Monday, May 23, 2005

Friends, food and black powder.

I had a fun weekend. I want to thank everyone for their suggestions for a hostess gift; there were many great ideas. My friend e-mailed me back right before we left and said that his wife did drink and she prefers a White Zinfandel. I don’t know squat about Zinfandels since I don’t like them, the only white I really enjoy is a Chardonnay. Since there was not enough time to poll all of you, I just went and bought a bottle from a winery that makes a Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that I like.

We hit the road around 9:30 AM. Clone lasted for about 20 minutes before he started screaming. To say Clone hates riding in cars is being too mild. He will and has screamed at the top of his lungs for hours on end while in a moving vehicle. He just hates riding. We’ve had people give us various tips and hints over the last two years. We’ve tried every single one and it has failed. Different car seats, tried feeding him, giving him drinks, giving him snacks, making sure he has toys, letting him pick out the toys, not of it has worked. He screamed for almost an hour non-stop.

After arriving at my friend’s house, we spent the afternoon talking and just having a good time. His wife is very nice and polite. She is a very gracious hostess. She made my family and I feel very welcome. My friend’s entire family, including his father, loved Clone. They played with him non-stop. I was worried they would end up being annoyed by him, which never happened. They acted as if he was a favorite nephew.

I talked my friend and his father into taking a trip to the Gander Mountain (A sporting goods store) where they live. They keep talking about how they can get anything they want for black powder shooting there. I would go to the Gander Mountain in town and was never able to find anything I needed. Upon arriving, Right away I notice a difference between the two. THEIRS IS HUGE! The entire store takes up the area of a large K-mart store. In fact the building, it was in used to be a Big K-mart until they moved it. My Gander Mountain is about a quarter to a third of the size of theirs. The Firearm section was at least 3 times as large, probably closer to four times. They even had a selection of flintlock rifles, it was a small selection, but they had some. Unfortunately, for me, they discontinued carrying most of their Flintlock black powder shooting supplies in favor of modern black powder/in-line. They still had a larger selection then my local one did, but they did not have the lubed patches I was wanting. They did have the other cleaning supplies I needed; Grau has a new bore brush for a 12 gauge. .

For dinner that night, they grilled up steak and salmon. It was very delicious. They served it with cheese, macaroni salad, garden salad and for desert: fresh strawberry shortcake. I ate until I about popped. I didn’t want to seem rude and not eat a little of everything, but I just could not ingest that much food. I remember a time when I could, but after the Salmon and most of the steak, I was full. Therefore, I only had a spoonful of the side dishes.

After dinner we built a campfire in his portable fire pit, talked some more and drank. He had been given a bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel, special edition. I’ve never had it before and found it rather good. I’m a Jack Daniels fan. When I can’t get a good single malt scotch, or if I want to mix. Jack Daniels is my whiskey of choice. That night my friend surprised me by pulling out a guitar and singing. I never knew he could sing let alone play the guitar. He says he’s shy about it. Being as I am also a shy person, I can understand his reluctance to play in public.

On Sunday, we went to a Civil War re-enactment. I don’t do civil war, but I enjoy going to these history events as public. This event was held at a nice museum center that had buildings from the 1840’s up to 1910, including a fort. When we first arrived, we went into a building that was housing a display of various Civil War artifacts and replica displays. I walk in and the first thing I see is a table of replica firearms used during the war. I head over to look; hey, black powder toys are black powder toys. On the table is a flintlock musket. This doesn’t surprise me. At the beginning of the war, many southern troops started fighting with what was available to them. This musket however looked funny. I waited my turn to get up close to it, the whole time examining it as I waited. I thought it looked kind of like a Brown Bess, but it was smaller. I own a Brown Bess; I’m very familiar with the look and style of them. One moment I am sure it was a Bess, then the next I was thinking it wasn’t. When I was able to touch it, I was right, it had a shorter draw, thinner/shorter butt, smaller hand bulb and was only a .69 Cal. Your standard Bess is a .75 cal. The demonstrator saw me looking it at and inquired if I had any questions. I asked what it was, and he said it was indeed a Brown Bess. He let me pick it up and I immediately knew why it was so different. It was the Japanese version of the Brown Bess made for Dixie Gun Works. What was amusing to me was the guy started asking me questions about the Bess. He had bought it used from some guy just as a display piece on his table. I filled him in on what I knew about the Bess, and gave him a couple of sources to look up for documentation of Brown Besses in the Civil War.

We walked around and saw various displays and shows. I was able to pick up 300 paper black powder cartridge tubes from a vendor for $10.00. Much cheaper then when I have to buy them over the net at $24.00 for 250 of them. We stuck around and watched the battle. Clone was the only child there not afraid of the cannon fire. In fact, every time they would fire the canons he would stop what he was doing and shout “cool”.

We had to leave a little earlier then I wanted to. Clone was tired and was getting cranky. He refused to sleep in the stroller we brought with for him to ride in. We made our good-bye’s and headed out. Clone screamed for 90% of the ride home. The other 10% was when he dozed off.

We had a great weekend; it was a lot of fun. Now I get to do two re-enactments back to back. I’m excited. Of course, nothing is being done around the house, but that’s okay, I’m not there to look at it anyway.