October 17, 2005

Yea, that's the stuff.

We returned from Trail of History last night, we had a blast. This was probably one of my best re-enacting weekends I had in the last 8 years. Since I had left my re-enacting group, we had to re-jury into the event. That meant the event staff and coordinators were scrutinizing us. We did good, word is they were very impressed by our display. In fact I was told we were one of the three most popular displays in camp this year.

Why were we so popular? For the first time I ran the still. We had it set up and making whisky… well okay I was distilling water due to federal law. However, the public didn’t need to know that, and back in 1756 there were no laws about that in the frontier. Thus, I told them all I was making whisky. The interaction I had was wonderful. Other re-enactors would try to trade me for whisky through out the day. And I even walked to some of the other trader displays with gallons of “whisky” to trade them for supplies I needed. What was great about the whole experience was the fact that everyone was curious as to what I was doing.

When public would go walking past, sometimes they would do a double take at the still to make sure they saw correctly. One of the hooks I would use to draw in public was when I saw someone do that I would say, “Yes, that is what you think it is. And yes I am.” The smiles on their faces would spread ear to ear, especially the guys. That’s not to say I didn’t have a lot of women and even children stand there for my 15-minute spiel.

What I found even more satisfying was at the end of the event being told by re-enactors that had been doing this for 15+ years that they thought my display was great. They had never seen anyone do distilling before AND they couldn’t believe no one ever thought about it. They liked my camp, display and spiel so much I was invited to join one of the old guard re-enacting groups, a group that is considered an institution of re-enacting in our area. They have set standards in Historical and Period correct displays at three of the events I do. I was very honored to have been asked to join. However, I declined their offer. After explaining that I left one group and had no desire to join another group at this time, they all understood. They then told me to take a year or two and if I change my mind the offer is open.

The only problem I had this weekend was a severe lack of time. There was a shortage of people willing to fight in the battle this weekend. On Saturday they scheduled a walk through of the battlefield at 12:30 with the battle at 2:00. That took me out of camp a lot. If they hadn’t been short of fighters I probably wouldn’t have gone. Some of you that have read me for a while know how much I love doing the battles, so you are probably asking yourselves, “Why would you not do what you love?” Simply because when I left at 12:20 to get to the battlefield I had to turn no less then 20 people away from my camp. I gave a brief talk about distilled spirits in the frontier and then explained I had to go “kill some Brits”. A large part of me wanted to stay in camp just to talk to the public, to educate them on distilling AND distilled spirits in the frontier.

That is why I had started re-enacting and I had lost that feeling over the last 3 years. This weekend brought it back. Numerous friends of mine at this event saw me and commented on how happy I looked. I guess Homer Simpson was correct when he said, “Alcohol – the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Oh and yes I did get a lot of comments on how it was “appropriate” that I, the surly Scotsman, was running the still. People that have known me and all the re-enacting stories about me (including a certain Jack Daniel’s incident), found it highly amusing.

Posted by Contagion in Re-enacting life. at October 17, 2005 10:36 AM | TrackBack

What is it with men quoting Homer Simpson all the time????

Anyway, congratulations on a "historic" re-enactment! It sounds like you enjoyed it just as much as the public. It's so wonderful when the fruits of your labor are valued and appreciated by more than just a few peasant mortals... isnt it?

Posted by: michele at October 17, 2005 11:11 PM

Michele - it's because the Simpsons has a quote for damn near every life experience.

Posted by: Harvey at October 18, 2005 11:22 AM

We went to the Pinnacle Mountain Rendevoius this weekend as "pubic"....however I was curious to see no brothels being run, if the "still" doesn't turn out I think you got a winner there...

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at October 18, 2005 03:39 PM

What exactly are you trying to say about Ktreva Armywifetoddlermom?

snicker...grin...duck and cover.

Posted by: littlejoe at October 19, 2005 04:27 AM

And the Simpson quotes are always so accurate. I mean, how can you argue with, "mmMMMmmm...Beer."?

Posted by: Ogre at October 19, 2005 01:18 PM

Michelle: Because Homer is a great philosophical genius.

AWTM: Nah, the whisky is working just fine

LJ: Not as much as you where.

Posted by: Contagion at October 21, 2005 08:01 AM