Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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The Old Artillery Person

It was an interesting weekend. My Civil War artillery unit truly surprised me in a couple ways. One is, I was made a double gun-sergeant, not just for my own cannon, but for the one that belongs to the unit, as well. And then came the Order of Saint Barbara. I was actually surprised, when they made me the latest inductee to St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillery. They talked like it was a lifetime achievement award, and said that they had wanted to do it before, but I'd gotten other awards at other times, so they were saving it. I was touched to the core by it all. It always surprises me, as I'm the female in what was once a man's game, and it touches me to know they notice and care. Because I fought every inch of the way, to be the best, to blaze ground. My friend Chuck Fulks had a dream of making the club a place that was friendly to women and families, and I was his agent. Well, one of two, as my late friend Lia was the other one. She made the place accepting of conventional women, and I of the unconventional.

Sunday morning, I spoke at the memorial service for my two friends who meant a lot in my Civil War reenacting, over the years. One was the selfsame Chuck Fulks, the other Ed Pico. It was hard, very hard, to get up and talk without my voice breaking, but I got through, and folks said I summed up the essence of both of these men very well, later. My friend Bob only made it through two sentences before he broke down and couldn't go on. I saw him and my friend Gene standing forlornly together, a little later in the ceremony, and came up between them and hugged them. And both hugged me desperately back. I was the intermediary: they couldn't do that as two men supporting each other, but I was a friend of both, and our late friend Ed. I was surprised that I was one of the few people speaking. Maybe a lot of folks just couldn't. It was nice, with the cannon salute, and the draped caisson and the horse with the empty saddle. Fit send off for two men who had both been artillery, and my friends.

But it was odd, because the memories were all mixed with that also of Lia. The black armband I wore was still the same one I wore for her, earlier this year. I'm feeling a little too close to being Last Man Standing.

But I was glad to be able to wear the St. Barbara medal at the ceremony, as I am sure both Chuck and Ed would have appreciated it.

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