My Weekend of Unequipped Camping with the Society for Creative Anachronism, a.k.a. Keen Judgment, Wherefore Art Thou?

In a previous post (3/22/15), I mentioned my one camping experience with The Society for Creative Anachronism—a medieval reenactment group. A friend and I had gone to Rochester, NY, to observe one of their battles. We prepared for it as only two boys in college would. Which is to say, we didn’t.

Society for Creative AnachronismNeither of us brought a tent, food, a sleeping bag or even warm clothes for the cold nights. What in the world were we thinking?

I like to believe our reasoning was akin to Albert Einstein constantly forgetting to comb his hair: we had a lot on our minds. Going on this extended weekend journey completely unprepared was, in fact, a mark of penetrating intellect.

And in an immediate sign of that genius, we managed to cadge a tent, blankets and some table scraps from people that looked at us and shook their heads.

So there.

Of course, we then proceeded to erect our tent on a root-gnarled hill and sleep with our heads on the down slope side.

As I say, genius.

The people who’d come to the battle as bearded Norse warriors kicked butt. They had the full regalia of axes, furs and helmets with horns. These folks erected a big, round, plush medieval tent (which, historically speaking, was probably a hair off accurate), had brought a surreal amount of mead and proceeded to get tanked in a culturally appropriate bacchanalia by a great, roaring bonfire.

By the last day of the gathering, my friend and I were starving and even the hardcore folks were hankering for some 20th century chow. Someone in knightly garb suggested that we go to a nearby IHOP for breakfast and a wimpled damsel replied, “Yeah, let’s go freak the mundanes.”

Like salmon in a river, memories have a way of jumping, flashing and disappearing again beneath the foaming white. This, however, is a memory that has stayed clear through the years. As The Kinks once said, “That’s the way that I want it to stay, and I always want it to be that way.”

  • That was the trip when you discussed theology with Buddha’s dad, wasn’t it?

    I really wish the SCA branch at our school had been about more than medieval dancing and we could have gotten a little more involved in the fighting.

    • Yes, I actually discussed theology with Buddha’s father. Pretty trippy, yeah? Of course, Buddha was the child of pagan hippies who worshipped Thor and Odin, but still. In a just world, that would count for a lot.

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