It's been a busy fall! I'm sad to say that other things besides reenacting have kept me busy. I took a couple of trips to visit friends and have been staying very occupied at work - when one works in retail, the autumn becomes eaten up with preparations for helping lots of people have very merry holidays.
Earlier in October, I was away at an immersion event. My Civil War Bestie and I traveled to southern Illinois, to a little collection of original log cabins. It was a very small event, but we got to spend time with some friends I do not get to see nearly often enough, and make some new friends that I can't wait to see again.
The front room of this dog trot was our home away from home for the weekend - and I daresay it's now a permanent home away from home. I'll be honest - I haven't done a lot of real "roughing it" kind of events, mostly because I'm not a real roughing-it kind of girl. For this event, I got to be a maid in the tavern and serve meals and wash dishes. I gathered kindling and hauled firewood, kept the fire going in our cabin, and hauled buckets of water with a shoulder yoke (that's one I can cross off my reenacting bucket list!).
I absolutely adored this event, and I can't wait to go back. I was so impressed that all the attendees really, truly paid attention to the "no cell phones, no cameras, nothing modern" rule. So often everyone agrees to these rules, and then around Saturday afternoon things go wonky and things start to slip out. You see a camera or two pulled out, or catch someone smoking a modern cigarette. I didn't see a single cell phone all weekend. It was marvelous, and so vanishingly rare.
I also learned things. I've been in this hobby for well over a decade now, and certain things start to feel like a broken record - the same event, doing the same programs, every single year. It takes an event like this to shake me up and keep me on my toes, and to learn things I hadn't learned before. I learned just how important it is to have a fire in the morning (not just for the heat, but to pull out the damp). I learned what it's like to sleep on a rope bed, and how important spooning is (VERY). I learned that when you don't have much else to occupy you, sitting on the porch and sewing while watching the neighbors going about their business (and gossiping about them) is really just as good as TV. I learned what the real pace of life was in the rural Midwest.
Like I said, it was a marvelous weekend. And then tragedy struck. You see, I had used a major transportation service to get to this event, so that I didn't have to drive by myself. I had checked my bag in with this company, and it got to Chicago just fine. But on the way back, it didn't make it back to St. Paul. And it still hasn't made its way home yet. It contained a good portion of my reenacting gear - three dresses, all my undergarments, my corset and cage crinoline, all the way down to hair pins and pomade. I have a spreadsheet detailing the entire replacement cost of the suitcase and its contents, and it's stomach-churning.
To say I am a bit distracted is an understatement. I can keep it together for about five days at a stretch, and then I have a meltdown. It's been two weeks, and I still have hope they will find it, but it is very hard to sit and wait, not knowing when and where it will turn up, and to fill out the claims forms like it's never going to be seen again. I have been doing all the right things and handling everything the best way possible (and the next person who says "Did you do XYZ?" is going to be strangled, so please, no helpful advice needed).
If you are a praying person, prayers would be appreciated (I've got St. Jude, St. Christopher and St. Anthony on this). If you're not, crossed fingers and good wishes are appreciated too. I'm looking forward to the day when I can report back that everything is back, safe and sound.