|Framed in a picture, it is still pretty Renaissancy.|
King Henry VIII getting the party started
with Queen Catherine of Aragon
[Speaking of my son's taste in music, which is not typical for an eleven-year-old, he once got angry when Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" came on in the car. What angered him was Gilmour's solo: "Why do they have to ruin everything with the sound of some fake instrument that's all loud and obnoxious." I believe he may have been channeling my dear-departed father, and I was both pleased and displeased (I love Gilmour's playing) -- but more the former than the latter. The boy loves orchestral music!]
|My younger son cheering on a battle |
in his newly-acquired medieval hood.
As the sun started to set, we traveled, heading home through the rolling green hills of what is a truly beautiful state. When the Shire theme in the Lord of the Rings soundtrack played, my older son pointed out that "they could have filmed The Lord of the Rings here -- the Shire parts." He was right. It was a beautiful setting and I was more than happy to drive along the the orchestral strains of Harry Potter and LotR and to think back over the previous three days...
The Renaissance Faire has fallen far. Very far. In fact, if not for the boys, I would never go again. When I went twenty years ago, it was very much an escape -- it felt like a journey back to Renaissance England. I was never a dresser-upper or very much of the Dungeons and Dragons set -- though, to be honest, I have played -- but I remember the quiet historicity of the place. I remember the gravel "streets" of the town (now asphalt) and the actors who'd wander and engage the visitors (the actors have since become performers) and I remember the efforts to keep the place an experiment in Renaissance re-creation. Dollars were called "pounds" (though I don't think they were using pounds sterling in the Renaissance...) and turkey legs were called "mutton legs" and they were one of the few things available to eat. Every vendor did a decent British accent (in fairness, most of them sounded like poor Scottish brogues, but that was okay -- they were really trying) and the expectations on the employees were high. In fact, one day, I saw a girl I had been in a band with in one of the stage shows. She saw me and directed me to meet her behind the stage area. This was because she wanted to talk to me without an accent and she would have gotten in trouble if she'd been seen. Even the guys who directed the car-parking wore costume and did accents back then. There was no amplification and no recorded music played anywhere. If you had to use a credit card to buy something big, the characters referred to it as "Master Card or Lady Visa."
|My favorite: "Wildcat,"against the green of Pennsylvania.|
After a long day, it was a sunset ride into the delightful town of Hershey for a stay in the sprawling Hershey Lodge and for a few days in the amusement park. We all like roller coasters; what can I say? (Here's my roller coaster/life theory from before, if you're interested. I still feel the same.)
|The smoke stacks of the old Hershey |
factory with the excellent wooden coaster
"Thunder and Lightning" in the foreground.
|Farenheit, which I rode twenty |
minutes after eating eggs Benedict
-- with nary a retch. Now who's a man?
I have tried, over the past years, not to be too critical of kids who are rambunctious. I believe bad kids can grow up to be good people and I even believe my kids may be too well behaved; that we have been a bit too strict with regulating their public behavior. I openly admit that. But to raise children who behave with absolutely no comportment or sense of propriety or regard for those around them is just wrong; in fact, it is socially irresponsible. Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping one of the sneaker-skating brats would have hit a dry patch on the pavement and taken a header onto his teeth, so I won't say that...
Then, we went up into the "Kissing Tower" -- a revolving circular cabin that rises up to some three-hundred feet to give passengers a good view of the surrounding area and, along with the ride, you get a recorded lesson about the history of the town. It would have been interesting, if I could have heard it over the incessant, self-centered babbling of the people around me. (I am sorry for being perhaps a bit curmudgeonly, but...people used to listen to stuff like that when I was a kid and it kills me when people talk over it. )
Other than that, though, the people at the park were so much better than the Jersey crowd.
Driving home, though, through the twilight and to the backdrop of the lazy summer strings of Shore's beautiful Shire theme, I felt the peace that comes with having gone and seen and having spent each day's energy in pursuit of nothing but entertainment. Three days of that is plenty, though, but it was all worth it if only for the rare fun and comfort of nights in a hotel room with the entire family, the grownups reading by the overhead bed lights and the youngins lying in their beds either reading or softly giggling and whispering over the beeps and blips of their handheld games.
[By the way -- I learned, on a placard in the park, that, in one work week, today, the Pennsylvania Turnpike sees more traffic than is did during the entire year of 1941. Crazy.]
|PA sunset on Route 322.|