way and gave me a friendly grin. Being myself, when someone (male or female) grins like that at me, I grinned right back, then returned my gaze to my LCD screen. I jumped several times when the cannon when off. I couldn't help but laugh somewhat when Yousef "died"--some Confederate officer stabbed him (once he was already down! I didn't think that was very nice...) I know it's not really funny, but he jerked so realistically and then rolled his head over and laid there with his mouth gaping. (Plus, I knew he was having fun.)
However, other than the dance, the most special thing that happened was Sunday afternoon. I was perched on the fence watching the battle across the lake (so, it was really more of a large pond). I had just moved closer to the fence, because I realized I was going to get in the line of fire. There was a group of Federal's behind me and a group of Confederate's in front of me. Anyway, the Confederate's started to fall back and the Federal's to chase them. I knew they were marching behind me, but was completely unprepared for what happened next. Out of the blue, I felt a gentle touch on my arm. I glanced down to see a bottle of water, then up at the man addressing me: "Ma'am. Compliments of General Brown." I managed a "thank-you" and then he moved on after his men. As I watched them march off and took the cap off the water bottle (I was thirsty and I just hadn't realized it), I teared up. If I could have crawled into a corner I would have had a good cry. As it was, I just fought the tears down. (Believe it or not, I'm fixing to cry again as I write this.) Just the simple gesture of the gift of his water bottle and the respect he addressed me with left me stunned. I am having difficulty describing the feeling that it gives me...it's gratitude, but also painful. I cannot think of any way to describe the event but special. It's also a good reminder that there were good men in blue during the War Between the States--they weren't all "Beast" Butler's, Sherman's, and Sheridan's.
Now, I'm going to talk about the most fun I had--the Dance!! I'm going to be calling certain people by their first names...I have no idea as to last names. Once I get the pictures up, I might point them out in the battle pictures...
It started with the Grand March. Last weekend I didn't get to do the Grand March, but this weekend, one of the "Maine Boys", Zach (age 16) asked me to do it with him. I'll go ahead and say I didn't turn anyone down... ;D That was fun even though it got kind of cramped--we were dancing outdoors and when those lines of people got about 16 long, we started feeling the squeeze of those trees...
I also danced the second dance (a Virginia Reel, I think) with Zach. Over the course of the evening, I would dance with another of the "Maine Boys", Brett (15) at least twice. He's just a tad shorter than me, but it's sure nice to dance with young men about the same size as yourself. :D I seemed to attract the 15-16 year olds...I wonder why... Amanda's brother Walter is the same age as I am and a pretty good waltz teacher. The first waltz I did with him. That came about in an...interesting fashion. He was taking Amanda's jacket to hang it on the bandstand, and as he walked by us (Savannah, Amanda, and I were standing together), he tossed something like this over his shoulder: "Which one of you ladies wants to dance with me?" I was surprised somewhat (afterall, this is the really 'authentic' fellow--I sat there that morning while he and Miss Dee [Mrs. W] had a discussion on "class" [i.e. social rank] over my head). But then again, I wasn't really surprised because that morning, while I was taking my first stab at poaching eggs in a skillet (an interesting procedure), the men (including Walter) were standing at the back of Mr. Joe's truck talking. Mr. Joe said something to me and I replied and then Walter said something (I can't remember for the life of me what this was all about) and then he winked at me!! I think I just grinned. I know once I turned back to my wet skillet (actually Mrs. K's skillet--we forgot ours and the butter--that's how come we were eating poached eggs...), I had myself a silent laugh. The whole thing reminded me of the scene in Anne of Green Gables when Anne sees Gilbert for the first time and he winks at her and then Anne turns and whispers to Diana, "I think your Gilbert is handsome, but he's also very bold! He winked at me!" All that to say that I wasn't really 100% surprised by Walter's round about way of asking to dance. I made some off the cuff remark to Amanda about him being rude (I was only half-joking) and then told her not to tell him I said that--so what does she do when he gets back? Tells him I called him rude! :D It didn't seem to phase him in the least...and I danced with him and even talked with him some. Like I said earlier, he's easy to waltz with because he leads. I'm not much of hand when it comes to waltzing (I could do the Virginia Reel in my sleep, but waltzing still takes concentration for me), so it's nice to waltz with someone who knows what he's doing. Last weekend I had that chance with Elden...this weekend with Walter. I waltzed later with a big ol' boy with legs twice as long as mine and feet to match who didn't really know what he was doing--but I still had fun. Timmy is another nice 15-year-old. He's in a Georgia unit (and LOOKS like he's from Georgia; though I don't think he's really from said state because he doesn't sound like a Georgian). I think I danced over half of the last half of the ball with him. I found out the next afternoon (in the sunlight) that he's also a red-head. :) Early on in the ball, we were doing the Virginia Reel and Capt. S (the "Yankee-in-the-plaid-pants" from last week :D), recognized me as Zack and I stripped the willow (or reeled the set, depending on whom you're talking to), and tossed out some comment about "I know this girl like to spin"--and then he proceeded to reel me around in a lively fashion. It was after this that I danced with Walter. As we finished the waltz, a lady came up with her husband cheerily calling, "What about my dance, Walter?" I think it was a polka (neither Savannah or I danced that one because we weren't asked and we sneaked off to get ready to play Ash Grove). This lady's husband (I believe he is the same man who gave me the water on Sunday) told Walter, "You may dance with my wife on one condition...that you dance with this young lady [me] again." Anyway, part way through the polka, I heard said lady call: "DAVID!" Walter had polka'd her right out of her skirt! Her skirt had literally come unhooked in the back and she had to hang on to it to keep it up (I don't think it would have come all the way off due to her hoop, but anyway, I'm sure it was really embarrassing--she took it with such grace). Maybe it's good thing I didn't get that second dance after all (he left while we were playing Ash Grove--he had to go to work next morning)...Later she apologized that he didn't stay and dance with me again...she also told me that while Walter may seem kind of...stuffy isn't the word she used, but it'd work...he's really alright. I think I believe her. I imagine that the C family can be downright hilarious when they're all together.
For the first couple of dances, Savannah danced with a kid named Bailey. (I'm guessing he was at most 16). He asked her for her telephone number!!! (She got out of that...) I had a good laugh later...afterall, he's just a baby. I think if it had been me, I'd of howled with laughter and asked, "Sonny, do you know how old I am?" See, it's a good thing none of the nice boys I danced with asked me for my telephone number--I'd have crushed their poor teenage feelers...then felt like giving them a motherly hug. :D After Savannah didn't give Bailey her number--he didn't come back again. And then, I think for most of the rest of the dances Yousef danced with her. Like I said, he likes her.
We both had an absolute blast at the dance and closed the ball out...by the time we ended, it was Savannah and I, Yousef, Timmy (he'd gone, but came back: "everyone was asleep at camp and it was kind of boring..." [personally, I was glad he came back because I wasn't getting asked to dance anymore; the girls were out-numbering the guys]), Amanda, Mr. Doug and I think that the pretty lady he was dancing with might be his wife, and another couple of people. The last dance was a waltz to "Dixie"...they start it out slow then speed it up. The second time through I started to sing and most everyone else picked up. I have a bit of a sore leg from waltzing with Timmy. I had to stretch a little farther with my steps because his legs are so long! :D
Sunday morning we didn't really have church (even though the schedule says that there was supposed to be church, as far as I know, nobody did it); so the 7 lb.s of Bacon, accompanied by Savannah and I set up in the middle of the sutler area and played and sang gospel songs for a while. The only person who joined in and stayed the whole time was Yousef. I heard him ask Rev. D the night before if/where church was going to be; so that's how he knew when and where to show up. :) There was one Federal who was there for a while and I don't think he got the point that this was kind of like a worship service thing until after he said something Miss Dee gently pointed out to him that "we're trying to praise the Lord". Then he apologized profusely and after another song or two moved on.
Savannah and I are thinking that we are hook, line, sinker, and instruments into this reenacting stuff...now all we have to do is figure out our historical personas...and make a few more things. We're already planning party dresses...or at least Savannah is. I'll get to that once I'm done here :D (And I get the dishes washed!!) We are also seriously thinking about going to the Suwannee reenactment in two weeks.
BUT with all that said I have a list of things I MUST get done: 1) SCV video; 2) spray pasture weeds; 3) work cows; and 4) any other random thing that pops up. I will go put together my slideshow and then get to work on the dishes...and finishing the laundry.