August 19, 2007

Good times, great friends, and politicial incorrectness.

I just returned from the Galesburg Heritage Festival. We had a lot of fun and the weather was BEAUTIFUL for the most part. We had some rain during the night and as we finished packing there was more rain, but the temps where cool all day yesterday and for the most part today.

I made the local newspaper. I participated in a fashion show and the Galesburg Register Mail ran a story about the rendezvous side of the show.

'It was a very dark, bloody time'

Re-enactors interact in character, but not politically correct

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The Register-Mail
GALESBURG - While Saturday's Civil War portion of Heritage Days Ladies Tea and fashion show was rather dignified and informative, the rendezvous portion of the fashion show, although also educational, was more street theater in its presentation. The re-enactors' interaction with each other kept the audience laughing throughout.

Will Crouch, who portrayed a farmer in 18th century Illinois, said conditions were not as they have been portrayed in movies.

"It's not Daniel Boone, it's not Davy Crockett," Crouch said. "It was a very dark, bloody time."

He warned the audience not to expect a politically-correct presentation, as the re-enactors would be in character.

He first introduced an Indian and the Indian's "woman."

"A lot of the clothes I have on are French or English," the Indian said. "It didn't matter, whoever paid better."

The man had black paint around his eyes, giving the look of a mask, with a black stripe down the left side of his face and his neck. His head was shaved, except for a top-knot on the back of his head.

He said the red ribbon on his rifle was so the British would know which Indians were loyal to them. He also carried a French safe passage coin, to use when needed.

"You've had your say, Indian, move along," Crouch said.

"Scalps paid very well, too," the Indian said menacingly.

An English lord of the manor said the king gave him thousands of acres in Illinois for his help in fighting the French.

Sarah Crouch, his female companion, said she knew little of her past because the English lord "killed my family."

She said he treated her well.

A wizened Scottish trapper took exception to her attitude. While it was difficult to understand his thick, Scottish brogue, it was obvious the lord of the manor received a well-deserved dressing down.

Ray, a long hunter, carried a Brown Bess musket. He said he became a hunter and trapper because he had no desire to enter his father's trade as a blacksmith. He said he traded with Indians, "However, I don't care much for the natives. They're pretty well savages."

Two mountain men entered. One, wearing a coonskin cap, said, "I came from Missouri. I'm here to buy a few women to trade back to the Indians."

His friend asked a woman if he could trade some trinkets for her daughter. The first man asked the woman, who was not a re-enactor, to stand up.

"Sit down, you're too skinny," he said.

A British militiaman, Noah Crouch, was a farmer but grew tired of that life.

"I'm not going to stand up here and gawk at the women or chase my sister around the room," he said, referring to the mountain men. "I joined the British, not that I agree with them, but because I dislike the French."

Seamus, a Scottish Jacobite - a member of a political movement dedicated to returning the Stuarts to the thrones of England and Scotland - said he hid in the moors of Scotland when the English soldiers arrived. When he returned, he said the " 'Anglish' killed my wife and children and put a price on my head."

He fled to Ireland, then Canada, where he helped the French.

"There is nothing that makes me happier than to kill an 'Anglishman,' " he growled.

As Will Crouch concluded the program, Seamus stayed in character. He stared at one Englishman, "I'll give you 30 seconds before I start shooting."

My alter-ego is Seamus MacPhail. But now let me give you some of the un-PC points that were not brought out in the article.

The "wizened old Scottish Trapper" was Duncan, Sarah's "uncle" at one point he was yelling at her for associating with people that "fight with their feet, and fornicate with their faces."

The Mountain Man was wearing a coyote skin cap, not a coonskin cap... and yes they did start sizing and pricing women in the crowd. When he told the one to sit down he actually said, "Sit down you're too skinny and your butt is too big."

As for me, they abbreviated my entire closing speech. It was more along the lines of "Now that the Anglish and the French have started fighting, I'm going to help the French fight the war. Nothing would make me happier than killing some Anglish and their manky american colonial lapdogs. And if I'm lucky I'll kill some of their women and children as well."

I got the only audible response from the crowd. And yes I did threaten to shoot Noah and when he gave me lip I cocked my musket loudly. At which point someone yelled out, "Move it, I don't want to get caught between the two of you."

The best part was the look on Will's face when he came out of the building. He had a look of bewildered disbelief. He told us he wanted us to stay in character and I asked if he was sure he wanted Seamus the Surly Scotsman. He assured me he did. But later he told me he just didn't think I would say I was going to kill the women and children.

Well I'm going to go finish cleaning up and unpacking, I'll give you more details later. I just wanted to share the article with everyone.

Posted by Contagion in Re-enacting life. at August 19, 2007 07:36 PM | TrackBack

I knew, even without knowing, that you HAD to be Seamus. Are you *sure* it's your alter-ego?!?!?


Welcome home. THRILLED y'all had a great weekend. Next time you're over, I'll need an autograph....

Posted by: Tammi at August 19, 2007 08:13 PM

Ahhhh now there are new stories about the fact that we are not fit for public if more evidence was needed.

I think the truly sad part of this is that we were so close to being kicked out and an article about how crude we are may actually have saved our spot in the show. Funny how that works.

Posted by: Sari at August 19, 2007 08:14 PM

Goddamnit I wish I could have made it this weekend... stooopid van, stoopid job...

Posted by: Graumagus at August 19, 2007 08:28 PM