Friday, May 29, 2015

Eulogy for Camp Ocala

Camp Ocala for me has been the foundation of my time in the SCA. Many sites have changed, but so far in my life there has only ever been one kingdom site. I find it fitting that at the last event I was able to cook in the kitchen and serve feast one last time, which made my weekend all the more sweet. I have a bunch of fond memories of this site, but there are two right now that I'd like to record for my own sake. I hope you enjoy this small trip with me down memory lane.

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 My first kingdom event was TMT, Mideon and Rose were the crown at the time and my friend Ever had someone convinced me to call out of work for 3 days of the hottest weekend in the year to camp. I sat and watched my first crown Lyst that weekend, I fell in love with the contest and have tried to see every crown lyst I can ever since. I remember I sat under the An Crosaire pavilion, next to Ever and she told me a bit about each fighter. I later got up and helped her with waterbearing, which got me up close to the action.

At that first TMT, Ever had managed to get me into the retaining schedule. She and I had talked about it before hand and I thought it would be a great time, this was also the first time I would meet my now friend Kristin. She gave me a once over and asked if I wouldn't mind doing "party detail" for His Majesty that night. At the time I thought this was just dandy, because party detail seemed pretty simple. Inhad one major task beyond the usual retainer duties: make sure His Majeaty did not have an empty cup.

As we traveled to the first party, His Majesty requested a drink from the "bar" in his mug and I happily had the beverage poured. I did one of my favorite activities (people-watching) while keeping an eye on His Majesty and the mug. As the liquid got lower I started to eye all the bar and figure out how to refill the glass, but the King had other plans. He had tried a sip of the drink from another individual and changed his mind to wanting that. He asked that I fill his mug with the new drink, and I asked him where I should pour out the last of his old drink. He gave me a laugh and told me to just "kill it quick" and top him off, so I finished the last of the drink and refilled his mug.

Little did I know this would be the normal situation, and party detail quickly became a challenge as we both got more and more drunk into the night.

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This was the first site that I took Sarah to,  when we started dating. I took her to MMM, another Crown Lyst, and we had a blast. Seeing the event through her eyes as she experienced it was a joy, and making sure she met Ever and all my other friends was vital. She helped set up a pavilion (Brenna and Kro's in fact), she began to scribe with Lana for the first time and we both got to bear water together while my friends Jake and Karou fenced under the big oak tree.

My favorite moment of that was late in the night, walking along the waterline and is sharing a kiss and some quiet time. The sounds of laughter, the smells of fire wafted, but for a few moments it was just the two of us. It was the first time that I really felt a lasting connection with Sarah, that maybe this relationship would be different from any other I had in the past.

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I have so many wonderful memories from the site, and I'm sure I'll post more stories as I feel inspired. But these were two things that stood out to me today in reflection.