Such Friends

It’s been a Chinese curse kind of week. Very interesting. And memorable.

Every year at this time I go to Lumberton, MS to participate in Gulf Wars, a week-long SCA event. This year was extra special to me for two reasons. This was my first time working as a merchant selling my books with Master Andrixos at Calontir Trim. More importantly, two close friends got married in New Orleans the Saturday before.

The weather forecasts for the wedding, which was intended to be outside in Washington Square, were dismal. Fortunately, the weather ended up being really nice. A little sprinkling, but not much. The wedding was memorable, helped by all the lovely outfits my friends wore. I have beautiful friends, especially when they doll up all pin-up style. The best part of the wedding was Duncan singing to Gwendolyn. We all cried at that.

Then we had fun roaming the French Quarter. A pack of Calontiri on the loose. My favorite moment was sitting on one of the balconies eating hot dogs and watching my friends carouse on the street below us.

Then we get to site and things get a little more interesting. Basically, I have too much stuff. I love my setup, and I love that I can host and provide shelter for my friends, but it’s tiring at times. Anymore, I *have* to have help, and this time was provided by Uji, who did the hard work of hammering in the 20 big stakes, and Nakos, who helped me maneuver my big cooler into place.

However, despite the help of friends, I have to streamline my setup and make better plans. Fortunately, I have impetus. I’ll get to that later, along with some ideas.

I also fought, but did so very poorly because I’m out of shape. Fixing that will help with the campsite issue too, and make wars more fun for me. Yeah, I know it’s obvious. Working on it.

One thing I did change this year is that I brought less beer than I had in previous years. Part of that is the Shatto Milk Underground Railway I help with, but mostly because I don’t drink beer as much anymore. Frankly, I needed to clear out most of the IPAs in my fridge this past week because I don’t really drink them at home.

I was successful. For the first time ever, I ran out of beer and cider.

Very strange feeling for me. I’m a person who gives beer out, not asks for handouts.

Anyway, sales were slow, slower than I anticipated. Still, it’s a really productive time for me. If there’s no one there, I’m getting work done and if there is, I’m getting publicity. Again, I can’t thank Drix enough for the opportunity.

Of course the elephant in the room for Gulf Wars XXV is the microburst / tornado that hit camp on Thursday just after Calontir court. It ended the illustrious life of the Calontir Royal Pavilion and it ended the war. I was holding on for dear life to keep my tent upright, and for the most part it seems to have survived. I did have a couple of stakes pull up, but it withstood the 60plus mph winds.It provided some shelter for a number of people during the worst of it. Can’t ask more, really.

Still, it was terrifying and everything in my tent was wet.

At least it wasn’t the first microburst I’ve endured. Poor Amethyst had no previous experience, and while it’s terrifying, having been through it before at least helps one be more fatalistic about the fact that there is nothing you can do.

But after it ended, I was done. I was worried that my computer, which my ex-wife graciously allowed me to store in her store tent instead of carrying back and forth from my tent to Calontir Trim, was destroyed. I did lose some stock. I’ve not inventoried quite how many yet, but that I didn’t lose more was thanks to the quick action of Drix.

Anyway, I was done. Done with Gulf. Out of spoons. Exhausted. Angry with the universe. Pissed off. Frazzled. Scared. All of that. Did I mention done?

Fortunately, I have friends. I was able to get my car, and with the help of Conrad, Charles, Nakos, and others, we packed up my tent and I got on the road. I got home on Friday without any real issue. The I-555 / US-63 / US-60 / MO-13 / MO-7 route is getting better every year. All the stuff jumped out of the car yesterday, and some is clean, though I’m still working on that process.

I’m going to toss out some other names that helped me. It’s not an exhaustive list, just what’s coming to mind days after the events of this week. Thanks to Thyri, Miriam, Claudia, and BDR for putting up with me in Drix’s tent. Erich and Elasait for getting me some beer. Cullen and Daniel, who are real inspirations to me. I don’t know whose idea it was to have me discuss the Fyrd Box, but it was inspired.

My goal is to have 1000 unit sales, total, by the end of the year. Not much, but it would signify that I’ve got a real chance in this business. Gulfnado hurt sales and cost me stock. I’ve been down, both emotionally and physically, since the storm, despite the help I got getting off site.

But today, I had someone who I’ve never met in person complimented me on The Eyes of a Doll. Suddenly, I’m energized again. He’s not the type to give unwarranted praise, either, and he had no need to do so. Thank you, Sanford and Cedar. This is twice they’ve done this for me, as I saw her review immediately after shattering my window at Pennsic in August. If I ever become a completely successful author, it will be in large part because of you too. Thank you very much.

So, I guess there’s only one way to conclude this post, and that’s to repeat a quote I’ve said before. Were this quote not true for me, I honestly don’t know how low my life might be. Fortunately, it *is* true and I’m happily looking for the next windmill.

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”
-William Butler Yeats