Nope, not Vegas

So, earlier I asked:
What do the following items have in common?

  • Ancient Indian burial mounds
  • Neon palm trees
  • A head-banging Jesus
  • Mobile low cost feline spay and neutering

Five years ago, shortly after Chris and I first met we decided to go to the Ohio Faire. On the way there, we ran into numerous detours, during those detours we came across signs pointing to “Fort Ancient”. It seemed as if every turn we made brought us yet another sign pointing to Fort Ancient, at 2 am this became one of those comedy moments that has followed us over the years. Saturday as we left the faire to go for dinner, we crossed a road sign that read “Fort Ancient, this exit”. We had hours to kill before the diner reservations, and took this sign as a sign that we had to finally visit. It turns out Fort ancient is not, as we had originally suspected some civil war era fort, but rather an ancient Indian fort. Sadly the site was closed at that point in the day, but we did finally get pictures of the two of us at Fort Ancient. 🙂

Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient

After leaving dinner, we began to return to the hotel. Up ahead in the distance we noticed some strange neon palm trees. The palm trees belonged to a local attraction, “TRADERS WORLD”. Traders world is apparently an enormous flea market. We both, found the use of neon palm trees in the middle of Ohio as pretty funny. As we were passing Traders World, we saw a new sign ahead, a sign for the “SOLID ROCK CHURCH”.

Headbanging?
Headbanging?

I couldn’t resist reading it in a bad British rocker accent. It struck us as funny, then we noticed the statue. In front of the Solid Rock Church is a 62 ft bust of Jesus. At first glance, form the angle we were at I swear it looked like he was head-banging… Yeah, I’m sure it’s quite sacrilegious, but really it was pretty funny…

When we finally arrived at the hotel, parked in front of our hotel room was a large truck. On the rear of the truck were the words: “Mobile low cost feline spay and neutering.” Again we found ourselves laughing.  We were completely unaware there was such a specialized need.

Got a puma? no problem… poodle.. oh sorry call someone else…

Anyway, that’s the story on the silliness on Saturday night.

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Ohio Day 2 – A pirate at the gate

Sunday was day two if the Ohio Renaissance faire pirate invasion weekend. Chris and I arrived about 30 minutes before the gates opened and so spent some time out front taking pictures and interacting with some of the cast. Saturday pre-gate interaction seemed almost non existant, there were the Toga guys who seemed to just do a lot of yelling at people or talking about modern things like cars, seatbelts, and YouTube. There was a talented young man who was checking for weapons, who seemed very capable of handling the crowd in a constructive manner. Sunday the rest of the cast seemed to have woken up or something as there was a lot more pre-gate activity. It started with a man who activly engaged the audience in cheering and shouting. I had to laugh as his first attept to have the crowd shout for a young child to make her feel special resulted in a lack luster response from all but three people. Chris, David, and I, all three capable of a decent outside voice, overpowered the entire rest of the audience in our response. It shocked the performer. “you sir”, pointing at me, “Are worth half an audience alone!” I laughed…
I also met with one of their more talented noble women, who was worried for the safety of all of her jewlery what with all the pirates about. She had decided to blend in by dressing the part. Her take on this was to add a skull and crossbones bandanna under her hat. She played it up rather well, certain that pirates everywhere would now pay no attention to her in her “disguise”. I couldn’t resist giving her a mini message in a bottle, explaining she needed to know the proper method of sending forth messages to pirates which would certainly help convincing any pirate she encountered. She seemed genuinly thrilled that a patron was playing along with her bit.
After the gates opened we stepped inside and stopped to listen to the muscians. While there I became aware of a large family standing to one side ignored. I couldn’t resist… I ambled over and greeted them as if I were cast… I noticed the youngest boy was very timid and scared. I motioned for him to come closer and got down on my knees. The father figure in the group eventually was able to bring the boy closer with the help of the boy’s brother and sister. The father explained the boy was scared of pirates, a rather obvious statement. I then set upon working my magic. I started off by reassuring the lad that there was absolutly nothing to fear from any of us. I then asked each child their name starting with the young boy, who had now relaxed a bit. He muttered something unintelligible. The father encouraged him, “Go ahead Malichi”. The boy then repeated his name a bit louder but still unintelligable. Not wanting to embarrass him I used what I overheard from his father and greeted him in person. I then progressed down the line getting each childs name. At that point I rummaged in my treasure chest retrieved 2 bottles and a dragon tear. I presented the boys each with their own bottle, Malachi’s eyes lit up. I then, with a bit of dramatic flourish presented the girl with the dragon tear. She too lit up with delight. I then progressed into the story of how the magical stones work. At the end of the story I added that I suspect that the bottles, being good at holding things, might just bottle up happy memories too. The boys both looked excited. At that we all began to pose for pictures. I leaned over to Malachi and asked if he would like to hold the treasure chest. He nodded vigerously.
After taking a handful of pictures I proceeded over to the woman in the group who was wheelchair bound and who had been quietly observing the intteraction with a smile. “My dear lady I would be horribly remiss if I were to allow you to leave my company without a treasure of your own.” I reached in the chest blindy and let it work it’s magic, my fingers latched onto a brilliant blue stone which I presented to her. I asked if she heard my story earlier to which she replied “oh yes!” she then thanked me greatly. “my lady, would you care for a portrait of your own?” “oh! yes please!”
I then positioned myself behind her chair, extended both oars, placed my head near hers and began to row. The family burst into laughter and got their photo. I then excused myself, said good bye to Malachi and started to leave. The father approached me, thanked me and commented that little Malachi was afraid the pirates would eat him. I stepped back agast and then reassured him he had nothing to fear, as pirates certainly would not eat little boys. At that I left them to rejoin Chris and David who both complimented me.

More later…

Ohio, day 1

Yesterday Chris, Mike and I attended the Ohio faire. Mike had never been and was in the area so he joined us. While there we were met by Curt and Ray as well. The morning gate was a bit difficult to here but seemed to involve lord leister or the mayor leaving the money needed for her magestys progress in the care of pirates who of course we suddenly nowhere to be found, thus setting the stage for the latter game of human chess.
Over all we did not notice a lot of changes to the site physically since we were last there 3 to 5 years ago. The cast seemed much Smaller this year and in some cases much less trained. It’s a shame really as they are a very energitic bunch.
I did have one interaction that stood out, sadly for the wrong reasons. I was walking along with Chris when I heard three guys make snide remarks about my oars, they then approach to “interact”. The three were dressed in frat boy representations of Greeks. The concept made no sence to us but whatever. Then one guy made a comment about the size of my oars and joked to his companion “and he’s got a small chest to boot”, at that he smacked me in the chest had enough to make a “thud”. I was so taken back with him actually striking a patron that I had nothing to say. Apparently noticing this, his companion called me on it. “so what do you have to say about that!” I responded, “I have absolutly nothing to say and frankly I am going to walk away and ignore you complettly before I do.”
Seriously, as far as Im conscerned it is NEVER ok to hit a patron! Ever!

The party

As promised, here is the post about the party. Before I get into details, I would again like to thank for picking me up, and returning me safely to the hotel.
We arrived shortly after nine to a party that was in full swing. The party officially stated at eight, and neither of us wanted to be among the first there. As we were getting organized and ready to head in we were met by our host, the one and only Bilgemunky. We then headed in and met with the guests inside the door. A few seemed familiar, and it turned out they were. 🙂 Most were people I’ve met through the Port Washington Pirate Festival. and I then proceeded to fill our mugs. He had brought along ingredients for a special concoction that was extremely tasty. While our beverages were being concocted, I felt a gun shoved into the small of my back. I didn’t give it a second thought, or even a reaction at all frankly… (Yeah, I’m not normal) The owner said, in a very familiar voice, “See, the man has a gun to his back and doesn’t even flinch…” I responded with, “Why would I, when I knows I got nothin’ ta worry bout from the man whats holdin’ it.”

Bartholomew Grogswiller and John T. Hawser
Bartholomew Grogswiller and John T. Hawser

I then turned to greet my good friend Ian, and his wife Chris. The four of us made full introductions once again, to make sure everyone was acquainted. At this point we were hit up for pictures, a strangely frequent occurrence when Ian and I are together. Ian, Chris and I wandered the party together most of the night. We talked of a great many things, past, present, and even planned a few events to come.
Later in the night Bilgemunky carved the roasted pig, and many pirates set out to balance out the libations with a little meat.

Bilgemunky and the Pig
Bilgemunky and the Pig

After eating, many of us moved out into the back yard to continue our discussions and after a while, it was time for the group photos. I didn’t had my camera up to the collection so I don’t have a copy, but I suspect there will be some passed around at some point.
As the party thinned out a little, with a little prodding from yours truly, started a shanty sing in the back yard. (He brought songbooks, so it wasn’t like he wasn’t planning it all along 😉 ) He started off the night with “Rolling Down the River“, funny thing about that is that song had been stuck in my head since Thursday afternoon, so I actually had a pretty good idea of the chorus and all. He continued with a few other songs, with the other party goers joining in when they could. Ian and Chris were standing next to me and also joined in. After the 4th or fifth song I looked to and said, “What’s next?” He looked back and said, “you could do Ambletown”. “Now?” “Yeah” “Ok…” and with that I launched into Ambletown. I finished to applause, which still dumbfounds me every time I think about it… From there I let the pro handle a few more, then I ended up doing “Long time ago”. Not that this will come as any surprise to any of you that know me, but standing there, singing along, and even leading on a couple songs was the highlight of my night. I really just have a lot of fun with it, and even if I’m not all that great it doesn’t matter as long as it was fun. I think we finished up the singing with Drunken Sailor, which by this point in the night most guests left were. After that we milled about again talking and carrying on until about 2 am, when there was only a few of us left and we decided to call it a night. After thanking our gracious hosts, and I got back into his car, and he dropped me back off at the hotel.
All in all a fantastic night, and I look forward to next years party 🙂

Hawser and the Hilton

Last night I attended a party for Talk Like a Pirate Day, in Milwaukee. I’ll post more about the actual party in a future post. Some of the most memorable moments of the evening happened while I was at the Hotel waiting to be picked up to go to the party, and after I was dropped off after the party. I would like to offer a disclaimer on the post-party behavior, I had been drinking some and was certainly not 100% child friendly, not that the situation really warranted it at ~2:15 a.m.
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