As we officially pass from summer into fall, I look back on the many months since I last set pen to paper in the Roundtable and am staggered at how much has transpired. The Corvus ’99 tour to Arthur’s Britain was only a short time off when we last met in these pages, and yet, now, it seems so very, very far away. Numerous events, both SCA and mundane, have swept by leaving memories both vivid and dim. For Atlantia, an entire reign has gone by, wondrous and far too fast. Reflecting now, in this newsletter, it’s hard not to be awed and a little frightened at how fast our time races by. All the more reason to seize these moments together, whether they are in print, e-mail, telephone, or, best of all, in person.
While House Corvus had an extraordinary Pennsic experience, and I promise to delve into that some later, it’s the events of our brothers and sisters in Wyvernwood that resounded so much throughout the summer. We all followed the happenings as they were posted on the House Corvus list and watched with shock as events unfolded in Tampa. Certainly, the events of this summer will have far reaching ramifications, both good and bad, for Wyvernwood, Trimaris, and the whole of our Society.
Despite all this, and I know it may seem a bit myopic, my chief concern was how these events would affect Giuseppe, Rowen, and the rest of the Household. While we all have the luxury of watching it all unfold from afar, it is Joe and Becky who have had to endure it all from the front lines and, ultimately, live with it. But, it is important to keep in mind that, there but for the Grace of God, could have been any one of us.
We are a group of very involved individuals. Being out there, active, and making decisions sometimes makes us easy targets. Still, I’d rather be out there trying to make a difference and endure the occasional pot shot then never try. I think most of Corvus feels the exact same way.
I wrote Becky a note recently in which I empathized with her need and desire to take a break and catch her breath. While I’m not sure of the appropriateness of it, I wanted to share that note with you. Mainly, because you are the people to whom I am so often referring in the note when I talk about the people who keep me going. Secondly, because, it’s the way I feel about so many of you. We’ve all shared so many highs and lows together in the SCA. Yet, despite our fraternity, we still carry so much of the negative burden alone. We tend to focus so much on keeping our positive face forward, especially to our friends, that it is sometimes easy to sulk in private. Certainly, I’ve been known to do it (I can already hear Oshi and Sine saying, “Ya think?” here).
Anyway, here’s my two cents about riding the rough waves the SCA sometimes throws at you in the form of my note to Rowen.
“I can only imagine how frustrating this whole time has all been for both you and Joe and am sorry that things turned out so poorly for Wyvernwood. The one light at the end of the tunnel is that, this too shall pass.
“Certainly, there are times when I want to chuck the whole thing. But, I'm periodically encouraged, rarely by the powers-that-be, but by other SCA people who provide small, subtle reminders that it isn't the concept of the SCA that's bad, just some people in it.
“When I look at the world around me, it's easy to despair at the enormity of the corruption, carelessness, and lack of civility practiced by so many people. Still, there are shining examples of humanity that keep me dedicated to striving to be the best person I can be in life. You, Joe and Judy are just such examplars.
“The same holds true in the SCA. It is, after all, just a smaller world within our real one. There too, you provide an example to follow. And, it's not always about fighting the good fight.
“I know that it's hard to keep things in perspective when the bodies of your loved ones are being stacked around you like so much chord wood. And, nothing compares to the terrible disillusion of learning that people you thought were so very special turn out to be so hateful. Indeed, it's easy to get tired of fighting the good fight.
“But, there's no harm in wanting a respite. There's nothing wrong with taking a step back to catch your breath. What would be the real tragedy is if you ‘retire’ from the SCA where you do make such an extraordinary difference.
“I know that it's hard to hang on to in the face of such an abusive situation. But, those sorts of people don't care about your withdrawal. In fact, it only serves their ends. It is the people who look to you for guidance and inspiration (and there are many) who feel the loss most profoundly.
“The glory of the SCA, and the world, is that, sometimes, you can fight the good fight just by being yourself, just by being. I know that, for me, one of the greatest sources of self-satisfaction comes merely from the fact that I'm still here despite so many outrageous assaults. And, it would be nice to think that my sustenance is derived from some inner strength of character or resolve.
“The fact of the matter is, though, that I find that strength in the people around me. I probably would have given up on the SCA long ago were it not for those oh-so-rare, but enormously beautiful people, whom I am blessed to have sometimes enter my life. How much blackness did I have to endure while awaiting a shining light like Twila or Niobe? But, during all those times of darkness, I'm warmed and illuminated by the softer, but thankfully steady, light of my friends. People like you.
“When the foul winds of heinous politics and deceit blow, know that there is shelter to be found. Yes, even in the SCA. It's here, in my constant friendship.
“People of poor character excel at making everyone feel that they're just candles in the wind. I guess that's why so many people simply go with whichever way the wind is blowing. But our light, the light in which you share and contribute, is the illumination provided by good and gentle souls. While, sadly, it can be periodically eclipsed, it can never be snuffed. Please don't take your light from the SCA.”
I hope this makes some sense and isn’t what Anton refers to as another one of my “Branalogues.” The fact of the matter is, though, that I don’t want to lose any of you. One of the true benefits of being in a household (well, the right household), is that there are people around you to love, support, and nurture you. And, as I’ve also found out (on more than one occasion), to tell you when you’re being a poopy head. Each of you makes a special contribution to our Society and our Household, sometimes, just by being there. -- BRAN
Forgive the long delay in sending out my newsletters, it has been a busy time. Let me tell you about my latest adventure:
My mom mentioned one day that she needed the space where I had my nice rugs and other stuff stored at her house. I didn't worry until she mentioned it the 2nd time and offered to move it into the barn. I didn't want my things ruined by mice, pigeons, cats, extreme cold and heat, dust, rain and barn smell so I knew I had to do something about it before she decided to just move it herself the next time it occurred to her. I also figured it was high time to deal with the rest of my stuff, too.
I have been wanting a truck to haul my camping gear whenever I go to events. My car is just not big enough any more. So I conceived of this ambitious plan to fly to MN, buy one of my mom's farm trucks, load up my stuff and drive back to CA. I worked on my boss to get enough time off to do this. She thought 4-5 days would be enough! Ha! I needed that just to make the drive, not to mention the time to sort, clean and pack up my stuff and get the truck ready. I insisted, and got September 4th-12th off.
My mom called after I bought my ticket (non-refundable of course) to say her truck wasn't in good enough shape to be anything but a farm truck. It would be fine on back roads, but not on the highways of CA or cross-country getting there. I was relieved I had planned ahead enough to get a round trip ticket just in case it didn't work out. So I quickly switched mental gears and came up with plan B: fly to MN, locate and buy a truck, register it, insure it, check it out mechanically, load it up and drive it back to CA. Even more ambitious, it's true, but not impossible. I was also hoping to finish setting up her computer while I was there and maybe see some friends, but I knew those things would not happen unless all the stars were in alignment.
So I researched trucks online while my mom did a ton of leg- and phone-work in MN. She went and test drove lots of trucks and found a couple that would be acceptable. I flew out Saturday afternoon, arriving in Minneapolis at 10 PM. We picked up a used printer from a friend, then drove out to the farm by way of Hwy 7 where one of my mom's friends had spotted a likely-looking truck. We didn't get there until midnight, but it looked really good. We continued on to Hutchinson and looked at a couple more trucks and didn't get back to the farm until 2 am.
My mom is an early riser so she had worked around the farm for a couple hours by the time I stumbled out of bed at 7:30 am. We drove into the cities and looked at trucks all day Sunday, finally getting back to test drive the nice one we had seen on Hwy 7. It was the nicest, but about twice what I had hoped to pay. It seemed to be worth it, but I wanted a mechanical check before we decided. At first the sellers were cooperative, but when we called Monday morning to arrange getting it into our shop they balked. They used all the usual pressure tactics and lied about all kinds of things, including lies of omission, but it was still the best truck we had seen.
So, foolishly maybe, with great trepidation, we went out Monday morning and negotiated a price for the truck, paid cash and drove it home. We then chewed our fingernails to the bone with worry until it could be checked out mechanically Tuesday morning. The mechanic spent ½ a day replacing both U-joints and giving me a short list of stuff that needed to be done soon, none of which was too bad. We were very relieved that we hadn't bought a "pig in a poke".
Tuesday afternoon I discovered the U-Haul trailer I had reserved didn't exist and ended up yelling at a series of U-Haul employees for their total lack of professionalism. I finally got a promise of a trailer, but I had to drive to Chanhassen. I had arranged to have dinner with my very good friend Dan, so we drove in and picked up the U-Haul then went on to Dan's house for dinner. We took along my mom's computer in hopes he could help. He agreed to set it up for her later and I know he will do a better job than I ever could.
Dan was brilliant - he called all the jugglers and told them I would be there so they could come to visit. A dozen people showed up and it was a wonderful visit. I felt like I had gone back fifteen years to when we were all new friends who did everything together. It was very special. I hadn't realized they all still cared. You know, people drift away and friendships fade, but they all came out to see me. I was touched. It made me want to move back to Minneapolis to be close to such a great group of people.
Wednesday I spent the entire day trying to pack the truck and trailer to make the trip back to CA. It was horrible. This was stuff I hadn't seen in 3 years and my mom really wanted to get on the road Wednesday afternoon. I kept telling her it was impossible but she wouldn't back down. I was trying to decide what to keep, what to get rid of, and all the while getting horribly upset over the amount of stuff and the disorganization of my life.
I was bawling my eyes out most of the day. I couldn't even be sure I was doing the right thing, but I had to follow through because I had already gone so far. I know the situation upset my mom, because she thought packing and loading would be easy. I don't think she could manage if she had to pack up her stuff in a truck and small trailer while deciding what was most important, all in one day. It just couldn't be done. She resigned herself to leaving Thursday, but reluctantly. I worked so hard all day and night that by dark I felt I had no feet left at all and was just trudging around on bloody stumps. I could hardly stand in the shower that night, but I was counting on spending the next 4 days on the road recovering.
The weather was great. It was hot and muggy when I got in to the airport, but the next day was that wonderful fall weather. Clear, comfortable and beautiful. I was there for the entire fall season - all four days! It was cold Thursday when we were struggling to get on our way. My mom had a lot to do to prepare for being gone. I was just relieved that my part of the hardest work was over and that she was coming with me cross-country. We knew it was better to travel together all that distance, especially in an unknown truck.
We finally got off the farm and on the road by 11 am, then stopped in New Prague to buy some snacks for the road and some antique Indenture documents I had on hold at an antique store. We drove all afternoon through Iowa and Missouri. Around 10 PM we got into Kansas City, KS where there was heavy road construction and traffic. We both started to hear an ominous clunk emanating from the vicinity of the recently repaired drive shaft. Thankfully my mom was along and identified it as "something that must be fixed!" If it had been just me I might not have noticed or maybe decided it wasn't important.
We stopped at a truck stop in Olathe, KS and slept in the back of the truck until just before the crack of dawn. We then drove to a Ford dealership and got in the service line behind all the other dozens of people who had also gotten up before the crack of dawn. It took half the day, but they fixed the U-joints (correctly this time) and we spent some of that time reorganizing and reloading the trailer so it would haul better. I threw out even more stuff which I hadn't had time to examine closely when I'd packed it the day before.
After that we drove hard to make up the lost time. The rest of the trip was reasonable with no breakdowns and only a few heavy rainstorms to make the driving more difficult. We switched off driving whenever we got tired and slept in the back of the truck when we couldn't drive any more. It was really nice to have that much time together with my mom. We stopped in Albuquerque to visit family, then made it to Prescott, AZ by dusk on Saturday. We had dinner with my Grandma, then slept on the floor in her front room. It was better than the boxes in the back of the truck, but I was looking forward to having a bed again.
Sunday morning I left Prescott, but my mom stayed to visit for the rest of the week. I made the final leg of my journey alone across the desert. The desert temperature was about 110 F and I couldn't run my air conditioner without overheating the truck. I had a jug of water next to me which I poured over my head when I got too hot. I had to keep the speed down to about 55 to spare the truck, and stopped every 125 miles or so, but I made it home before dark. There I unloaded the trailer, ate some dinner my roommate had very thoughtfully prepared for me, and finally got to sleep in my own bed.
Monday morning I returned the trailer to U-Haul and went back to work. It was quite an adventure, but I enjoyed it and am proud to have made it successfully. Now all I need to do is unpack all those boxes and figure out what to do with all that stuff!! Love to all, -- RENATA
(The preceding letter was adapted from Lady Medb Renata’s posting to the House Corvus list. It is presented here for easier reading and for those House Corvus members who don’t have access to e-mail. I especially like having letters from other household members here in the Roundtable. Please feel free to contribute whatever you feel may be of interest to your housemates! Just send it in or post it to the list at eGroups!)
Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008|
Copyright © 1998-99, 2000-09 House Corvus. All rights reserved.
Design and hosting by Bran Trefonnen.