A young fan – Part 2

Sunday afternoon about thirty minutes before our final show, I was getting a drink of water when a little boy in full pirate regalia came running up to me. He began to chatter away, and I turned and knelt to listen.
“I have a treasure chest just like you do!”
Now at this point, I didn’t recognize this child, but since my treasure chest is almost always in my haversack and hidden this had to be a kid I had interacted with before. He proceeded to pull out a small hand carved wooden box from the bag he was carrying over his left shoulder.
“See!!!”, He proclaimed triumphantly!
“Oh yes that is indeed a fine treasure chest !”, I responded. To my side now appeared Clare De Luna, also happily enjoying the display of treasure. I looked into the treasure box, and noticed a mini message in the bottle, and a very familiar plastic gold coin alongside another gold coin, a few fairy godmother stones and some small copper colored coin shapes.
I instantly recognized the treasures as those belonging to my little friend from the day before.
He happily exhibited his treasures one by one to both of us, as we looked on with excitement. When he got to the small copper colored coins he explained that his dad made them for him. I felt a presence behind me and glanced back to see Dad now watching this display. The boy’s fingers fondled a small grey brown slightly polished stone. He looked up to his dad for a moment as if to get approval, or perhaps to draw strength. Dad, sensing the trepidation said, “we have been looking all over for you all afternoon”
“You have? Well, I’ve been around , we must have just been missing each other.”
The ice sufficiently broken, and courage mustered, the boy chimed in, “I want to give you something”
“Oh little one, you don’t have to give me your treasure.”
At this he looked slightly unsure and glanced to dad for advice. Dad nodded.
The boy gently removed the stone from his treasure chest and handed it to me. I took the gift with great flourish and treated it as I do all gifts from the little friends, like it was made of the most precious materil on the planet.
His father then explained that the boy had searched all through the house the previous day after they got home, and then continued all morning trying to find a suitable gift for the pirates he met. He finally decided to pick out two favorite rocks from his rock collection and bring them to us.
I nearly melted right there.
After this, the boy looked at me and said, “but where’s your brother bob?”
I explained, “Well, bob should be back very soon as we are going to do our show again in just about 5 minutes time, in fact I need to go the children’s area now so we can get started. You are more than welcome to join us and watch it again if you would like!”
“What do you say buddy, should we go see it?”, asked dad
“YEAH!!” came the exuberant reply as the boy began to hastily re-pack his bag.
Once the bag was packed, and secured, we made our way back to the children’s kingdom area. As we walked, the father and I spoke of a few things, including the family’s newfound desire to attend Bristol, and to do so in costume.
Once we arrived in the Children’s Kingdom father and son found a nice spot on the ground, dad sitting Indian style, with son in his lap and began to wait for the show to begin. I went behind the curtain, and told Andy of the boy, and a quick recap of the gifting. We then walked out front to let the boy give “Bob” his gift as well.
After the show was over and all the other kids left, our little friend came back up to me, and started once again talking. He again told me about his party he had, and how his dad had taken them out on a REAL boat!
Dad stood behind him shaking his head… “He is normally so shy, and quiet, this is just incredible.” I looked up at him, smiled and gave the “this is magic, just accept it” look. The dad understood, without a word.
Then the boy looked me straight in the eye, and mustered every ounce of courage he had and said, “will you come to my birthday party next weekend?”
Once again this little boy nearly turned me into a blubbering idiot. It was the most heartfelt request I have heard in a while.
“I’m so sorry little one, I would love to come, but sadly I cannot. You see my brother and I…”
“You’re going out on your ship aren’t you!!!” he interjected excitedly.
“We are indeed me boy, but don’t you worry, you are going to get to see us again at Bristol.”
When he heard that they would be going to Bristol, and would see us again in a few weeks, he got excited.
“Will it be a very long car ride?” he asked worried.
Dad, still standing behind him shook his head no.
Using the information from his father, I responded, “no, me boy it will not. Don’t you worry, we’ll see each other again!”
Satisfied, and excited he said good bye, and returned to his father, they turned and walked off to enjoy the rest of their day. As they passed through the Children’s Kingdom gates the father turned back for a moment, smiling ear to ear, and said “Thank you, you guys are wonderful!”

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A young fan – Part 1

Saturday at the Janesville Renaissance faire Andy (Bob) and I had a little boy approach us after sitting through the show with his mother. He was around 4 years old, and had watched the show with the intensity of a cat who has a mouse cornered and knows he will shortly enjoy a juicy delicious treat.
“Um… can I have the recipe for your stew! I’m having a pirate party tomorrow and I want to make your stew for it!”
I avoided laughing at his request and instead shot the mother a look of joy as she stood back softly giggling at the innate humor of the request. Not missing a moment to play, I knelt down to him and told him that I would look and see if had it written down.
I pulled out my treasure chest from my haversack, and started rummaging through the contents with a little flourish. After a moment, I pulled out a miniature message in a bottle, and explained that while i did not have the pirate stew recipe, I did have a recipe for grog that he could have.
He flashed a huge smile and took his new found treasure from me and then quickly placed it in his jeans pocket to keep it safe. As he reached into his pocket his hand brushed on a small glass bauble he had received from one of the fairy godmothers. Realizing that he too had important treasure, he clasped his fingers around the trinket and withdrew it from his pocket. His eyes glowed with new found excitement.
Holding the bauble protectively in his hand he gingerly presented it to me to examine. As I examined the treasure he proceeded to explain how special it was because it was given to him by the fairy god mothers. No sooner did that thought leave his mouth than a realization that he had other treasure a pirate might like to see entered his mind.
His mother chuckled behind him, “He’s normally so shy!”
He then proceeded to retrieve from his other pocket, some plastic gold coins he had gotten and showed them to me as well. I marveled at the sight of such precious treasure and then told him he should keep them safe. I then re-opened my treasure chest and found a different style of plastic gold coin and gave it to him to add to his collection. He gasped with excitement, “Wow you have real ones!” Apparently a plastic gold coin given by a pirate is far more real than a plastic gold coin given by someone else.
He then thanked me and put away his treasure and returned to his mom to continue their day at the faire.
That alone would have been an incredible interaction itself. It did truly amuse me, and make me very happy of what we have accomplished. However, this is only the first of the story. Read on…

This cast is amazing

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certain cats of previous years have all be amazing as well, but I’ve never been as involved with them as I am this year. Sunday, Andy, Sarah, and I began the daily stage show in Kids Kingdom by gathering a small audience from the overall light faire attendance. We had managed to draw in enough people that it would work. The show began, the audience was laughing and paying attention with the occasional glances up at the sky which was growing ever darker. About half way through the show the wind picked up, and a few rain drops began to fall. As they did audience members began to get up and leave, attempting to seek shelter. At this I noticed two of the FABULOUS Kids Kingdom cast who had been standing at the rear watching the show race back stage, I assumed they were battening down the hatches of things back stage. moments later they re-emerged carrying an enormous deck umbrella and proceeded to set it up of the remaining folks in our audience. Arabella Byrd (also a Sarah) then proceeded to stand there and hold the umbrella over our audience for the remainder of the show. I cannot begin to describe how awesome that was.
I will find some way to repay that kindness.
This cast rocks!

At the ends of our rope!

Yesterday just after the final battle between Robin Hood, and the Evil Sheriff I returned to the inner circle of faire to find a group of people staring up at the sky and worrying. The sky looked ominous, you could see the line from the front passing directly over the circle, and the sky to the west looked dark with disturbing cloud formations. I asked a few people if they had heard if there were any special orders, are we supposed to be seeking shelter? etc? No one had heard anything so, After a little discussion I decided to make the best of it. I knew the patrons would all be fleeing for their lives and the only thing to do would be to get out there in the streets and entertain them while we had them, and hope that they might decided that if the cast was still playing around, that it couldn’t be to bad and they might just stick around.
I’m not sure what point Andy arrived during the deliberations but right after I had resolved to go out and make the best of it, we glanced at each other, a flicker of insanity sparked in our eyes, and he suggested, “Hey do we have a rope!?” “There’s all sorts in the pole barn” I replied. “Wanna go row?” As if I would say no?!?!? “Hell yes!”
Andy disappeared into the barn, and returned with a long rope, and proceeded to tie it around my waste, he then did the same to himself, I handed him a paddle and we headed out to the streets. When we stepped through the gates there were patrons fleeing everywhere, and we jumped into the frey rowing, improving our arses off. “No one worry, we’re safe, we lashed ourselves to the nearest large object we could find! Ourselves!!!” Worried looks turned to smiles and laughter. Everywhere we went people rushing to escape the perceived doom began to laugh and smile, point, or offer comments. In top form and not missing an opportunity for comedy, Andy Looped us around a tree so that it looked like the two of us had been tied to it. We leaned out from the tree, and began to row, “No one panic! We are rowing the festival to safety”, “STROKE! STROKE! STROKE! STROKE! …. if we keep this up we are going to have a STROKE!! STROKE STROKE!” We looked for groups of patrons huddled in shops and did our best to entertain. “Don’t worry! In case of an emergency these two idiots can be used as a safety flotation device!” We lashed ourselves to trees in front of shops where patrons were huddling to stay dry, as we did, something amazing happened. Patrons became excited about the nonsense, and wanted to be involved. They would run out into the rain they were so desperately trying to avoid just to get pictures with us. Countless “Captain Morgan” poses were struck by patron after patron posing with us. Some played along assuming the role of a captain, barking out orders. Others just quickly got their picture and ran for cover again.
We wound our way haphazardly towards the gate following the patrons, offering boat rides, and other advice, all the while tied to the end of the rope. “ROW ROW ROW YER BOAT! GENTLY THROUGH THE STREAM!!!” We invented, and promptly forgot new versions of that song all the way to the gate. As we neared the gate we passed the Town Square Public house where the Bristol buskin frolic and others had gathered upon its balcony to sing. “…and the ocean waves do roll…” We hammed it up on the street, doing an impromptu dance worthy of being used as an example illustration of how “white guys can’t dance” and then moved on to leave the BBF and company to entertain folks there, not wanting to eat up focus.
We moved ever closer to the gate, next encountering the Earl of Bedlam, whom we promptly wrapped up in the rope between us, and quickly ran through all the previous bits about lashing things to ourselves for safety. Again not wanting to steel audience or focus from another performer we moved on leaving the Earl to his patrons. We next encountered a couple members of fight cast, one of which decided to dive over our rope and do a roll into the street. We let him, and then moved on to the gate as the storm continued to dump buckets of rain upon us. Once we arrived at the gate we found some patrons, huddled in the remembrance shop, as well as a steady stream exiting the faire. we once again lashed ourselves to a tree, this time by the gate, and started rowing. More random verses of ROW ROW ROW yer boat were bellowed, more reassurances that we were fine , more insistence that we were rowing the festival to safety. As the patrons passed they smiled, they laughed, they occasionally joined in. The last thing they saw as they exited the gate on their rainy day was the two of us making the best of a bad situation. “Look I’m doggie paddling”, I then stuck the paddle in my mouth, leaned out from the tree using the rope as support, put my hands up and panted around the paddle. At times during our fun I even caught the security people laughing at us.
As the rain let up we claimed credit for saving the festival from the storm. As we began working our way back to the pole barn we encountered two patrons, a man and a woman, one insisted on crossing over the rope between Andy an I, We refused, and made him go under, we then insisted that the woman climb over, and we lowered the rope. They chuckled, and as we walked away, Andy turned and shouted “Congratulations! You are now married!”. I nearly lost it, the patrons doubled over laughing, and high five-ed each other and then held hands happily laughing their way to the gate. Andy fell overboard off the imaginary ship, and had to be hauled back up by his rope, as he re-boarded his thankful manly hit to my shoulder caused me to fall overboard, requiring me to be hauled aboard. It was that moment that eventually triggered my favorite bit. I took the 2nd paddle back from Andy and whispered “Water ski!!!”, not missing a beat, he began water skiing off me as I rowed like a man possessed. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Andy was in rare form, he was performing jumps, daring poses worthy of Tommy Bartlet, and all sorts of crazed daring-do. As I rowed I began to shout “We’ve invented a new sport, we are calling it Water Skiing! It’s sure rough on the guy rowing though!” people responded with laughter. Cameras flashed, people pointed. We continued this all the way back to the barn, occasionally switching places.
When we finally returned to the barn we collapsed in a fit of laughter.

Best and Worst – Week 5

Worst

  • Forgetting my mothers Birthday was Friday
  • Saturday morning rain making for soggy wet clothes all day
  • Nearly letting the heat get to me Saturday
  • Wet clothes causing chafing is all sorts of abnormal places

Best

  • Sundays rain inspiring Andy Maar and I into some great fun bits all involving being tied to opposite end of a big rope
    • “don’t panic we’ve lashed ourselves to the nearest large object we can find for safety, each other!”
    • lashing the festival to ourselves to keep it safe
    • tying ourselves to various trees and rowing the festival to safety
    • offering ourselves as safety flotation devices in case of emergency (a nod to Bounding Main)
    • boat rides
    • marrying two patrons in a bizarre rope crossing ceremony
    • inventing a new hobby of water skiing, but boy is it hard on the rower…
    • seeing the whole musicians revel Saturday
    • Sundays sing-a-long at the old wash well
  • the wonderful cast in KK grabbing a giant Umbrella and holding it over the audience for andy and I’s show
  • being surprised by a friends visit Saturday
  • awesome pumpkin Sunday!
  • breaking a group of non responsive patrons Sunday morning
  • the return of the newest old holiday “paddle day”
  • Jyncks getting beat up by the sheriff but fighting back this time. Then having the kids in the area help crank jyncks back up using his hands as jacks
  • cinnamon scones and broccoli cheese soup
  • once again seeing how amazingly supportive this cast is of each other

Weirdest

  • Once again just randomly blurting out a patrons name without ever having met them before

Weekend 4 – Best and Worsts!

This, turned out to be an incredibly fun weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Despite my back still acting up, I had a great time!

Worst

  • backing into a friend’s neighbor’s truck after dropping her off Sunday and damaging both vehicles
  • still having some back pain Both days
  • missing out on duck brownies 😦

BEST

  • Best audience of the season!!!
  • Sing-a-long at the old wash well with friends on both Saturday and Sunday
  • Having a nearly full house for Andy and I’s show in KK
  • Hugs, gifts and excited questions from fans of Cutlass Cooking
  • Finally catching a New Minstrel Reveu show this weekend
  • Fantastic compliment from Joe Fernandez
  • Huge turnout for pub crawl Saturday, and actually getting patrons to sing along on songs and even contribute verses
  • Finally getting street time together with Andy
  • Watching Ann Q’s bit stealing soup from the duck get such great reactions from cast and patrons alike!
  • Little girl so excited about learning how to row that she accidentally clocked me in the face with my paddle when she turned to show her mom
  • Hearing how excited other cast were over their weekend too!

Sweet child

On Sunday all of Bristol mourned the loss of our friends who had passed from this world during the past year. This is accomplished by a solem, period accurate march by our military. I caught up with the procession at it’s end where I was able to hear the final words of tribute.
After the conclusion to the procession there were many standing about trying to hold on to or possibly regain their composure. I offered comfort and support where I could.
As most began to trickle away I became aware of a young girl standing in our presence. I turned to her and smiled and waved, a pleasant and warm smile greeted me back with a timid wave tossed in for good measure. I approached and knelt down so that we might speak.
I began the conversation asking her how her day was going. She replied with confidence and the verbal eloquence that could have rivaled the queen herself. As our conversation continued she proceeded to describe for me, in vivid detail, her experiance earlier at the maypole. As she spoke the sorrow I had felt from the parade lifted and I could not help but be infected by her enthusiasm. Our conversation ended and she politely excused herself so that she could continue her days adventure.
I stood up and again waved as she left the area. Just then our mistress of misrule passed by still greiving for a dear friend. I called out to her but she did not hear me as she rushed to the maypole to meet up with her cast. I ran after her finally catching her attention in the shadow of the town square public house.
I could see the grief weighing upon her heavily, and informed her that I had a story for her that might just help. I then proceeded to tell her of the child I had spoken to only minutes before. As I did a smile washed over her face. “thank you, that was exactly what I needed.”

We later saw each other again and to my surprise the young angel was just a few feet away entranced by the marionette and smiling away, her day still bright and cheerful. These are the truly precious moments that make all we put ourselves through worth every drop of sweat.