A Pennsic without Beer

21 Jul 2015 by gebhard, 1 Comment »

armoredbeed2As I finish my last minute garb projects in the last stretch before Pennsic. I got to thinking about what to post while I’m at Pennsic, and I was planning out my stories a little bit. I’m sure everyone will have at least one night under the stars with a drink and a warm fire, sharing stories. You need a good story.

For some reason when I think of stories that are supposed to be scary, this image always comes to mind, but then it makes me giggle, “then a man with a hook for a hand jumps out.”

When I was ten, that was a good story, but times are a little different now. Anyone group as well armed as us as little fear from lurking hookmen. So What would make a scary Pennsic story?

This year is the wettest summer on record….  Nah, we have all survived wet Pennsics.  While wet armor bags may actually be the scariest things at Pennsic, they don’t make for very good stories.


What about a zombie invasion? No…. we’re rather prepared for that. In fact, I’m pretty sure a good number of our membership is actually looking forward to that day.

Robot overlords? Given the number of people walking Pennsic around looking into phones, I’m sure this would cause a small transitional period, but the SCA communication network is remarkably fast even without technology. “…and so we stopped using text messaging and took up calligraphy” just doesn’t have that punch a good fireside story needs.

Oh but wait…. I think I have something.

It was zero night, and it was dark…. very dark when we got to site. After getting through Gate, we parked on the battlefield.  We set up our mundane tent for the night, then we realized something horrible had happened. Something that so horrible that it can barely be said out loud.
We’d left our cooler. At. Home. Not so bad you say? But it was the beer cooler!

After a few moment of gasps and hopeless stares…… I thought a bit and decided on a plan of action.

“I have a plan. I’ll just walk over to the gas station and pick up some,” I said.

“You know the bridge is out, right?” said Katayoun

“How out is it? I bet I can still get across on the road. Even if that doesn’t work out, the creek is what? a whole foot wide? I’ll just step over it. No big deal.”

With that, myself and my step son Luther headed out for the two mile walk. As we went, the pizza delivery guy went down the road with the “bridge out” sign. He lives here.  Surely he knows if you can get through or not. I must have been right about the bridge not really being out.

Whatever smug feelings I had didn’t last long.  As we turned the bend, we were looking at the bridge, or at least the large cement columns sticking up out of the creek where some future bridge would be. The old road was completely gone. No matter we’ll just cross the creek.

We paced around and found a narrow spot, about 12 feet across, and the water looked about a foot deep. We tossed out some large rocks from the bank into the water, so we could leapfrog across. No problem, we got this. I love this plan.

Luther went first, and all was going well for a bit. Then, he slipped on the last rock and fell into the water. He walked to the bank in about knee high water. I followed behind and made it across unscathed until I jumped off the rocks onto the opposite bank in victorious celebration of my plan’s success…and I sunk in the mud to mid calf. When I pulled my foot up, my shoe wasn’t on it. After a bit of panic and words I’ll never repeat, I got my shoe out. We waded through loose mud to get back to the road, then slooshed our way to the gas station enjoying the new oozing noise that came with every step. For a mile.

Once to the gas station, I walked the whole store, then I asked a lady with a Pennsic medallion, “Where is the beer section?”

“Oh, you must be from out of state. In Pennsylvania, gas stations can’t sell alcohol.”

“You’re kidding…..” She wasn’t.

I looked down at my mud encrusted legs. Maybe they at least sell socks. They didn’t.

Luther and I got a warm sandwich, as warm gas station sandwiches were all the comfort this adventure was going to have in store for us, and we headed back.

We did start to dry out, our spirits lifted, we were starting to feel good about life again. This feeling fell away as soon as we got back to the “bridge”.  This time I spotted some old construction materials on the road side. I have a plan. “We’ll take these leftover 2×4’s and toss them across our rocks to make a bridge.”  I love this plan.  As Luther got to about the middle of the bridge, the boards slipped off first the largest rock, then off the remaining rocks, and he once again fell in to the two foot deep water. “Screw it, “ I thought. I just plodded out into the water. At least this way we can come out on the gravel bank and avoid the mud.

I endured yet another wet uncomfortable mile long walk, this time back to the battlefield empty handed, and in a rather foul mood. I even kicked off my shoes as soon as got on the battlefield because I couldn’t stand being in them any more. I approached our temporary camp barefooted to find a suspicious scattering of beer cans. As I got closer, I found my Knight relaxing, completely dry and comfortable in a chair, drinking a beer, surrounded by empty beer cans all over the place.

My eyes tightened…. “O.k., where did you get the beer?”

“Right after you left, I just asked some people and they gave me this case.”

While there might be several morals to this story, it’s always important to remember your not in this alone. Pennsic has always proved to place a generosity and kindness. If the weather goes the way it’s expected, we’ll have plenty of time to help each other out of the mud, share a story and maybe even a beer.**

Safe Travels

** special writers note: Gebhard actually hates beer.  Scotch on the other hand…. yum.

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One Comment

  1. Peer power. That’s the magic that is bestowed upon you at your elevation. I’m a mere apprentegé and thus, have no peer power (but at least I know who has the bail money).

    Let’s go home

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