Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Hobby (or this thing of ours)

I thought I would take a few moments to talk about the hobby of living history/reenacting for folks that don't do it. To be honest with you it is hard to explain what it is all about to people who are not involved. I guess the first thing people want to know is "Why we do it?" There are as many reasons as there are people doing it. I can tell you the many reasons I do it, in a descending scale. I guess the first reason is to help me understand just a bit better what it was like. There is no way that I can experience life in the 18th century, but by wearing the clothing, eating the food, and reproducing the daily activities I can come closer to understanding what our forefathers went through. Notice I said come closer. Again, there is no way to totally recreate those long ago times. (nor would I want to, on many levels) But there is that moment when you are on the field or at a historic site that happens once in a great while, when you have that feeling, where time stops and in the back of your mind, you say, so THAT'S what it was like. That my friends, is a rush and a half.

Another reason for doing this is that I always wanted to teach, and this is a way that I can share what knowledge I have with members of the public. I enjoy talking to the public and interacting with people, this gives me the chance to do this.

Last of all, I consider reenactors all extended members of my family. As a matter of fact, I am closer to my fellow reenactors than I am to some of my blood kinfolk (but if you knew some of my relatives, well, that statement wouldn't sound QUITE so strong) Most reenactors would literally give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. The majority are helpful, friendly, and open with their advice and assistance. Case in point, I remember a family who lost everything in a tent fire at a event a good while back. Thank goodness no one was injured, but they lost all their kit. Within one day, through loans or gifts, all their gear was replaced, they were fed for the weekend and even given gas money to get home on. And no one thought it was in anyway out of the ordinary. As one of the fellows who was gathering goods together to donate told me, "We take care of our own"

I remember once being lectured by a fellow when I called what I did a hobby. He told me that it involved a heck of a lot more than a hobby, it was more like a life style or way of living. At that point, I had to agree with him, so I started calling it with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek,"This thing of ours" Well, some of you might know that is the English translation of the term, La Cosa Nostra. Once in, never out.

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