I don’t know how to sum up the last two days of Faire without being really boring. Then I realized: nobody has to read this. If you’re not interested in my report of the faire, you can just move along and read the blog of someone who is actually interesting. I’ll never even know that you rejected me! Unless you tell me, obviously.
This was the last weekend of the Faire, and they really needed to have a good turnout. Lucy and I got there barely before the gates opened on Saturday, and we witnessed this picturesque scene in front of the main gate (DeWitt, our Punch & Judy man, was reciting Shakespeare):
Soon I was ensconced in my accustomed chair at the Armoury, and I had very little to do because although there were some patrons, none of them were coming to buy weapons or lemonade or funnel cake. It was a very pleasant morning, but not a profitable one. Oh, and for those of you who still haven’t made it out to the Faire, here’s what the Armoury looks like:
Please note the excellent shade.
Early in the afternoon there was a flurry of excitement when Carrie arrived. Carrie is Tim’s wife, for whom I was substituting due to her breast cancer surgery. It was so good to see her, and for the rest of the afternoon there was a constant stream of people coming to visit her and wish her well. There was also an almost constant stream of customers for both the concession stand and the weapons shop. It was a very pleasant but busy afternoon.
Among our customers were a troop of belly dancers from Houston. Somewhat to my surprise, they were very interested in weapons. A couple of them spent a great deal of time browsing and adding to their “pile” before buying. Considering our own arsenal, I could only approve this behavior.
Toward the end of the day, the mermaid sought me out and gave me a lovely little pin with a seashell and a frond of fake water plant. She said that it is the custom among rennies to exchange these little “favors” as mementos at the end of a faire. I immediately began scheming to make some of my own.
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Mercy had to do virtually all the chai party preparations on her own. By the time Lucy and I got back, I was exhausted and the chai party was in full swing. I had this idea that I could just take a shower and sneak into bed. Before I could carry out my plan, however, I received a report that my friend Kristina was waiting for me outside, so I ended up going out to the party and staying up late yet again!
Sunday was the first day that I worked at the faire that I didn’t wake up on my own. When the alarm went off I wanted to smash it. There had been forecasts of dire weather, so I staggered out of bed to check the weather and see if maybe the last day of faire had been called off. It hadn’t. In fact, the weather forecast had been somewhat downgraded from “life threatening” to “scattered thunderstorms.” It ended up sprinkling maybe 20 drops of rain in the afternoon.
So, off we went. It was a beautiful, bittersweet day, as I had known it would be. There were almost no patrons in the morning, so I was free to roam a bit. I spent a delightful interlude visiting with the queen, and checking in with other friends. I had made a little pearl pin to give to the mermaid, and I had other beaded pins to pass out as well. I gave my knitting friend Mindy a set of my stitch markers, and she gave me a lovely little tatted Celtic knot pin in return.
I went and bought some earrings and ear cuffs made by my friend Sarah, and got some heavenly-smelling soap as a bonus. I found some little charms that are perfect for a project I’m working on also.
Tim was pretty busy with concessions, so I returned during the lunch hour in case anyone wanted to buy weapons. We made a few sales, but since everything was half price, that was not too surprising. By the middle of the afternoon, Tim was just about out of everything and had closed the concession stand, so once again I was free to roam. I watched Elliot’s show for the last time and took lots of photos. I always try to get photos of performers during their shows because they often don’t have a lot of photos of themselves “in action,” as it were.
Lucy and I had promised the queen we would go to the tea, and Tim wanted to participate in the ax throw tournament, so he just closed down the shop for an hour or so. The tea was great fun as always. Everyone on the cast is so kind and friendly. Listening to the lords and ladies of the court sing was a little hard to do without weeping, but I think we both mostly managed it.
After the tea, I went back to the shop to see if Tim needed me or if I could attend the final joust, and found him in conversation with a very singular young man whose friendliness seemed to be in direct proportion to the number of tattoos he had. He reminded me a bit of one of Spencer’s friends. So we chatted for a few minutes, and then he said, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Why did you ask that question?” I was stumped. He was clearly on alert about something and I feared I had somehow offended him.
“What question?” I had to ask. I couldn’t remember asking a question!
“Why did you ask him if you could go to the joust?”
Ah. He was all ready to defend me against Tim, who is the least oppressive person on earth.
“Well, I work for him so I wanted to know if he needed me.”
Tim confirmed that I was indeed working for him and the young man was visibly relieved. I was kind of tickled that he was ready to come to my defense though!
So, I went to the joust with a smile on my face and took lots of photos and enjoyed every minute of it. They gave out awards for the overall winner of each of the skills games and also of course the overall winner for the whole jousting season. This year it was Don Federico Serna:
Lucy got a few unusual compliments during the course of the day. One man admired her height and beauty and admonished her to embrace life as a Viking princess! Another raved about her “Jennifer Lawrence” eyes and urged her to cosplay as Katniss. I am not making this up.
As the hours slipped away, everyone became more emotional. In some cases, the emotion was at least partly fueled by various adult beverages. More favors were exchanged. I received another from Mindy’s daughter Elizabeth, who is the joust manager. I gave out quite a few of my own to various friends. When Tim started closing the shop, Lucy and I decided to haul our stuff out to the car and then return to say our final goodbyes. On the way to the car, my cart turned over and my basket fell out upside down. I had to gather everything back up and stuff it back into cart and basket before continuing on to the car.
When we walked back into the gate, the entire cast was gathered in a big group hug/huddle and singing “The Parting Glass” together. You can’t blame me for tearing up at that. I didn’t get my camera out until they were starting to break up at the end of the song:
We walked up the boulevard one more time and said more goodbyes. What made it especially hard was knowing that some of these people whom we’ve grown so fond of won’t be returning. Some are moving on to other things, or trying to make actual money. Others are leaving because a private disagreement turned into a public revenge which means that some of our faire people are leaving to start their own faire, which will be in direct competition with Four Winds. I can’t tell you how sad this makes me. But, it is what it is.
The older I get, the more I value and strive to achieve the ability to forgive and reconcile with others. Life is too short to hold grudges. To be honest, I have often been wrong about people so it would be unbelievably arrogant of me to stay angry at someone for an offense that might be more imagined than real.
As we drove home in almost total silence, it was hard to think that in coming weekends there would be no faire to go to. If we were to drive out to the site, it would be all but deserted (there are a handful of people who actually live at the faire). Lucy is hoping to be a squire next year, but we will have to see what that will cost in time and money. I know she would enjoy it.
Quote of the Day:
This is from an email that I received from Sir Dustin, the owner of our faire. “Every man is a knight in preparation for glory. I always felt that respect and a hand up was all that was needed to repair the poverty of East Texas. I still believe that and will fight on. The Faire is the best weapon I have in this fight.”
Musical performers the “Walking Bones,” bereft of an audience, lay down on the job and continued to play their music, much to my amusement. I tipped them.