I’m not honestly certain how I managed it. This summer has been one for the record books. I believe I’ve heard that in the last 2 weeks we’ve recorded our hottest stretch of weather in 17 years and our fourth hottest day since records have been kept. This is not a good thing when one spends ones weekends reenacting the Civil War. It’s uncomfortable being outdoors in shorts and a t-shirt. Put on 4 or 5 layers (minimum) covering yourself quite literally from head to toe and it gets really fun!
And of course, that’s exactly what I have done the last 2 weekends running. Leave it to this genius to pick this summer to wear a corset all the time, too! Yes friends, your resident blogger is, without a doubt, well south of sane.
This weekend’s event was in Wauconda, IL, at the Lake County Forest Preserve. For reasons unknown to anyone, it’s one of our favorite events. The weather, without fail, sucks every year. It’s miserable hot and humid and folks are constantly suffering heat stroke. But it’s a reenactors event. The host unit, Taylor’s Battery, has successfully put together an event that keeps us coming back year after year despite the miserable weather. Sadly, one of the highlights, the night fire, had to be suspended because of the extreme drought conditions, but even without that treat, it was great fun.
The thing about the reenacting community is we find a way to have fun despite our misery. Everyone pitches in during set up and tear down to help each other out and make sure everyone stays safe. We find a way to make it enjoyable no matter what. And when the “cold front” pushed in late Saturday afternoon and the temperature dropped from the high 90s to the mid 80s the camps came alive. I realized somewhere around 9:00 Saturday night that the familiar chorus of laughter and storytelling around the campfire had finally resumed. Never mind that we weren’t allowed fires, no one wanted to get within 3 states of one anyway, the camaraderie that is camp life after sundown was alive and well.
Sunday morning came with another day full of sunshine and high temperatures, but only around 85 again. Normally, this is exactly the weather that we will whine and complain about our misery in the heat. But as it was a 15 degree change from 2 days earlier, we all felt refreshed. There was a bounce in the step of every single participant. The guys marched out to battle in full parade. The ladies didn’t look wilted in miserable in their hoop skirts. I was actually able to move the wool through my fingers as I sat at my wheel and spun. The change from Saturday was incredible. And it is, without a doubt, why I still reenact after 15 years.
That and the first cool shower in my air conditioned house. Nothing makes you appreciate the modern world like a couple of hot, sweaty days in a tent.