Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Reischach Bed

Stephen puts our bed to its intended use. Photo by Marc Andryuk
The first year of the Guild of Saint Morritz Stephen embarked on a very ambitious carptentry project, making us a rope bed. He did a lot of research and watched a lot of YouTube videos on rope-bed tightening, and finished up the bed just before our first event as Landsknecht at CTRF in the fall of 2009. In the three years since then we’ve gotten a lot of compliments on our bed as well as comments of amazement that we sleep on something so primitive. The bed is popular with folks in camp, and many a guild member has been known to take a nap in the middle of the day, cause napping is totally period! But it has always been just another piece of furniture along with the tents, tables, and everything else in camp.

This year at the fall show of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire the bed was on center stage, sometimes literally. It all started when friends of ours were getting married at the faire, and the Fahnlein were asked to escort  the bride to the wedding. On opening weekend we were moving the bed from our old tent (that we sold to a friend) where we had set it up the weekend before into our new tent which was up the road in our camp. While marching up the road with the bed (not so different from marching around with pikes) one of us (I remember it as being me but some folks have different memories) mentioned that it might be fun to put the bride on our bed when marching her from our camp to the wedding site. The bride thought it would be fun, so we kept the plan a secret from her husband-to-be, and planed on arrival by bed.

When the time came it was a little tricky getting the bride into position on the bed, but once she was kneeling in the center of all her skirts the bed was hoisted by the men of the fahnlein while the women marched with pikes in front. The two folks carrying the back of the bed were so tall, the the two people in the front had to hold the front legs at shoulder height, so the bride did not just get marched in, she floated above the heads of the guests into the wedding. The groom loved it! The bed was a big hit with everyone involved, and folks talked about it for the rest of the weekend.

The woman hired to sing at the wedding got a big kick out of it, and approached Stephen the last weekend of faire about the bed possibly making another appearance. At the Reanissance Faire there was a variety act/finale show and when the cast of the faire came up on stage, the actor playing Merlin would decline to sit, no matter what the MC brought him to sit upon. So on the very last day when Merlin refused to sit she called for the landsknecht who marched our bed up on to the stage to quite a bit of applause. Afterwards, we got a few comments from departing cast on the great impression our bed made, but it being the last day of faire, everyone was spending what little energy they had left in packing up. Still, enough people stopped by to remark on the coolness of our bed.

In both cases the bed's appearance was really more for the insiders than it was for the visitor to the faire. In the first case it made a friend's special day even more special, and in the second it helped remove a little of the separation between us in the historical section of the faire, and the performers and cast of the faire. It gave us a chance to be good (if a bit silly) neighbors. I never would have guessed it of the bed.

Me and the dog enjoy a rare moment of quiet. Photo by Marc Andryuk

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