Many of you know that I spent four delightful years at Connecticut College, a stone-built NESCAC school that is almost (but not quite) an ivy league school. I got a double major (cum laude, with honors and distinction in my major fields). I started off thinking I’d be a music history major having particularly loved that aspect of my high school symphonic experience. Then I had to take music theory at 8:30 in the morning, and I quickly became an English major along with everyone else at the elite institution who liked to read and didn’t know what they wanted to do.
My senior year, I proposed an honor’s thesis that my English advisor had trouble seeing as an English Honor’s Thesis. (It was about “The Power of Music in Medieval Literature” which I’m astonished someone took the time to steal before I took my website down. The real thesis was “Brenda reads fun books about medieval music yay!”) So I fixed the problem by going through my list of classes and realizing with a few minor additions to my class load I could double major in Medieval Studies and write the thesis I wanted to write.
In retrospect, I’m amazed how sanguine my parents were about my employability. I’ve had to answer the question of how a degree in medieval studies led to a successful career in software in Every. Single. Interview I’ve ever had. (The answer is there’s a direct relationship between my degree and my employment, thankyouverymuch. You’d be amazed how often Chaucer comes in handy!)
Anyway, I hated it when people, upon hearing my degree, would say “So you must go to a lot of Renaissance fairs, eh?” Pfft. Those a-historical mishmash of era and location! You say Renaissance, you mean medieval and you dress up sexy fairie! I was, sad to report, a bit of a self-righteous git as a young person. This is surprising, I realize, but true.
Well, last year we went to King Richard’s Faire in Carver. It was a mismash of Halloween costumes, period-perfect Elizabethan recreations, corsets, fairies and Games of Throne characters. The minstrel’s music bled into the colonial era. There were Vikings with every hand-hewn rivet perfect and a wide variety of add-on ears for the perfect elvish look.
And we had an absolute blast.
We went back again this year, near my birthday so I could claim extra loot. (I didn’t actually get extra loot but I swear this is the year I get a dress made from my tartan.) We watched the magician and the acrobat and the silk dancers. We ate faux medieval food. We sang songs and watched the joust. (The horsemanship is really quite exciting! Also, it’s really hard to fall from a moving horse in armor and not hurt yourself. They make me nervous every time!) We had a blast. (And it turns out Grey knows the words to far more of our favorite songs than I realized.)
And then there is right now. I’m perched outside Thane’s door, watching the last sliver of the moon through the already bare tree branches as it is eaten by the dragon. I am here so that Thane is not too fearful to sleep, but from the back yard come lifting voices of my husband, brother and son. They are singing and reciting. So far tonight we have had Shel Silverstein and Virgil, The Moon Song and songs of the moon. It was one of those precious moments in parenting when you realize that some small part of your loves has been passed on to your children, when Grey bounded up the stairs to go fetch the small poetry book that had been his grandmother’s and his father’s – to read aloud to us all. “Zoon zoon, cuddle and croon…”
My days are sometimes weary, filled with the busyness of life. There is much of laundry and groceries and soccer and home improvements and church committees. But yet, there are rare moments when voices I love are lifted in song in the fading light of an eclipsing moon. (My husband is reciting Byron now.) That those moments exist is a grace and blessing beyond counting.
Did you see the eclipse? How did you spend your time, while the dragon ate the moon?
One thought on “A Connecticut Yankee in King Richard’s Faire”
I LOVE medieval festivals, highlander games, etc. but my very first renaissance fair disillusioned me just a bit when I saw a tiny fairy sitting on a rock taking a break from whatever fairies do, SMOKING A CIGARETTE!
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