This was a fairly small event, with a brand new site and some conflicting events in various places. The weather was perfect, in the 70's during the day, though it got darned COLD on Saturday night. (This is September?) We Confederates outnumbered the Yankees 2-to-1, and on Saturday morning had ALL the cannon. The Yankees sent some folks over to see if they could borrow a cannon. They heard one of theirs would arrive later (apparently broken down on the way there), but needed one. So we sent them Dixie, along with its gun sergeant (they provided crew).
This was satisfying, as the Yankees had always made fun of Dixie, she was so small, despite being (so far as I've been able to determine) an almost exact copy of one of the VMI cadet guns that was pressed into service, right down to the correct wheels on the carriage. So here they were in the first battle, with us having 3 big guns, and them firing Dixie. However, they soon learned to respect her. One guy had figured it was only a little popgun, so he didn't even need earplugs. And he found out how wrong he was, as she was just as loud as their Ordnance Rifle! It was also nice to get all sorts of gratitude expressed by the Yankees for us loaning them a cannon.
I also had a good long talk with Donnie about some of the issues I'm facing lately, with friends, etc. She's had a lot on her plate, having recently dealt with a brother dying of cancer, plus raising the profoundly-disabled son of her stepchild, a crack baby who's now four years old. She gave me some very good advice on medical power of attorney on issues I wasn't even aware of, and I'm very grateful for it.
Also ran into Larry Brown, one of my dearest and oldest friends on the living history circuit. He said he didn't recognise me at first, never having seen me in my artillery personna. He was hyping an event at the same site, which unfortunately is on a weekend for which I already have multiple scheduling conflicts. And speaking of scheduling, it was great that it was a fairly disorganized and therefore laid-back event. I actually had time to make it to Church Call, for the first time in about two years. I helped create this multi-denominational service, years and years ago, and always enjoy it. This time, we got a little background of how a lady who plays a very Irish character said she wouldn't come because she was Catholic, and threatened to sing Ave Maria. So we all sung a couple lines of Ave Maria for her, and finished with "This is for Mary Catherine..." to the same tune. She scolded us in a broad Irish accent from the edge of her camp. Reminded me of my Irish maid Emily. It was great. I also liked the service, which was on the theme of keeping up one's spirits and how while there are wars and rumors of wars, and false prophets arise saying they come in My name, I tell you the time is not yet. And we must live in today because the past is gone and tomorrow not yet come. There was a good deal of humor in the service, because the pastor said that it was precisely in times like this that we needed it the most. It was precisely what I needed. We've always had a way of hitting all the right themes at Church Call, in ways that mainstream services usually don't.
Definitely a good weekend. It's always great to see all the folks in the unit, and any day with cannon firing is good. Bonnie Blue's debut as a Norfolk gun was great. She really speaks her mind! It was more than a little challenging getting her back into the driveway, last night, but Chris and I are starting to get the hang of maneuvering the cannon trailer, and it definitely requires two people. And no, there is no way you could get it up the driveway using the car. It just doesn't have the control you need, both in sharpness of turning and being able to finess it, as there is only a maxiumum of 2" of tolerance in getting it up the driveway by the house.
A good event with good folks, some good battles, a great new cannon, a good new site, and I didn't feel totally toasted when I got back and got unloaded Sunday night. It doesn't get any better than this.