Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole - A Journal by Foxhole FRiend & Re-enactor Lee Heggy (3 of 3) - Sep. 30th, 2005
Posted on 09/29/2005 10:54:21 PM PDT by snippy_about_it
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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Note: This wonderful journal shared with us from Lee Heggy will be covered over a three day period. Please read and enjoy as Lee travels to Athens Missouri for one of his many re-enacting engagements. Thank you so much Lee for being part of our Foxhole family and sharing your tales with us.
As we sat under the shade of a copse of oak trees smoking our pipes and making small talk the Missouri Home Guard made their appearance. Marching in a file of twos between the rail fences lining the road up from their encampment, the brave and bully boys of the State of Missouri tramped by us. Their ranks had swelled since yesterday to about three hundred. Many of them were locals who wished to participate in the place of their ancestors. True to the spirit of the original battle most were carrying a shotgun or squirrel rifle although many had nothing more than a pitchfork or axe. Some had a club or a long pole with a butcher knife lashed to it. In ragged pants and blackened feet 'Cuppy' waved his baseball bat at us as he marched by. The old State Flag of Missouri was at the head of the column. A variation on the Southern 'Stars and Bars' it also bore the legend 'Live Free or Die' across the middle white bar. It struck me as a curious motto for a slave state.
They marched past us on up the hill behind some trees to form up their deployment. I could hear snatches of Col. Angus giving his boys one last rousing speech of encouragement and their answering cheers. We went to our gun and the Guards took up a line on either side of us that stretched for about two hundred yards. Up the road behind us was another six pounder manned by the 3rd Arkansas Lgt Arty. We are known as the 2nd Kansas Lgt Arty but in this event we were simply Missouri Home Guard. At this battle there was also what is termed a 'Quaker Cannon'. This is usually a false cannon made from the trunk of a tree and painted to look like the real thing at a distance to intimidate the enemy.. However, at Athens the Quaker gun was actually bored out. banded with iron and loaded with powder along with pieces of chain and old horseshoes. At the breech a touch hole was drilled to fire it off. This 'gun' was to the front of us off to the right.
The attacking forces of the Missouri Militia were behind rail fences two hundred yards in front of us. After the announcer on the PA explained to the assembled crowd what this battle was all about and who was who we waited about five more minutes and then the Arkansas gun behind us roared to life signaling the start. We jumped to and proceeded to load our piece and fired off three rounds in quick sucession. We waited to fire again until the Home Guard was safely beyond the reach of our blasts. A six pounder shoots out a tounge of flame and debris for over twenty yards along with much smoke. A fellow can get severely burned if they are too close to the muzzle flash. Often we set the grass and weeds on fire in front of us. A black powder cannon is impressive even at the distance of the spectators but up close it always startles me with its sheer violence and the concussive effects of detonation.
As the line of Guards came even with the quaker gun their crew touched it off. In the real battle the thing exploded killing the crew and sending the nearby infantry into a panic. They dropped their hoes and pitchforks and turned and started to run. In this re-creation it almost did so again sending up a huge cloud of smoke and firey sparks. Meanwhile the Militias with their better equipment and training were firing volleys into the ranks of the Home Guard scattering and dropping more than a few. At the exhortations of Col. Angus the ragged line of Guards closed the Militia then fixed bayonets and prepared for a charge. As they rose up yelling and hooting the Home Guard lost their nerve, broke and ran. Many fell or were taken prisoner. I got off three shots with my horse pistol and saw one militia fall as a result then I then turned tail and ran to catch up with my mates. After another few minutes of scattered fire it was over and we walked back to the main grounds to mix with the crowd and impress the kids. The whole thing lasted but a half an hour, only ten minutes shy of the real battle.
Carl and the guys got their instruments tuned up and began a strolling concert in the crowd. There were probably about a thousand or so people that turned out to watch Missourians kill Missourians. Carl doesn't solicit donations but people were very generous with tips and purchases of CDs. We finally ended up in one of the old houses that was being used by some female re-enactors as their home. They were sleeping outside like us since the bats and mice made sleeping inside the house impossible. Knitting and crocheting around an old table they were the picture of domesticity. We begged of their pleasure and with a nod of assent from the older matron of the group we pulled up benches across the room and serenaded the ladies for an hour while people filtered in and out looking at the ancient old home. It was quite nice in the cool of the big front room and they had a good supply of lemonade. Several of the ladies were very easy on the eyes. Indeed, they turned out later to be excellent dancers as well.
'Old times there are not forgotten...
It was getting on towards five o'clock and the spectators were beginning to dwindle. We excused ourselves from the ladies and wandered back towards the main area. On the way Carl, Dave and I decided to go down by the river and take a look at the remains of the old mill. Ed went on to satisfy his growling stomach with the Home Guards.
Down a shaded lane and across a low bridge we came to another home. This was the residence of the owner of the now vanished mill. It was also the house that a cannon ball went through. The hole is preserved and the interior is completly restored. A lovely old place. A huge porch on the north side with a beautiful view of the river below. We went through the house and looked at the old furniture and exhibits. A path led down to the remains of the mill. Judging by the size of the foundation stones it must have been a very impressive structure. Each block was at least three feet long by two foot high and equally thick. We sat down on a tumbled block and took in the view of the river.
Directly below us were two fishing boats out in the middle of the river. The men on board them were laughing and having a high old time. Carl winked at Dave and I. "Watch this." he said. Then he began playing 'Dueling Banjos' from the film Deliverance. Dave joined in on the ansering stanzas. Upon hearing this tune ringing out from the trees above them the fishermen got to their oars and quickly moved downstream and away from the unseen hillbillies in the forest. We all got a good laugh at that.
Then we walked back to the shelter house and had a meal of fried catfish, bluegill and cornbread with roasted corn, fresh peas, carrots and new potatos. All was provided by the Park Service. The Amish bakers generously laid out blueberry and peach pies with dishes of butter. Along with coffee, iced tea and lemonade there was a supply of home-brewed beer and ale materializing from the Home Guards in big earthenware crocks that had been wrapped with burlap stuffed with ice. This was kept out of sight behind some trees. Delicious and refreshing after the days activities in the bush.
After this wonderful repast the tables were moved to the ends of the shelter house and the boys got ready for the dance. Col. Angus was designated to be the 'caller' since he always does such a great job of making these things fun and very entertaining. He also knows the moves of the various reels, promenades and waltzes. He gives a demonstration of these beforehand to the unininitiated so no one is embarrased by ignorance and all can have fun.
An hour later after 'freshening up' with a nice cool dip in the river we changed into our 'courting clothes' and refilled flasks with the Cluney, The Des Moines River is clear, all sandy bottom and only about three to four feet deep with big flat rocks in places to avoid getting dirty upon stepping out. It's a fairly wonderous feeling of freedom to strip to ones underdrawers and wade out into a big slow moving river. Upstream of us there was a large group of giggling women doing the same thing in their pantaloons and loose frock bathing outfits. The ladies were just arriving when Carl and the boys started tuning up.
They opened up with a couple of old ballads and then switched into a 'Grand March'. Ladies on one side, men on the other. The dance is arranged so that the men all get a turn escorting each woman down the line. Turning and bowing or courtseying to one another in unison. This old timey dancing is sort of like square dance but it's much more polite, formal and not nearly so frenzied as the modern counterpart. They played a waltz or two then some polkas. Much swirling of hoop skirts and girlish laughter accompanied. It gets my old heart thumping having a pretty girl in my arms dancing a reel, flushed and smiling at me with sparkling eyes, gloved hands holding on for dear life as the room spins.
My favorite partner was one of the girls that we played for at the old house that afternoon. Her name is Josetta and she's from St. Louis. In real life she makes a living as a seamstress for people needing authentic hand stitched dresses and such. A very pretty wisp of a girl with skin like cream. Oval shaped face with big brown eyes and a very well educated mind. A delightful companion..unfortunately I suspect I'm old enough to be her father.
They played and we danced on until after nine o'clock. Josetta grasped my hand and with a courtsey and a slight peck on the cheek was gone leaving the scent of vanilla wafting around my head.
Then there was one more 'event'.
'I says Mr. Bones...'
The rumor had spread that there was to be some 'special' entertainment. They were not to be disappointed.
Carl and his musical friends have been performing authentic 1850s minstrel style music for about five years now. The old songs in and of themselves are not too familiar anymore to anyone but, they formed the basis of what was known as 'Minstrelsy'. The shows that are associated with and predated vaudville. To play those old songs is one thing but to actually perform the sketches that went along with them is quite another. It takes a great sense of timing and melodramatic comedy to bring those old corny jokes to life and make folks laugh. They worked hard on putting the 'show' together and tonight would be their debute as 'The Missouri Melodions'.
After the dance they went and prepaired. Put on their outlandish costumes, wigs and props then corked their faces black and applied clown white around lips and sometimes eyes. I was going to photograph the performance so I didn't gear up.
The show was going to be down in the woods at the far end of the Home Guard encampment. Three large fires lit the performance area. Several hundred people gathered in the darkness for the event. The guys were all in readiness and awaiting their introduction. After they were announced they came out of a tent one at a time doing what was called 'the cake walk'. Called thus, the term is related to the old saying 'He takes the cake!' by reason of being the most outrageous of the quartet. Exaggerated movement and gestures are performed by each as they take their places on stumps and barrels.'Mr. Tambo' with the tamborine and drum sits to the left next to 'Mr. Banjar' who is next to 'Mr. Gitfiddle' followed finally by 'Mr. Bones'. If I take part I give a crazy sermon and benediction at the conclusion.
The crowd in the dark was laughing and enjoying the sight immensely. I can't relate the entire program but they avoided using the 'N' word and most often turned the jokes around so as to be making fun of white folk. The material followed the old scripts with Mr. Bones posing a 'conumdrum to the others such as, 'I says Mr. Tambo, why is the sun like a loave of bread?' Mr. Tambo looks puzzled and then Mr. Bones replies, 'Cause it rises in the yeast!' and so on... It was a ribald and comedic show that I'm sure surprized most of the audience. Looking around at the audience I saw several with their mouths agape.
'Who wuz that I saw you perambulatin around the deck on The Bayou Sarah with yesterday?'
'Why that wuz none other than my feancy Miss Arrowmintha Peachblossom for sho.'
'Well if she ever opened her mouth I reckon she could swallow all da machinery and de paddle too.'
I took a lot of pictures and recorded a couple of wave files to my camera. The audience loved the show and asked for three encores.
I understand that there are several other groups doing this as well back east and down south but it's not advertised and is strictly for the other re-enactors fun. Sentrys are posted around the camp to deny access to the uninvited or hostile.
Next another night under the stars...
I've been anxiously awaiting part 3. Of course that's because I got to read ahead. LOL.
I love the comment about your 2 "whirling dervish dogs". I have 1 whirling dervish dog. LOL.
And what is the news with Josetta? Any updates since you wrote this?
And another thing. You look mighty nice in your Sunday git up!
Turning the calendar over to October, time to announce this year's Christmas mailing dates.
Everyone is encouraged to beat the last- minute rush and bring holiday mail and packages to the nearest US Post Office, Army/Air Force Post Office (APO), or Navy/Marine Corps Fleet Post Office (FPO) by the recommended dates listed below.
For military mail addressed TO APO and FPO addresses, the last available mailing dates to ensure delivery are:
Parcel Post - November 12
Space Available - November 26
Parcel Airlift - December 3
Priority Mail, First Class cards and letters - Mailing date is December 10, to all locations, except for locations starting with ZIP 093. For all locations starting with ZIP 093 the mailing date is December 5.
Express Mail - December 19 to locations where Express Mail service is available. Check with your local post office to determine which APO/FPO addresses can receive Express Mail. Note: This service is not available to ships.
For military mail FROM APO and FPO addresses, the mailing dates are:
Space Available - November 18
Parcel Airlift - December 2
Priority Mail, First Class cards and letters - December 9
Express Mail - December 21 from APO/FPO addresses where Express Mail can be accepted. Check with your local military post office to determine if they can accept Express Mail. Note: This service is not available from ships.
Some " what are they doing now" News.
Shane Osborn Runs For Nebraska State Treasurer (EP-3E Pilot of Chinese F-8 Midair fame)
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole.
"Pfc. Ronnie Borden of 528th Engineering Battalion, Louisiana National Guard, removes a tattered American flag from debris caused by Hurricane Rita in Cameron, La., on Wednesday."
Good morning Snippy, Sam and every one.
TGIF! Only two working days until Monday!
Hi miss Feather.
Morning PE! What's Bittygirl's latest caper??
She not only can unlock doors, she's learned to open them.
She not only can unlock doors, she's learned to open them.
Oh my gosh!! LOL Always keep your keys with you!
The morning stars are Mars and Saturn.
The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune,
Venus and Pluto.
|September 30, 2005
A Great Mystery
Many people love mysteries. It's exciting to put ourselves in the shoes of a detective and try to figure out "whodunit" as we turn the pages of a mystery novel. But there's a cliffhanger that we'll never resolveuntil we experience it ourselves.
Those of us who have watched in sadness as someone close to us has died may wonder about their new existence. Our hearts ache to know what they are doing or where they are. If they had trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, we know they are in heaven. But, for now, a veil separates us from our loved ones and we cannot see behind it.
We do have a few clues about this mystery, though. We know that our departed loved ones are enjoying God's presence (2 Corinthians 5:8). We also know that they are recognizable and conscious of their surroundingsjust like the rich man and the beggar Jesus spoke of in Luke 16:22-23. And we know that they haven't yet received the perfect body that will be theirs when Christ returns (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Beyond that, we are left with this truth: God, in His matchless love and power, is planning a glorious reunion. Then, our eternal rejoicing will begin. The last page of this great mystery has a happy ending. Dave Branon
God's people never say goodbye for the last time.
050927-N-3312P-001 Norfolk, Va. (Sept. 27, 2005) - The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756) returns to Naval Station Norfolk after a regularly scheduled deployment. Scranton deployed in support of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), participating in two joint/multi-national exercises. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist Mark O. Piggott (RELEASED)
050925-N-2838C-004 Mediterranean Sea (Sept. 25, 2005) - Four F-14D Tomcats prepare to enter the "break" prior to landing aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during flight operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Roosevelt and embarked Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) are currently underway on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Michael D. Cole (RELEASED)
Josie and I have been in contact every other day or so since we met at Athens. She was hoping to be able to join me at Fort Scott over Labor Day weekend but her work load was simply too great. We have plans to be together at Christmas and portray a domestic couple living at Fort Scott for the Candlelight Ghost Tour that is conducted every year. Its one of my favorite events. After darkness falls groups of people are led by guides with candle lanterns around the various places in the fort and vignettes are acted out by the volunteers. These little scenes are recreations of actual events. We take the names of the real people and do it all in 1st person. Special attention is given to making no eye contact with the visitors. We are ghosts. There is also a big dance and Christmas banquet. Its like someting out of a Charles Dickens novel. Josie is very excited about it. She also told me that she just turned 30 and the difference in our ages just means I've been 'road tested'. I may go to St. Louis to visit her around Thanksgiving. She is making me some new shirts and a coat.
The best "scribbles" I've read in quite a while.
Again, thanks for sharing them with us and thanks Snippy for all the work you did putting this series together.