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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Iron Man

The man from Iron Ring[posted by risa]

Just down the road a few miles the Society for Creative Anachronism is having one of their annual tournaments.

Tall Son participates in these, and is building a growing reputation for his tenacity. Having known him for twenty-eight years, I have to say I'm not surprised. He invited me to watch him this weekend, and, while I had my doubts about the enterprise, especially after watching a couple of the tourney's fighters get up very slowly, and with help, I did find myself cheering him on with the rest as the "dead" piled up around him, so to speak.

Idris, as he is called in the SCA, did not acquire armor until later in life than many of his fellows, and so is having to catch up in both technique and conditioning. As the tournament wore on in the hot sun, he found himself taking hits that reduced him to a kneeling posture, but, like the god whose strength comes from touching the earth, he often fights better with his knees under him, and even better with one hand behind him. More than once, he took on at least four opponents in a row from the "wounded" kneeling posture and sent them to the back of the line. At last one would take him when he had been reduced by sheer numbers to acknowledging his opponent with a grunt and a twitch of his sword hand.

Whenever he was sent to the back of the line, I found myself running up to him with a bandanna to wipe his eyebrows and upper eyelids through a slit in his helm, which he appreciated as the sweat kept running into his eyes.

"You really light up when you're doing this," I said, dabbing away.

"This is what I do," he replied, in that Sean Connery voice he has.

Between such times I sat among the ladies of his household, the Iron Ring, and occasionally a lord would drift by and kiss all our hands. Some of them were quite dashing, with tremendous animal magnetism.

As one of the knights walked away, I said to my daughter-in-law, "Whatever it is, he's got it." She agreed, nodding her head sagely.

Part of the day I spent as a scullery maid, washing up with Daughter-in-law, or dishing up some of Beloved's highly praised duck eggs to the household, or taking a break to provide background music with my dulcimer, as the menfolks mingled, sipping their mead and trading shoptalk on gear and sword moves. It's their world and they're welcome to it, but visiting it for a day, every other year, works out about right for me.

My oldest granddaughter is Idris's daughter. She's nine, now, and was to be seen at intervals throughout the day, scrambling up tree trunks and hopping over mudholes with a friend.

She spent the night with us here at Stony Run. We elected to camp out together in the Scriptorium, which to her is the Playhouse, and we hauled a mattress out there for me (she slept on the cot that was already made up for her). We brought a book with us, thinking we would read, but both, quite a bit more worn out than we'd expected, fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.



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