Yesterday I pinned up my hair, soaked myself in DEET, and pulled up my Union trousers. Civil War weapons called my name. And by "Civil War weapons," I mean Jim Lewis. And by "called my name," I mean told me to dress out so I could shoot. We had a living history program about the Pioneer Brigade and we would demonstrate both infantry and artillery and do a combined one at the end of the day.
I'm not going to lie. Initially, I did not want to be there. It was humid. I dislike not wearing makeup. I also dislike wearing boy's clothes. Particularly the ones made up entirely of wool. And because of my anatomy, and attempt to use the restroom takes me (at the very, very least) 5 minutes. Frances Clalin never warned us about any feminine issues while dressed like a boy. The idea of firing the musket excited me a little, but I still pouted a bit in the morning. The first program solved that immediately.
We hosted the program in the area next to the Pioneer Brigade Earthworks. The wooded area helped set a different tone than that out on the field. The resonation from the "booms" also echoed much, much louder.
We drilled some skirmishing in the morning before the program started. Skirmishing means moving around and kneeling. Then moving again, and keeling some more. In fact, at one point, we were lying down in the foliage for some photos. I just hoped with all of my might that the DEET I had applied actually worked. When we marched out to our line to kneel before the first program, I set down my one knee and waited. And waited. And waited. The program didn't start for another 10 minutes. Ow. In the time I used trying to not think about the fact that I couldn't feel my left leg, I started looking around at the ground. There were lots of dead leaves, some patches of dirt, and some viney green things. Ho hum... WHAT! Leaves of One. Two. Three. Yep. Poison Ivy. I was kneeling in a whole patch of it. I asked Jim to confirm my suspicions and he just said, "Don't eat it." Aw, man! It was all over my rifle and my wool pants. And I couldn't just leave.
The program started and I shot my musket. I am not sure why I like to shot. I think it's the challenge of loading and shooting well (and quickly). I definitely improved during our second program. We also fired the cannon. The blast from the cannon forced the forest floor to look like it exploded, too. The day turned out well.
I easily have washed my hands 25 times now but residue from gun powder and oil still show. I haven't found any ticks, yet, and I think I am free from chiggers, but I don't know about that poison ivy. Time will tell.