Sunday, July 5, 2009

Civil War soldiers don't get manicures*

*Unless, maybe your name is Sam Davis.

Happy 5th of July. It's Dolly the Sheep's birthday (if cloned animals have birthdays, that is). I had today off, but I worked yesterday. It was a fantastically jamb-packed day, too.

Initially, I did not look forward to dressing like a Civil War solider. I don't like wearing that uniform (as it is dirty), and the shoes don't fit (and are ugly), and I don't like not wearing make up (and I do want to try to look as authentic as possible). But, as infantry training remains a part of my job as a seasonal, I trudged to work. I am not sure how I escaped infantry training for over a year, but unfortunately I had. Unfortunately, what? Didn't she just stop complaining about how she doesn't like it? I had a lot of fun training on the muskets. The day was not without its moments, though.

First, my "sergeant" (Jim) reprimanded me for not having my work (ranger) keys on my person (I informed him that I had left them in my other pair of trousers). Then I was issued my gear: a belt, a cartridge box, a cap box, and a rusted canteen). Jim instructed us on how to wear our gear and told us to fill our canteens so we can line up as attention. I avoided drinking from my canteen as much as possible. A) I didn't know who drank out of it last and B) I didn't want to get tetanus. We lined up and things started rolling pretty smoothly... at least for a little while.

I caught on pretty quickly with the marching, although I work with a number of smart alecks and they kept making me laugh. I was rolling pretty well until I Jim handed out the cartridges. As a demonstration, he put one in his mouth, like he was about to tear it for a demonstration, then put it back into my cartridge box. Elena had to point out that I didn't know which cartridge had the germs on it. Which didn't really matter, after every thing was said and done, as every cartridge I used I'd have to tear open with my teeth. Ew. To avoid mouth contact with germs, I attempted to tear the cartridge with my teeth and only my teeth. I tried bending over with my mouth open to avoid having to push any paper/gun powder residue out with my tongue. Jim reprimanded me for that, as by doing so I would lean over the muzzle of my barrel. So, I had to spit out the (sometimes mouths-full of) gun powder. I assure you that gun powder tastes every bit as disgusting as you can imagine.

The drilling part also proved fun, although I chipped three of my nails. I attempted to paint an extra layer of fingernail polish on, too, to prevent chipping. Alas. And while Civil War soldiers didn't have have manicured nails, I am sure they didn't have to deal with the "chest space" issue when trying to shoot. Let's just say being well-endowed makes for a difficult time lifting, holding, aiming, and shooting a musket. I am also pretty sure that I still have gun powder residue in the crevices of my fingernails, even though I have already taken two showers since yesterday morning. I guess that is part of this whole being a Civil War soldier thing.

I am not going to lie. After everything was said and done, I had a blast. I enjoy infantry far more than artillery. I'd almost argue that it made dressing like a soldier worth it (almost... almost). I think that it comes from the challenge of the whole thing. I enjoy being challenged. Listening to the commands and following them accurately was not always easy. I was a little sad when we had to stop infantry training so the rest of the crew could learn artillery. I changed into my ranger uniform, scarfed down some semblance of lunch, then headed out front to distribute visitor survey cards. I'll write more about those later this month.

After my busy, busy day at the park, I ran home to shower and head to the D-Friz's place in Woodbury to celebrate the Fourth with some bar-b-q and fireworks. I had a most enjoyable time. The food was good, the company was fantastic, and the location was wonderful. They live on top of a hill, so we could see other folks' fireworks from that location. The house also sits behind a forest that sits behind a ravine. The noise of the fireworks echoed off of the ravine emphasizing the boom. Additionally, while it did start to rain last night and we had one instance when the rain started falling so hard that we had no choice but to run inside, the accompanying electric storms created some very cool effects. The whole sky filled with clouds that would light up, like God was showing us his own fireworks demonstration. The evening turned out quite nicely and I could not have asked for a better time. Actually, the whole day turned out quite nicely and I could not have asked for more.

No comments: