Guns, Knives, and Radishes

Today I woke up, put on my F(rench) + I(ndian wars) garb, and jumped in the car with the rest of my family, headed for the Ancient Ones Gun Show in Augusta.

When we arrived I threw on my cloak, as it was bitterly cold. The Konczals, my Living History people, were supposed to be there, but they didn’t arrive until almost two hours later. I waited for a while, spinning my spindle idly, then gave up and went in to look at the sutlers’ goods.

The room was gym-sized, and completely full of tables covered with goods representing the 1600s through the early twentieth century. The majority of items were from the F and I period. I had saved up a goodly sum of money, hoping to buy a good knife- something I could take to a rendezvous, that was period correct…but something utilitarian that I could use around the house, and strong enough for use when I took plant specimins and things while botanizing. Mom and I wandered around for a while (Dad and Rad were, of course, looking at the guns), surveying various sutlers’ wares…everyone was extremely friendly and casual. You were there to learn, not just buy. Eventually I found a table with knives I liked…and Mom struck up conversation with the sutler while I looked. As it turned out, he was born and bred in Andover- the town my mom grew up in. I settled on a small handcrafted knife. The handle is made of curly maple, which is beautiful and correct for this area, and the blade is well sharpened. It came with a leather sheath which hangs by a cord around the owner’s neck, which is exactly what I was looking for. The leather is badly tanned- there are patches of scanty hair and it is discolored- but if anything, that gives it more personality. I could easily make another, anyway.
The man gave me a five dollar discount because my mom was from Andover, which brought the price down to a measly thirty five dollars! I was very happy about that. Everything, absolutely everything, was reasonably priced there. You could go in with five dollars and come out with some real treasures. Since I had so much money left over, I was able to purchase a pair of PC sewing scissors, a wooden pen and some ink, a horn comb, a whetstone and accompanying leather pouch, and another small leather bag. And despite that, I still have fifty five dollars remaining!

The four of us ended up converging at the Third Maine Civil War group’s table. I got information on joining as a civilian! We’d like to attend one of their meetings just as guests, so I can learn more.
Then, we discovered the most interesting fellow. A man was sitting at the table with a large binder full of Civil War music, a guitar, and a banjo! He sang for us, two beautiful Civ War ballads. I was enthralled! And then he said mournfully, “I can’t sightread, so I don’t know what half of these songs in my binder sound like.” We practically yelled, “We can sightread!” And get this- we made a deal with him. He will email us some of his sheet music, and we will learn it and record ourselves singing it. We’ll send the mp3s to him, so he can learn them!!!! And he has a demo CD- he mentioned in passing that perhaps we could do a CD together sometime! I don’t know how likely that is, but Mom says the learning of the music can be my Civil War project for school. I am really, really excited. The songs from that period are so wonderful.

Then we came home. But oh! I forgot something!
Have any of you read Anne of Green Gables? Do you remember her description of a kindred spirit? Well, I think I’ve discovered one. Mrs. Konczal is one, I already knew that, but her father, Mr. Lun, was at the gun show before she and her kids showed up. He was dressed in his handmade mountain man gear, it was beautiful. (Yes, something made of smelly animal skin, roughly stitched by hand can be beautiful. If you saw it, you’d understand.) I’d met him once before, and had liked him immediately. This time we only talked for a few short intervals, wondering where Mrs. K was and various things…but at the end when everyone was there, one of the mothers in the group was getting photos of us all by the Abenaki encampment. I was standing talking with Mr. Lun. He’s one of those older fellows…well, the sort that you automatically wish was your grandfather. He wears little round glasses, and always has a twinkle in his eye. And he looked at me and we grinned at each other, and the lady with the camera had us pose. And we put our arms around each other like we were old friends! Grace stuck her head in the picture, so we had to do it twice more. We just laughed and grinned. But in that short encounter, I decided firmly that Mr. Lun is a kindred spirit. You don’t have to talk to those sorts of people to know that they’re a kindred spirit, you just meet them and you know.

It was a wonderful day. I have a beautiful knife, a new friend, and a new resolve. And now I am munching upon radishes and cucumbers. There are few better ways to end a happy day than with fresh vegetables.

3 Comments

  1. Krissy Said,

    February 25, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

    Wow! That’s really exciting.
    Good point. I should remember that and quote you on it…”there are few better ways to end a happy day than with fresh vegetables.” =)
    Haha today I started building a snow house. I’ve been in a rather odd mood ever since, kinda…bouncy. *grin*

  2. Aunt Joni Said,

    February 25, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

    Hannah that knife will be the envy of some teenage boys at our church! PLease share Civil War Songs! :-) I mean sing them for us. and oh yes, Matt plays mandolin. Thou art a true blue Pearson – “there are few better ways to end a happy day than with fresh vegetables.” :-D I, being a Littlefield by birth, would say that about chocolate cake. Thank you of sharing your wonderful day!

  3. Mike Price Said,

    February 27, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

    Come on over and join our little online tribe…lots of Abenaki, related tribes and French resources galore…anyone can join…just read the main page and the rulz…eh…a wide variety of topics, issues and stories are discussed…and current news, commentary and many great links are available…

    Mike Price
    Wolf Clan Saco Tribe of the Abenaki Nation
    (also French and Welsh ancestory…among others)

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