I spent most of the weekend at Petersburg VA at a Rev War event. It was fairly small as such events go, but it is improving since the first time I attended a few years back. The city of Petersburg is attempting to show that they have more history than just the Civil War. It seems to be working since the visitation was the heaviest that I have seen there. As a matter of fact, a few visitors even thanked us for being there to show another side of Petersburg's history.
The event is held at Battersea plantation. It is a colonial period house that has fallen on hard times, owned by the city. It could be a work of art with enough funding and effort. With the way things are these days, money is too hard to come by just to spend on a "old house". It seems that when ever belts get tightened, historic sites always get cut first. I hope that by the hospital being invited and going to this event, that we help with the preservation of this fine old lady.
My knee was hurting pretty well by the time I got to the site on Friday afternoon, (but what else is new?) but my mind was taken off of it by seeing both Nancy R. and Miss Susan, who was taking part in her first overnight in the field event. (Ms. Susan is my particular favorite of the children of the hospital and I intend on spoiling her rotten every chance I get.) We both started setting up canvas (Me being MUCH slower than Nancy) and were soon joined by Ms. Victoria, Ruth, Kate and the other young'uns. every one got set up and I turned in about 10:00 that night. I guess I woke up about every hour or so either from my knee, or the sound of gunfire from the surrounding neighbourhoods. Battersea, is surrounded by what might be considered "lower income" housing. It was rather interesting and amusing, lying in bed and because of all my time on firing ranges being able to identify the various weapons being used by the drug dealers a few blocks over just by the sounds.
I finally crawled out of bed around 8:30 Saturday morning with a wee bit of a vicodin hangover and found that James Wall, his son Justin as well as "Uncle" Chuck Walker were already in camp. They were soon joined by the Greeleys. We put up the hospital fly and set out the kit and started talking to the public. As I said the crowds were large and we stayed busy. The site fed us that night (pretty good pork barbecue) and entertained us with a string quartet then held 18th century dancing in the great room of the house. I sat under the hospital fly and just visited with whoever came by and enjoyed the night air and breezes. I guess that has to be one of my favorite parts of the events that I go to the sitting around after dark by candle light just talking. It reminds be of all the times that I spent at my grandparent's home sitting on the front porch in the cool of the evening and just talking. We have gotten so far away from that, the one on one communication with each other. With all the distractions of modern life it is nice to get back to it.
Again, I turned in fairly early and fell asleep in a short period only to be awakened once more by gunfire, but that didn't last long since a rather strong thunderstorm accompanied by a heavy rain shower put that foolishness to a end. It was a good old fashioned, Southern Baptist, gully washer of a rain. Just the thing to wash the trash off the streets. I just pulled the blanket over my head and went back to sleep.
Sunday morning it was still raining, and pretty much all the hospital folks figured that the better part of valor was to pack it in. However we waited until the site folks called the event before we started packing. It was the right call to make since the parking lots were turning into a bog and the area picked as the battlefield had three inches of standing water in it. Bless the ladies of the hospital who pretty much broke down and packed up all my kit for me and got me on the road in record time in the driving rain.
Since I was going right past it, I stopped at Pamplin Park, a good sized Civil War site to try to get my fix of that time period. I guess I have been there six or seven times and have never been past the book store. (What can I say, books are reenactor children) Some day when I have the time, I need to check out the museum. I didn't find anything that tripped my trigger (books dealing with naval matters or firearms) so I picked up a music CD and took to the road once again. I got home around 4 or so and started getting ready for the road trip to San Juan this coming weekend.