A Pennsic Penning

My husband and I just returned from a week-long vacation that used to be an annual event for us. Each year we would make our pilgrimage northward to join friends, neighbors, and strangers for the annual gathering known as Pennsic. It was once the pinnacle of our pithy existence.

Nine years ago, I stopped going. It is difficult to find someone to watch a toddler for a week, and guilty-making besides. Soon, there were two children – both with issues that do not promote long outdoor trips with no available electric service. The idea of going on our annual journey became the memory of something we used to do.

However, things change. The boys are old enough to go to science camp and their grandparents kind enough to drive them back and forth. My husband and I are now in a position where it is needful that we attend, so we made our plans and went.

They say you can’t go home again. I think perhaps it depends on how you define it. If you are looking for a familiar feeling in a familiar place, you are likely to be disappointed. However, if time, distance, and circumstance lead you to a new approach; and if you are open to change, it can be an enjoyable experience. And it was.

I played my violin for the first time in public. Granted, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped, and I didn’t get to meet up with the lovely people who had offered to jam with me. Or rather, my inexperience was a barrier so I chickened out. But I did get to talk with a few music-inclined folks, and we made an arrangement to try again next year once I have more than 10 lessons under my belt. I have music to practice in the meantime, and a familiar face to look for in the future.

I sang a small ditty with a lovely lady of our acquaintance during an impromptu evening bardic circle begun by a drive-by bard who dropped in, sang one tune, and quickly bowed out. It is unlikely that I will ever be brave enough to solo, but it felt like a personal victory. Turns out, there are many fine singers in our group. They simply haven’t stepped forward until now because most of our group prefer sweeter ballads to the current popular fighting and drinking songs.

One gentleman in particular has a fine, light tenor, and good phrasing. I’ll have to find excuses to support his singing since he is so shy about it. He also expressed the desire to learn to play the cello, which I blatantly encouraged. It would make me so happy if we had an instrumental ensemble!

Moe and I stayed busy most of the week, but I found some downtime to shop and sit with the ladies to knit and do handwork. We spent a lot of time getting to know people better. The level and expanse of talent in this group is amazing! Now if only we could recruit some more people to the martial side of things, I would be thrilled. There needs to be some balance. Overall though, the experience was very fulfilling.

Coming home was somewhat stressful due to a wet pack-out and a long drive home to a house with no air conditioning. Ugh! But we had great weather on Sunday to lay the canvas out to dry and unpack the trailer. The air was fixed Monday afternoon, along with getting the lawn mowed and the beginnings of getting the house back in order. I took yesterday off to get those things done, and will probably do so again next time. I definitely needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. Ha ha!

We celebrated unpacking by setting up the fire bowl in the back yard and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with the kids. I guess I wasn’t quite ready to say good bye to Pennsic after all.

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