This really used to be my time of year...And I guess it still is, really.
I spent over 10 years in the Fall working as a Rennie Rat at the Texas Renaissance Festival. I even achieved some sense of fame there. Some would say infamy...Heh! Hell, sometimes I would say infamy!
Some of the best memories of my life have come from that place. When I started working there, I was quite taken with the magic that (I felt) resided there. A lot had to do, I think with the group that I worked for there for the better part of 10 years.
I married my second wife, The Redhead there. It was an awesome party that day! Best party I ever threw! Literally hundreds of people watched The Redhead and I go through our nuptials. We were in full costume of course, and so was the entire wedding party, including my in-laws! That was really something! Everyone except the photographer, who was a friend of mine, that is.
I made many special friends there through the years.
I also met my present wife, The Queen, there. She was married to another, and had two small children in tow. We all used to hang out. Even in the off-season. I could tell she was something very special, even then.
Our children learned a few of life’s lessons in New Market Village. That we had them up there with us is probably why they were so involved with Dramatical Arts in School. The two girls have kept it up through College, both majoring in something to do with the Theater.
Alas, most, if not all those friendships were for one reason or another torn asunder.
The Center for Esoteric Philosophy based in Houston. What a grand bunch of, I guess the only way I can describe them, New Agers Teaching Ancient Arts. They were a fine bunch of folk and held a contract for Fortune Telling and Massage for a seriously long amount of time! At one point all of the face painters worked for them as well.
Alas, the Center as I and many others knew it...is no more.
"His Majesty's own Royal Fortune tellers! And Royal Rubbers!" I started out as a sort of Outside Sales guy or Barker. Now that was fun. I got to harass people all day long to get their fortunes told, or feet rubbed. Or just harass people in general! And I drank beer most the day as well! My kinda job!
I got to know a great group of people. And also, some well, let’s just say not so great…As with anywhere or anything else.
After hours, man that was some fun, too! Our booths usually provided some kind of dinner after sunset. Good food, too, although (depending on who was cooking) sometimes leaning toward the vegan side of things.
Before you ask, breakfast was in the booth next door, Leon’s. Leon died a few years ago, I was sorry to hear.
After dinner, drinkin’ an’ singin’ an’ general carousing were the order of the night. Or I visited with friends on the grounds. Of which I seemed (at the time) to have many.
We camped up there, on the grounds. Back in the day you more or less had to have a pass to get through the back gate, but if they knew you, or you thought fast on your feet you could talk your way through.
The place was like no other on earth. That I’ve been to, anyway.
I used to love waking up early (if I wasn’t hung over, but I could handle that a lot better than I do now though), after the sprinklers had turned off, get my coffee, pour a dab of Bailey’s in it, and go out front and walk the grounds. You were gonna have to do that anyways at some point in the morning, because the nearest available john wasn’t so near.
When the weather conditions were just right, there would be a fog or mist clinging to the ground and you could almost swear you were in “Merrie Olde England”
It was positively magical! There was just something in the air that made me feel so good! I dunno what it was, but it was surely a special time.
I still miss it sorely…
But when the Center gave up the Contract to a person who was definitely FOR profit that took all the magic out of it for me.
Oh sure I had other jobs, selling trinkets and food an’ other sundries, but the magic had gone from the place. My other jobs were just that, jobs. So after a season or two I gave it up.
So this time of year I get to thinking about all those times, some good, some not so good. And I yearn to be there still, sometimes.
But it wouldn’t be the same.
We still have all the gear and I still like to dress up and pretend we are still a part of it. But it isn’t real, and we’re not a part of it. Going through the Front gate is so not like going in through the Participant's Entrance.
Still see a lot of the folk there that we knew. Some have aged really well, others of course, not so well. By and large this gig is for a younger crew. They seem to get a little younger every year.
Lift Up Your Cares!!!
And get thy carcass to the Texas Renaissance Festival and revel in the spectacles thereof!