This here battle between the blue and gray may be my last for a long while. Phil leaves for college (his last 2 years will be at UCSC) just a week from Wednesday. Then again, this is the only reenactment he has been to since he came back from New Zealand. He belongs to a regiment called (lets see if I can get this right) Company E (for Engineers) 3rd regiment. Well, he can tell me when he gets back. He is there now, battling for independence. Of course, we know the outcome, but shh, don’t tell him.
This particular reenactment in Huntington Beach is one of the best. No, it has no horses, so no calvery, but it is shady, green, close and cool. Its also free and an annual event now.
Here is Phil (second from left) with friends (from left) Blake, Collin and Cole (Collins little brother). Collin joined up with the engineers a couple years ago and, just like in the real war, his little brother followed. Once they started posing for these pictures, people started whipping out their cameras and it was like the paparazzi had found them! They posed, tipped back the hats, moved to the right…
And there was lots to see while there
Drat that car in the background. Anyway, it is a wonder just seeing rows of white tents all lined up, people cooking over the open fires with their cast iron skillets, women knitting and chatting. Even the children in period costumes. I want a hoop skirt, bad!
Phil had coerced several friends to come and try out a weekend of- lets see, how does his tee-shirt put it, “smoke-fire-burns, bad coffee worse food, wet straw, wet canvas, wet clothes, heat, humidity, hard ground, rain, mud, cold, battalions of bugs, Life just doesnt get any better than this!”
Some come just for a battle or a weekend. Then some, like Collin, get the “reenactment fever” and join up. The company provides guns and clothes until you can get your own. Phil spent many nights sleeping out under the stars on the hard ground until he got his own white canvas tent. And going begging for food at other camps, when the company cook didnt show. Now he has an iron skillet and several years more experience under his belt. Its the people, the stories, the crazy drama during battle, that he loves. He told me yesterday, proudly, that he had captured a cannon and a drum! Sometimes he has to take “the drop” and die, hopefully under a shady tree. Other times he runs for it, scatters when all hope is gone, and hopes he doesnt get captured by the enemy.
I wanted to share pictures of the dancing that goes on at night, after the battles and dinners. After the men change into clean shirts and put on their white gloves and the ladies go home or to their tents to put on their dancing dresses. They sashay around the square or circle, they do the Virginia Reel, all with live musicians and a caller, who walks them through all the dances first, so even the new people have a chance to get it right, sort of. But it was too dark to see anything. They just had some lanterns on posts around the dancers. Not enough to hardley see, let along get pictures.
The next big one is in Moorpark. It is the biggest reenactment this side of the Mississippi, or so Phil tells me. But he wont be there, so we probably will not go all that way to see it. Sigh. Well, it was sure fun seeing all those young folks yesterday. I hope they are still having a good time today too.
And hope you all have (or had) a nice peaceful labor day.