When I ponder what brang me to join the re-enactment Hobby, I need not think too long. Its the pants stupid. In the summer of 1990 I had suffered a romantic reversal which left me with nothing to do for the weekend. When I called my good if somewhat odd re-enactment friends, they told me they were busy that weekend but that I could join them if I liked. Being in no mood to be alone to ponder my woes, I did join them and so found myself on a long drive to Somerset Massachusetts. Naturally, I was not equipped for the event but I had some black trousers and they had an extra shirt and a pair of soft leather boots. I could fit in if not participate.
Well, Somerset was not an event exactly tailored to sell the hobby to newcomers. The battlefield was split by a paved and busy roadway and surrounded by houses and power lines and overlooked by a menacing set of Golden Arches on what must be the tallest fast food sign this side of the Mississippi. The camp seemed more like a bunch of vagabonds in the city park than a seventeenth century bivouac. And it was damp. To finish the setting, my host unit was in the midst of some internal squabbling which got so bad that it led to a third of the unit leaving (perhaps it was the McDonald's sign?). I was not a happy camper.
It was as I was sitting around the camp, however, that the realization that I should join the hobby came to me. Or, should I say, it was sitting down at the camp that gave me the realization. I am not a small man and as I began to squat at the fire, my pants became stretched beyond their means and they surrendered to the stress. Sad to say I was in the midst of a knee splayed squat when it happened and it was no minor task to convert the event into something not entirely distasteful to the ladies at the fire. A sort of sumo ballet it was.
Well, as I had but the one pair of pants, this being a last minute journey, I was soon enough taking little steps to what I learned to call Suttler's row. Alas, Jeans and Slacks were not to be found. The knee breeches I was forced to buy were dreadfully expensive and could only be worn to very particular occasions. Unless I wanted to admit my girth had cost me $70 for a one use pair of seriously out of style pants, I had found a new hobby. As they say, In for a Penny, In for a Pound.
Unfortunately not long thereafter, after I had bought all my other gear and after many re-enactments, those knee breeches too felt the wrath of my thighs. When retreating before the largest American Line unit I had ever seen, and before the largest crowd of spectators I had ever seen, my unit was forced to withdraw over a split rail fence - away from both.
As I vaulted over the fence, my breeches split with the rails, and the moon rose over Boone's Homestead hours early. Gave a whole new meaning to showing the enemy your backside. Those poor Americans, heheh, they didn't know they were going to be facing such Crack Troops.
So the moral of the story is the next time you wonder why all the big guys are Highlanders in kilts, just be thankful they are!
- J Justin, 1NJV
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