Monday, July 09, 2007

Re-enactors on the Hill Top

Last weekend was a big event on the hilltop above the Korean Bell: Old Fort MacArthur Days, when historical enactors assemble in various tents, teepees and, let's say, yurts to pretend to be old timey Red Coats, Yankee rebels, pirates, rummies, clansmen, crusaders, Hussars, ladies in pushed up lacy bodices and fancy hats, mercenaries, generals, old west women of ill repute. Abraham Lincoln was walking around in his stovepipe hat. Somebody appearing to be Kit Carson sweated up and down the walkways in a long fur coat and handlebar mustache. There was a half rotted corpse on a stake and rows of artillery shells for sale. Also, though I'm not sure what it had to do with Old Fort MacArthur, there were gladiators. Ted says he swears some were Carthaginians, and he says he knows his Carthaginians.

Here's my favorite photo of the afternoon:

A few roustabouts slurped from tankards, and one festooned cad yelled, "Rum! It's not just for breakfast anymore."

While we watched, a guy with a bullhorn announced that World War II was about to begin. Five minutes later, after some convincing booms, bangs and puffs of smoke, it seemed to be over.

I've always ridiculed the idea of re-enactors, for some reason -- perhaps some vestigial puritanical distrust of theater and people running around saying "forsooth" is in my bones. But everybody on the hilltop appeared to be having a great time, and I found myself enjoying the crazy playfulness. And it was especially great they got the war over with so fast. Could we copy and paste that efficient tableau, please, the war where everybody simply kicks up a lot of dust and nobody really dies?

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