Sunday, August 7, 2016

Family Camping

You can't pick your parents, but you can pick your friends. You can also let your friends into your family. I have many people , including my blood family, that I can thank for keeping me sane and pushing me to do my best.

Friends have more power though. They have seen me at intense highs and extreme lows, yet they stay with me. They have no familial requirements like genetic family--which makes me smile. I have had some that have helped channel manic energy into productive things like cleaning, doing yard work, or just sitting around watching bad tv shows. I also have friends that have comforted me when I am depressed, and occasionally kick me in the arse to take action. I like that combination.

When friends become family you know you're on the right track.

This weekend has been great, despite a little rain on my tent. Everybody took care of everyone else. We all helped friends unpack and set up, then pack up and leave the site clean. That is how friends are. That is how this works. I may see some of the group only once a year, yet that familiarity  stays put. When we adopt another person into the group we dive right in and help them too.

Where was I? Down in Ruidoso, NM with around 100 or 150 people, most of which I have never met. What was I doing down there? I was at a Society for Creative Anachronism gathering. If you have never heard of the group then you are missing out!  We all camp and take great pleasure in bringing the medieval world to life. Costumes, bags, boots, and tents (well, there are some people who have period tents, but most of us use a regular old tent). From peasants to royalty, there is something for everyone.Think of it as a renaissance fair, but all the attendees are in on the pretending.

And yes, there is fighting: big rattan sticks wrapped up in duct tape and plywood or metal shields, fencing blades, bows, and siege weapons. But there is also a lot for people who do not wish to come back with bruises. There are classes on everything from how to sew a hat, how to make candles, and blacksmithing  Nobody gets snooty about who has "correct" costuming, and normally there are people who will let new players with extra clothing. That way everyone can participate and belong.

Apparently news of our little group of campers has spread as being a good spot to stop for a good laugh or singing circle. Well, this year we took the singing to the dry area under the group camping shelters.This last time we were registered in what they call a siege cooking tournament--like "Chopped" but you get all your ingredients at once and have three hours to make an assortment of tasty treats. We came together to help out as much as possible and put together a positively awesome spread of goodies. Everyone chipped in on the cooking, raiding our coolers and dry goods to add to the dinner. We won. For the second year in a row! Our itty bitty camping group beat out some stiff competition.

I like going to events like this one, not too many people, lots of room to spread out, and absolutely no deadlines (unless you ask for them, like in the cooking competition).

This weekend reminded me that I have more friends that I thought, friends who will help out if I just ask...or even if I didn't ask. I love my blood family, but I also love my adopted family too!

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