Sunday, August 31, 2008
Civil War Reenactment - With One Black Dude
It was about a hundred degrees and I was reluctant to go to Huntington Beach to see some Civil War reenactors. No offense, I love reading about the Just War and I have to admit I'm a bit of a freak about the subject, but the thought of seeing my auto mechanic in Dixie gray makes me pause. And I didn't know there were so many of his kind in Southern California. I do know that there were some actual Northern outposts hereabouts like in Wilmington and San Diego, but I didn't know there would be so many Cali nuts wearing wool and whale bone participating in this event.
The first thing I saw was a kid with a gray Southern hat bought by his oh-so-proud father. Of course this scared me. Why on earth wouldn't the dad choose the blue hat? Then I started wondering about the lack of minorities that were going to be at the reenactment. It really scared the shit out of me. I didn't want to be the only Asian there. What the heck, the railroads weren't even built then.
Tarps and canvas camps were set up from both sides. Pretty cute. Then there were ladies in their corsets and Scarlet O'Hara dresses that gladly posed with our little Flat Penny (a cardboard dog that travels the world - in the vein of Flat Stanley). Surprised to see a giant man in Scottish quilt and the works, we asked him to pose for a picture with our dog. He let us, but said, "The picture's okay, but I don't know the relevance of the dog." Hmm. And what the hell's the relevance of your quilt in Manassas or Antietam, moron?
It was an interesting experience overall, but I was disappointed I only saw one Union soldier that was black. I mean, I saw more "Join the Children of Dixie" booths than was necessary for crying out loud. Scary shit, I tell you.
But at least I learned about Thaddeus S.C. Lowe and the U.S. Balloon Corps. He was the "elevated" eyes of the Potomac on his aeronautic balloon. He was the most shot at person in the Civil War and he survived to invent great things like refrigeration and heating. He built the Pasadena Opera House and the Mt. Lowe Observatory later in his life. For discovering this great man, the heat, the weirdness, and the pathetic one black Union Soldier was well worth the trip.