As you no doubt well know, there are things in life that are incredibly important that don’t relate to triathlon, running, swimming, biking, or endurance sports in general. For me, my family ranks right up there.
I’ve written before about my three kids and how much they mean to me. One of my favorite things to do is go camping with my youngest daughter. See, we’ve had a daddy-daughter camping group for about five years or so now. We typically camp four or five times each winter (which if you’ve ever been to Florida in the summer, you’ll know that the winter is the perfect time for camping….not July). Our camping excursions have taken us canoeing on many of the spring-fed rivers in our corner of the state. We’ve found fossilized starfish. We’ve gone shell “hunting”. We’ve hiked. We toured some underground caverns. Tremendously fun stuff.
This past weekend, we camped at Fort Clinch State Park. This park is at the very northeast tip of Florida (you can literally see Georgia across the water), and is home to a Civil War era fort. We’ve camped here before, but this was the first time that the fort was teaming with Civil War reenactors.
We had an awesome time learning about what life was like in the 1860’s. We saw some incredible sights (for instance, a dentist chair where the patient had to self-power the drill), learned about “hard tack” and how soldiers had to eat that. We actually made horseshoes in the blacksmith shop. We learned what it means to “sleep tight”. The girls got admonished for having Jezebel fingers (painted nails) and for not wearing dresses that went from neck to ankle. We learned that the song “Dixie” wasn’t just a “Southern” song – but that it was played at Lincoln’s inaguration too.
That, and I took a bunch of pictures too. A few of them are below.
If you’ve never seen a reenactment before, I encourage you to seek one out. The men and women who do this are more than just playing “dress-up” or “soldier” for a weekend. They are reliving history. They are universally highly interested in the time period they represent. Quite frankly, they are fountains of knowledge and will help future generations remember what life was like back when our country was young (or adolescent). I suspect that there are more reenactors on the east coast of the US than in other parts – just because that’s where the majority of Revolutionary War and Civil War battles took place, but you can probably find them no matter where you live.
And by the way, sleeping in a tent can be a really centering experience!