Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What if the French Had Won?

"No daughter of mine is going to look like a slut!"
-My boyfriend's mom, upon seeing that I had attempted to escape from my bonnet, in spite of its status as a required part of my costume.

"You look like one-seventh of a Utah bride!"
-Friend Ryan, visiting in plain clothes.

My boyfriend's family has been participating in the Feast of the Ste. Claire for several years. It's an annual (not exactly like a pap smear since some women have pap smears bi-annually) re-enactment of what life was like 'round these parts during the early parts of our history. As the website I linked to would tell you, the Feast represents four time periods in MI's history and has camps set up to depict each (Native American, French explorers, British traders, and American Revolutionaries).

A big part of the weekend is a battle re-enactment that takes place on both days (the Feast is always held on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). If you've been around long enough you are aware that, while the State of MI seems to think that I'm smart enough to teach history as I passed their "rigorous" test with flying colors, I suck at history. I wish I didn't, but I do. Also, in spite of my frequent violation of the laws governing the irritating comma splice, I passed the English test with brighter, higher flying colors.

Anyhoot, keeping in mind that I suck at history, you will give me some latitude in my attempt at explianing the battle re-enactment. The boyfriend could do it better.

On Saturday, the battle occurs as the British are trying to win territory from the French. The British win as is historically accurate. I'm not sure if the re-enactment is of one specific battle or a generalization of the outcome of a series of struggles in the area. In any case, in spite of its historical inaccuracy, it is the tradition of the Feast to allow the French to win on Sunday.

Because the men of our family were with the French navy, our camp was located in the French settlement area of the Feast. The camps must be historically accurate. The food we made had to be cooked as it would have been in Colonial times and had to consist of what was available then. Anything that can be seen by the public has to be as it was during whichever time period the camp represents. This means that we had to turn our backs to pour our beer or Diet Coke into our mugs and hide our smart phones behind baskets on the table as we were checking the score of the Red Wings game.

"You need to have better control of your woman! You don't see Melissa running loose, do you?"
-Scott to his dad, upon discovering that his mom had skipped out of packing up duty on Sunday evening and went home. It was probably one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

This is how I'm punished when Scott catches me "running loose."

Overall, I had a great time. It was something different to do. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of downtime and got bored easily. The worst was when Scott found my first gray hair. I should have kept my bonnet on.

So, for all of you history buffs, I ask you: What if the French had won?

Bonus video:
What Scott Does to his Women When They Get Loose

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