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December 2004

Upcoming Events

December 4

Christmas Party

January 9

Board Meeting, Captain Bob's, 4 pm

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be on Sunday, January 9 at 4 pm at Bob’s house. It’s one of the most important meetings of the year…when we vote on the 2005 event schedule. Be there and make your voice heard!

The 64th Christmas Party…

…is just around the corner on December 4! We hope everyone can make it to what is always a good time with great comradery. If you would like to donate any gifts for the “raffle” table they would be most appreciated (they need not be gift wrapped). Please let Dianna Bierman know.

Welcome New Members!

We have several new additions to the 64th roster to introduce! All were voted in at the November meeting.

Welcome to the Scheflow family, which includes Doug and Lena and their children John, Steve, Tommy and Sarah.

Welcome also to Randy Craft and Judi Snyder.

We look forward to seeing you around the campfire!

The Raffle

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our membership and donors, our fundraiser raffle at Minooka has been a success. Approximately $500 was raised through the raffle of the quilt and military items! The drawing was held at the last Board meeting and the winners have been contacted. Thanks again to everyone for their help with the raffle.

Chaplain’s Corner
By Jerry Kowalski

I had given up listening to the Cathy and Judy Show, a daily presentation on WGN Radio in Chicago. However, today as I was flipping through the channels I came across Cathy talking about why she was not going to decorate for Christmas this year. The listeners were calling in with all sorts of nonsense about why they were going to, or not going to decorate their homes and business for Christmas this year. I could not call in during that segment, but the next section was one called Speak Your Piece and dealt with 30 seconds of complaints that the listeners wanted to get off their chests. I called in with the following:  "No matter what people think, no matter what people say or do; the lights and decorations of Christmas speak to the glory of God and the Birth of His Son Jesus Christ. After all it is Christmas. It is a celebration of the Birth of the Messiah."

Cathy tried to get me to back down, but I pointed out that if a person who truly hates the United States, were to put American flags all over their yard—it would still reflect glory and honor to the Flag of this Country an all that it stands for. No matter what they say or think.

Whenever you see the lights and decorations of Christmas during this coming Holiday Season—know that they are all shouting of the Love and Peace of Christ. Let your hearts be warmed by the fact that no matter how much commercialism, how much anti-Christian activity goes on—we are all celebrating His Birth and the acts by which we are all Redeemed.

Peace and all good things,
Chaplain Jerry Kowalski

Special Thanks…

From Jerry Kowalski to Greg Dely for taking part in the 635th meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago. Greg carried the Colors, along with Marc Finnegan of the 17th Mississippi who carried the Stars and Bars. Thank you to Greg who took off work to drive into the Loop on Veteran’s Day and helped make a special occasion for the members and for Jerry who is the president of the Chicago Civil War Round Table.

Greg and Marc at the meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago.

Civilian House

No, this is not another historical “reality TV” show on PBS…although…

Ken Gough has come up with the idea to build a portable house (or rather, has started to build a house) for the use of the 64th civilians. The idea is that the civilians would have a rural mini-homestead to do their “things” (like cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc) in camp, and would have a more realistic “stage” than to say that our tents are a representation of how civilians lived in the 1860s. What a great opportunity to have an authentically-furnished structure as a part of the civilian persona. We’ll be talking more about this at the Christmas party so stay tuned.

And on a Similar Note

Ken is getting rid of his famous winter quarters to make room for new projects. Opening bid is $2.15! Contact Ken if interested (before it continues its life’s journey as wood for the civilian house…).

Fall Out
By Ken Gough

G.A.W.K. Stages Protest at Local Reenactment

There you are, formed up and ready for drill, when out of nowhere, that most hated and feared protest group, G.A.W.K. & C.O.M.P.P.L., Grandmothers Against the Wanton Killing & Cremation of Mostly Pulpy Plant Life (I think that means firewood) descends on your group.

You stand in shock as a phalanx of blue haired bats creeps ever closer to you (come on, they can't exactly run, their walkers keep getting hung up in the grass). Torn between running before this threat like Steven Crain's Henry Fleming or fixing bayonets and forming square against... Well I'm not sure what the order would be.

While you stand frozen in place the first skirmish line of the speedier geriatrics slams into your formation. In horror you watch as a spidery translucent hand grasps for your musket. You stagger as a combination of 104 lbs. of infuriated Granny jerking on the strap of your Springfield and the overpowering stench of rosewater (.69 cents a gallon) blinds you as effectively as any pepper spray.

I'm hoping by now you've figured out that the above is a work of fiction. However, have you ever given any thought to how we as reenactors should react in case of a protest at an event that involves any type of confrontation.

Take a minute.

I'm going to throw out some suggestions based on my experience with anti-gun and anti-hunting protesters.

#1: This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Don't try to argue or reason with them! It's not going to work and if you slight them, they will try and twist anything you say to get a reaction out of you.

#2: No matter what happens, Keep Your Cool! If you just remember that the protester in your face isn't the real threat. The protester hiding in the bushes with the camcorder waiting and hoping for some kind of reaction that can be used on the six o'clock news is. They only need four or five seconds of usable tape.

#3: This is the hardest one to deal with, especially with younger reenactors or those who feel that if they are in right, nothing
really bad can happen to them.

We are armed.

In any situation dealing with the law that's going to be a rough hurdle to cross.

How do we deal with this? The easiest way is to disarm ourselves at the first hint of trouble. You Officers, if there is time, get all weapons locked up in a car. If there isn't time, then things get a little sticky.

My suggestion is, form up, ground arms with the bayonets right next to the muskets, have everyone take one step forward and put their foot on their musket and bayonet. You too officers, pistols and sabers on the ground.

Now if they want them they have to push you off it. The problem with keeping them in your hands is what it's going to look like from that camcorder. Remember Granny. If she grabs your musket and struggles with it, God forbid if she manages to smack herself in the forehead with it; with a little creative editing it can be made to look like she was attacked. Remember those four of five seconds of tape. If she pushes you off your musket to 'steal' it, now things don't look so good for Granny and the tape is worthless.

The next challenge will be when the police show up. Now think. You've been putting up with Granny screaming in your face waiting for the police to show when they land with lights, sirens, and most of all, mass confusion. What you do next will go a long way toward where your weapons, and you, spend the next few days. Put yourself in the shoes of that police officer and think about what he sees, or feels, when he gets out of his car.

His first priority is to secure the area. That's cop talk for he wants to feel safe. And let's be fair, he's not going to feel safe with a crowd of people in funny clothes walking around him armed. He's already got a crowd of protesters yelling at him, he doesn't need us trying to put in our two cents right now. Act polite, and wait your turn to tell your side. The police may want to secure all weapons so now is not the time to start arguing your rights with him. Put them where he wants them.

Worst case, the police may want to secure the 'funny people'. This will be the ultimate test. Pass and you may yet enjoy coffee around the fire tonight with your musket in the stack. Fail, and you may get your musket back in a couple months, if at all, and will be explaining yourself to the night judge instead of drinking that coffee with your pards.

Remember, the police aren't even going to try and sort out what's happening until they have their security blanket wrapped tightly around them. If that means suffering the indignity of being cuffed, be a gentleman about it. Keep in mind, gentlemen get to drink coffee, loud angry men get to talk to the judge.

With any luck you'll never have to make use of any of the above suggestions. But if the situation arises, at least you'll have some kind of plan.


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