Monday, September 15, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder days

Okay, Pepin, Wisconsin is, to me, the most important event of the year. This is my family reunion; the best of the best come to be there and I feel honored that Norm and I are not only asked to come back year after year but are welcomed into the bosom of the group.

This year it was rainy and warm on Saturday, rainy and cold on Sunday. The nights were good for sleeping, the days were filled with flies on everything under the fly and in the tent, but there were NO bees to speak of.

As we were heading out on Friday morning, I realized, about half an hour away, that I had forgotten my camera! I was in mourning but what can you do? So I asked Kitty if she would share her pictures and she promised to do so. I was looking towards posting a blog with NO pictures, and was sorry to disappoint all of you. Friday night / Saturday morning I had a dream about flying in a hot air balloon and reaching for my camera to take pictures of birds. I woke up thinking, “hmmmmmmmmmmmm!” and looked in my purse! Lo! and Behold! There it was, smiling up at me, saucy little bacon!

So I DID get a lot of pictures – about eighty of them! Don’t worry, I won’t post ALL of them!

So, anyway, we arrived Friday about three and started to set up. Then along came Molly with one of my very, VERY favorite people, Patience. There was talk about Molly not having room in her truck and camper for Patience, so she would be strapped on the front as a hood ornament. However, she DID manage to fit in and got to ride in the front seat. Because I didn’t have my camera (yet) I couldn’t take a picture of the two women cautiously opening the back of the camper and standing back to catch what might fall! It was stuffed to the gills – even Patience, who is tall, couldn’t reach up to put any more inside – the “stuff” was right to the door and only about a foot from the top of the “stuff” and the top of the camper. I had planned on taking a picture of the teardown and the stuffed camper, but events (as you will hear) kept me from doing that.

Friday night is traditionally a supper at Kitty and Tom’s house – Tom is the organizer of the “Old Tyme Crafts” section of the Laura Ingalls Wilder event. Just about everyone sets up before dark or close to sundown, then heads to the house for supper. This year it was buffalo chili and was, as usual, very good.

As I sat at the table, I looked around in awe. There were over fifteen people around the table or in the living room and all were talking. Across the table to someone, leaning past someone to a person on the other side, from one end of the table to the other. I was amazed. So many different conversations, so many happy faces! I turned to Maureen and said something and she said, “Well, it IS a family reunion and we have to get a year’s worth of talk in only three days!”

Saturday morning was my “Brigadoon;” before guests came; we had breakfast, cooked by Molly, Maureen, assisted by Patience (this was her first visit). Then we all wandered around, visiting tents and people before the guest arrived.

After ten, the people started coming and it was business as usual for all of us. Except for the intermittent rain, it was a beautiful day. But every time I went for a walk to see someone, it would start raining again.

The kitchen crew (M, M & P) served a wonderful lunch and a great supper. Every Saturday night, at supper, there are awards given out. Someone is chosen to pick the awards and each year they are different. One of the gang supplies the neat award gifts. One year we got the award for the most authentic costumes. Another year we got one for the most useable “home.” (Cindy had used the bed for nursing a baby and resting and someone else had borrowed a bed for a nap.) This year it was the best demonstrator and something else. Norm got a special commendation for the “Best Pa Ingalls beard look-alike.”

I missed the awards but not the supper, because I had crawled into bed. Norm brought a plate of supper for me and then I had a nap. I felt refreshed enough to join everyone at the campfire that night; I sat until midnight talking to Patience (gosh, I miss her!).

Sunday was supposed to be sunny and clear and warm, but it stayed overcast all morning, and then started to rain (again) in the afternoon. We were to tear down around four, so everyone brought their trucks and cars around to the tents just as the heavens let loose and DUMPED rain for over an hour. Everyone was soaked to the gills! The only ones enjoying it were the children who ran in the rain and caught rivers of water coming down from the tent flies.

Now, one of the worst things to have happen is to have to work in cold rain and tearing down tents, packing up stuff and fitting everything into a vehicle in this stuff is not comfortable at all. But having wet canvas is not pleasant. You have to pack up wet, HEAVY stuff, then unpack at home and hang to dry. You must not put wet canvas away, as it will mold and be ruined. A good tent will cost hundreds of dollars so you don’t want to lose your money, if nothing else. The best wish anyone that camps with canvas can give you is “May you have dry canvas.”

We did not make it out to the cabin this time. Sorry, Happy Owl! But maybe I can find pictures from the last time I was there. There was too much rain and we got there too late on Friday to go out to visit.

But I have pictures of the weekend and will post them with this.

So, now we are home to sunny weather and are drying canvas and washing clothes and bedding. It was a beautiful, if wet weekend and is a beautiful day.


May you have a beautiful day and may your canvas always be dry!
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3 comments:

Jan said...

Nice pictures!

Texas Mom said...

I liked how those chickens were roasting over the outdoor fire. YUM! This gives me ideas when the school program resumes at the farm and we start cooking on site. It's been a very hot summer, so we (volunteers) haven't been cooking much, especially with the woodstoves! Great pics! Enjoy seeing other Living History enthusiasts!

Kelly @ Nat'l Colored Wool said...

Nice to see you in your shawl Connie. I can't wait to see the Swedish Shawl up close at Albert Lea. Enjoyed all of the pics.
Too bad I won't be seeing you this weekend at NCFF. www.northcountryfiberfair.org