A week later

So, I make a post about a new resolve to post more frequently, and then don’t post anything for a week. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? The only reason I can claim is that quite frankly, I needed the rest. The best description of Gulf Wars I’ve ever heard came from a friend of mine from the Barony of Northkeep in Ansteorra, “Gulf Wars is about sleep deprivation”.  Very, very true.
What an amazing week was Gulf Wars this year. What a truly amazing week.
We arrived on site about 9:00 AM Saturday morning and proceeded to start setting up camp. Now, the household that I’m blessed to be part of camps in the Grey Niche overflow area, across the street from the main Grey Niche encampment, and we had one hell of a camp this year. There was Turlough’s pavilion, Caitriona and Luca’s pavillion, and Gresch and Chieree’s pavillion. THen there was our kitchen tent, which is one of those 10×20 garage style tent’s from Sams. The kitchen had Turlough’s massive Grill, which actually caused Grill Envy in the Brother’s von Ziemer, along with all the other kitchen stuff. It did take us literally all day to get set up, but I’m glad we took the time. The camp was comfortable, and we had a nice central place to congretate and talk, and just hang out.
Sunday I spent all day working the opening troll along with several other people. It was a busy, busy day, but like always I had a ball. There is something so fun about seeing all the other people coming to war, talking to them, marvelling at how far they had come to spend the week with their friends. There was one guy that had driven straight through from northern Vermont; he said he’d been in the truck for 24 hours. Another crew had driven down from somewhere in Ontario. They are all so happy to be at war. The day was busy, but it was fun to be part of the crew welcoming people to war. I worked from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM. That evening Turlough, Caitriona, Luca and I went into Hattiesburg for dinner, and we got back to site about 9:3o that evening. Day 2 was excellent.
Day 3, Monday, was the first of three days of working on their Majesties entourage staff. I’ve enjoyed, for the most part, working entourage for their Majesties over the course of their reign, and Gulf Wars was no exception. I truly enjoyed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it let me see and experience parts of the Society I’d not truly seen before. Tuesday was kind of problematic for me from an entourage point of view, and I wish I had handled some things differently, but I didn’t. I guess I just have to consider the things that happened that day to be a learning experience, and if I ever have the opportunity to serve as entourage again I hopefully won’t make the same mistakes.
Tuesday night was the Gleann Abhann social, and the folks that set that up did one hell of a job. All the different folks that donated food, or worked to  serve put on one hell of a party. I had  spent most of Tuesday  morning working with some folks to get the Gleann Abhann royal pavillion set up. That was interesting because none of us putting it up had ever done so before, and quite frankly because that is one odd pavillion. It’s oval, not square, the poles are kind of mismatched, etc. I’m sure if any of us had had experience putting it up it would have gone much easier.
I don’t really remember much of the day Wednesday. I know was on royal escort duty for Her Majesty, and I know she was at the Diamond Tourney. I remember that clearly because I got there before she did, I was supposed to take over from her morning escort at the tourney. So, I got there early, and as the lady’s f the Diamond were setting up for the tournament I was sitting and trying to keep out everybody’s way. Suddenly little Harry, Bri and Radu’s son,  is showing me his book, and letting me know, in no uncertain terms, he wants share it with me. Before I really knew what was going on he had crawled up in my lap and was showing me his book. That was a fun experience.
I think the absolute highlight of the war was Wednesday night at camp. All of the 3 Dragons were there, and Gresch and Cheiree had made an excellent dinner for all of us. We spent the evening just talking, telling stories, etc. Laughing, and enjoying being together. Over the course of the evening several different friends stopped by and hung out for a while.  The laughter, the time with friends, all of it, that is, for me, the true majic of Gulf Wars. Of the SCA, really. The memory of that evening is one that I’ll treasure for years.
Day 4, Thursday, was the day of Dragons Troll Shift. All of us worked Troll from 12:00 PM through 6:00 PM. Had a ball. We then went into town for dinner at a seafood restraunt.  Got back to site about 11:00 PM, and I stayed at up at Troll because I was shift leader from Midnight to 6:00 AM. Several friends of mine, that I’d worked Troll shifts with in the past were there, and for six hours we basically had a party. I think we trolled in maybe, maybe ten people. What we did was tell story’s from different kingdoms, and got to know each other a little better.
Day 5, Friday, was a a very long day. I slept about three hours, and then hung around camp for a couple more. About noon Turlaugh headed into town to buy supplies for the Known WOrld Party. I bought a lot, a lot, of snack type foods, sodas, etc. and about 300 pounds of ice. Got back to site about 4:00 and spent a couple of hours hanging around camp. Then trucked all the supplies to the fort and started setting up for the Known World Party while the various kingdom courts were going on. I hated, HATED missing the Gulf Wars Court, but there was no other time to set up for the party. Most of the Courts were over by 9:00 and by 9:15 people started showing up at the KWP. The Ansteorrans brought roughly 60 gallons of home brew, the Meridians brought three or four kegs themselves, the Trimarians brought a ton of booze for mixed drinks. I had the help of about 9 people running the food table at various times, and it was one hell of a party. I don’t know how many people attended, but at one point the Fort was packed. The dancers and drummers had one corner, and there were people everywhere. We shut the taps off at about 2:3o AM, when most people had already left. Several people, the ones that had driven down from Canada, helped me bag up most of the trash, and I got back to camp about 3:45 AM. I was exhausted, but I was feeling good.
Day 6, Saturday, was clean up and pack up. I woke up about 8:00 AM and headed down to the Fort to finish the clean up after the party. Sir Kurn, the Trimaran lead for the party was there and it didn’t take any time at all to break down the tables and get the trash bags picked up (The Public Works and Sanitation Crews may be the most under appreciated volunteers at Gulf Wars). I got back to the Dragon Camp about 10:00 AM. We, the Dragons, always leave site on Saturday, so we spent the next several hours breaking camp. That seems to go slower than setting up camp, but we were done by 3:00 PM and headed out. We were all worn out, but it had been a good war. Stopped for a late lunch, early dinner in Hattiesburg, and then started the drive home. I’d really like to claim I stayed awake for the drive home, but I don’t lie very well. However I can’t really claim I slept on the way home. I think the best description would be a type of trance: I wasn’ t really awake, and I wasn’t really asleep. I was in between the two states. We got back to Memphis around 11:00. Got Caitriona and Luca’s gear off the trailor, and I remember clearly, sitting down at my computer desk at 11:30. My roommate Turlough was taking a shower, and I was going to shower after he got done, but I woke up at my desk about 4:30 in the morning. Screw the shower, I moved to my bed and slept until 2:00 in the afternoon Sunday. So, my shower was delayed, but by gods it felt good to be sleeping in my own bed. War was over for another year.
I came away from this Gulf Wars revitalized in a lot of ways. In talking with people I had gotten several ideas for projects I want to work on. Events I’d like to do. Things I’d like to see at events. I’d also come away with from the war wth a renewed interest in finding a way to serve my kingdom. I truly want to find a kingdom level job, or deputy position. I love my kingdom, I love the people of my kingdom, and I love this Society. Sure, there are some warts, etc, but the thing to remember is that the warts are the exceptions, not the rule in our Society. I have to remember to not focus on the problems, on the warts, but focus on the literally thousands of good things. Sometimes that is a challenge, but after such a wonderful week, it gets easier.