Reflections on Five Years.

    Five years ago this weekend (April 27, 2002) to be exact, my life changed in a rather amazing way. Yep, that was the weekend I attended my first SCA event in the Barony of Grey Niche. My first SCA event ever, in fact. There are very few times in my life that I can remember with such precision the day my life changed. Of those few instances I can’t think of any other ones that were such pleasant changes.
I remember that day perfectly. A warm spring day in Memphis. Sunny in the morning but by late afternoon it had become overcast, and it rained for a few minutes. I’ve since come to understand that it is fairly common to have rain at Grey Niche events. I attended the event with someone who is quite frankly not worth thinking about now, and we didn’t know anyone in the group. However, everyone we met was gracious and welcoming. We arrived on site around 10:00 AM and were trolled in by Caitriona, Turlaugh, and Lucca. I didn’t know their names at the time, and had absolutely no idea how important those three people would become to me in the next five years.
That morning she attended a class on coif making taught by Doc and Vicky, and while that was going on I watched some of the fighting. Later that afternoon I watched a very pretty lady fly a rather unique kite, and quite literally before I really knew how much time had passed it was time for court. To this day I can remember the looks of joy on the faces of various people as they received their awards. I still love court, I love seeing that joy. It was at court that we met the first two people who’s names I knew in the SCA, Lady Blue and Brendan (of course I still think of him as Neal cause that’s how he introduced himself first.) They sat in front of us in court and Blue heard me ask about one of the banners. She turned around and explained the heraldry. After court they invited us to join them at feast, and later took us to a party at the Shadow Legion camp.
As we drove away from the site that night, I knew deep in my soul that whatever happened between SWMNBN (She Who Must Not Be Named. Yeah, I know it’s juvenile, but believe me, it’s necessary), I was going to be part of this organization forever. Without really knowing it, or being able to put into words at the time, I had found a place, an organization, that felt like home. I had found something I truly wanted to be a part of. I’d not yet heard the phrase, but I had found the Dream. The following Tuesday we went to the first business meeting. Even that was not enough to shake my desire to be part of this group. Seven months later She was gone, and that was probably the second best thing that happened to me that year. She was gone, but I stayed with the Society.
So, what has changed in the last five years? Well, for one thing I’m not nearly as ignorant about the Society, or the way it works as I was then. I’ve learned a lot, and most of it has been a pleasant learning experience. I’ve also discovered that I have no great desire to engage in any time of combat other than verbal combat (and I’m always ready to do that, just for the fun and intellectual stimulation of a good debate). I’ve also discovered that I’ve no talent or drive to develop any talent in the A&S fields. I admire the work the artisans do, and I admire the skill and dedication of the fighters, I just have no desire to join in. I do, however, like to make it possible for the fighters or artisans to have events where they can participate in whatever activities they want to participate in.
I have discovered I’m a service junkie. I LIKE to go to events and work. Whether it’s one of my own groups events, or another group’s event. I like feeling that I’m part of something larger than myself. I particularly like working troll, for that job allows you to meet everyone. But my real joy, the thing I like more than anything else is to autocrat events. I love planning them; going from an idea to a plan, to the schedule, and finally to the weekend of the event and seeing it all come together. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; there’s no feeling in the world that can match the feeling an autocrat gets when someone comes up to them as they are leaving site on Sunday and thanks them for a good time.
I’ve discovered that like any group , or organization, there are a fair number of people in the SCA that are gossip mongers, or drama seekers, or just plain non-pleasant folks in the SCA. However, if dealing with the unpleasant folks is the price I have to pay to spend time with the multitudes of really good SCA folk, then it is a price I’m more than willing to pay. I’ll pay it gladly.
What else has changed? Well, my social schedule is much more crowded now than it was five years ago. At the time most of my friends, all of my family, lived out of town. I chose many years ago to not make a habit of associating socially with people that I work with, so most of the time I’d only get to see my friends every few months when I’d take a road trip, or they would come into town. Now? Now I see good friends a minimum of three times a week. That may be the most important change.

Ok, it’s late, and I’m tired, so I’m going to end this here.


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