Life and Death on the First Day of Faire

The day dawned way too early for me. Harry & I were at faire, having driven in from Cape Coral (about 40 minutes away) to arrive at the morning meeting at 8am.
8 am.
IN Garb.
Along the way we saw a tangerine sunrise, which was (almost) worth getting up at 6am.

At the meeting of gathered independants, performers and staff, our faire director gave us the lay of the land.  Being the cool guy that he is, knows that we've all done this a time or two and he gave us the following spiel, "Have fun and put your beers in a mug, not a plastic cup and... don't have 15 beers". (14 is ok, Terry? :)

The day was very beautiful. Blue skies, fluffly clouds, and it got up to about 75 degrees! Our first set was sparse...but it always is at this faire and that's ok. It was fun!

We stopped by to see our friend, "Magic" who sells "Ren boots"and to sing him his favorite song, "Dark & Roving Eye" and noticed his wee doggie was wandering around in his booth.

He told us her name was "Peaches" and she was...not only pregnant, but going to deliver TODAY.
Her water had broke and they were expecting some "puppy sign" anytime now. We decided that what Peaches needed was a love song to relax her. So we sang her "Jock O' Hazeldean" to this sweet (I'm guessing here) Shiz Tsu.

Magic scooped up his sweet doggy and rolled her on her back, in his arms....with her swollen belly displayed like a proud daddy would present it. The doggy was evidently very comfy like this, because she visibly relaxed, and looked at us so sweetly while we were singing this love song to this wee furry mommy-to-be.
It was really a wonderufl moment! The doggy looked like she really enjoyed it!
We whole heartedly promised to check back on Peaches for the news of their new growing family!

We have 2 pub shows at Hoppe's Tavern and 2 shows at the Court stage. The pub was raucous and busy and we rocked both sets there. After our mid-day show, we had some delicious lunch and we were going to take a short break when we got some devastating news.

The joust had been in progress during our lunch. We know the jousting troupe guys from the Sterling Renaissance Festival. The troupe is "The New Riders of the Golden Age".  They are great guys. Harry does sound for them at Sterling. We know that they love and care for their animals very well.

All of a sudden there was a swarm of security, on their radios.... and a large pickup truck and trailer were being waved quickly into the faire. Evidently, during the 12:45 joust show, their best mare....their charger....collapsed into a heap, in front of an audience....from a seizure.
She was DEAD on the field INSTANTLY from what was probably an embulism. The rider was visibly shaken and the whole troupe were deflated with depression. We were called in to "be a  distraction" to lure the crowds attention away from the process of extracting this beautiful, strong, work horse,... this huge, heavy Clydesdale from the field. Tarps were put up to shield the deceased animal from sight. One reason was to protect the audience from the spectacle...the other reason,  I hoped, was that it would give the horse some dignity in death.

I suppose that a war horse would want to die this way. Serving...working....died "in the saddle" as it were.
But it was a great tragedy to be sure.

While the helpers and driver and doctor were there to remove the horse from the jousting ring, Harry and I placed ourselves behind there at a Faery booth and they wanted to hear something "magical".
I launched into "Witch of the Westmoreland" and suddenly became painfully aware how appropriate... and also how sweetly touching this song was in it's emotions...for this particular I watched (behind my crowd) the horse being taken away. All the while, singing about the wounded knight and his faithful steed.
The crowd was drawn away.
Then the truck and trailer drove away, with its precious cargo.... taking the jousters hearts away with it.

We checked back with Magic and Peaches and were hoping for better news there after all this.
However, we were saddened to hear that Peaches's first puppy was stillborn. The rest of the puppies were "still squirming within" when we checked back in before our last show.

On the bright side, the day was beautiful and there was a good crowd and our shows went really, really well!
Had a lot of fun playing with Will the Fiddler too! We also played at the Manna Booth and sat in with the drummers there. Our host, Max is starting to play with them, wanting to be a minstrel extrodinaire...and the dancers had a lot of fun whirling around while the improv music went on and on.

We saw a Troll with a huge hammer and Harry took my picture with him. He growled and posed :)

Harry & I sang "Charlie Mopps" at the pubsing and afterward walked (limped :) back to the car to drive back to Cape Coral for the night.

We are now back at Dre' and Max's having showered and I now feel like a human being again! We were starving and ate some great chili that Dre made. Jay and Abby are here and they brought some 10 year old Tulamore Dew. We all worked hard today....and were very good minstrels....and after the day's events, magic and tragedies...we needed a shot of good whiskey, that is for sure.

We are happy to be here with friends and family.

Indeed, it's been a day of Life & Death on the Shire.......


Debbi said...

...I'm still wiping tears, for both the mare, the mom, and her pup.

LynnieBee said...

Oh no!!!! I remember them from Sterling, and I think I know the horse you mean! That is so, so, sad, that poor animal and everyone in the troupe must be heartbroken, I'll keep them in my thoughts, and Peaches and her wee pups too. But I'm so glad you had a good Faire day, reading this made me yearn for the 'Shire :)

MissLorieO said...

Oh, how heartbreaking and tragic. And I think you couldn't have picked a more perfect song than Witch. Love you.