"Conscience is like a dog that can't bite , but won't stop barking" whoknowswhosaidthis
(Click on Video to turn music off)
Mel and I were settling into a very comfortable life. She paid the bills, played catch up on those items that were a bit behind. She put me up on a pedestal. She made me want for nothing. And in turn, I treated her like a king. Anything she wanted, she got. It was easy. That sort of thing is when you are in love.
She had yet another enticement, she work for the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF). TRF is the only fair to stick to the timelines of King Henry the Eighth. If you are chosen to work there, you had to learn either “The Kings English” or cockney lower class English. You were to wear garb WITHOUT the benefit of zippers, eye hooks (that could be seen), tennis shoes and the like. I had gone to the RENFair many times, I longed for the chance to see it after hours, work it as I would if I were a purveyor from the 1600’s.
The fair was at once, the ending of Mels relationship to Dana. I believed Mel when she told me the degeneration was based on Mel being truthful about a kiss she had with another player at the fair. Mel claimed it was just a kiss. Dana found this to be only a small piece of what had in reality happened. Mel had essentially had an affair. Dana exposed and dismissed Mel from her life entirely.
I had been warned by many of Mel’s friends about a few matters regarding Mel, the TRF was one.
“Mel has her heart and soul put into the TRF” said Betty (Owner of Coffee shop at Greenway). “If you don’t want all your weekends stolen for 6 weeks, I would suggest you stop this now”.
In my head was a swirling dervish of “OMG, My wish has come true!"
As a matter of fact, she was staying with Nancy (an indentured worker for the Faire) after that recent exile from Dana. So the absolutely lowest salary I would ever get was weighed against the fantasy of working and just being a part. I would have worked for free.
It is the preeminent Faire in the nation. It followed the Tudor timeline critically. Employees of the festival could not wear anything that would not have been available during that time. No sneakers, zippers clasps. However, we could swear and insult people all we wanted. We had a great place above Nobel House to sleep. Our employer, MIL, had been generous enough to build a sleeping dorm, complete with bunk beds and a LARGE dressing area, and multiple sinks. However, we each had our own beds, Mel and I slept together on a tiny single bunk. She had a tiny color television and we would watch it until one or both of us fell asleep.
We had to wear something on our heads, so I made the most beautiful garlands. I got so many compliments. However, MIL did not like it because they garnered the lion’s shares of profits with the garlands, wooden swords, tankers, pewter goblets, tee shirts and many other parcels of merchandising exclusive to the fair. They were acquisitive and wanted every dime for every item associated with them. They also owned Nobel house, the Butterfly House, the Sword Shop, Coffee shop, unusual safari shop, and all the kiosks.
The politics of the situation were another thing. Mel felt like MIL took advantage. She said they paid the very least and skirted federal hiring laws. There were underage children. And these kids would be dropped off on Friday, work all Friday night in preparation, Saturday from 6 am to closing which was around 9, unless some moron forgot to load the closing canon (BOOM) that went off to tell everyone to go. But there were times the canon would not get fired on time and we would work until 10pm, then we had to do inventory, clean, and be up for work at 6 am on Sunday. The owner got the door sales ($16+) per person up 75,000 or more a day in sales. Then he got a fee for the new owner’s site and finally 20% of all sales. It was not uncommon for some of the large businesses to give false tallies. And who could blame them. The man was rich. And he had an exotic taste in women.
His latest wife, a young, 24 year old girl from Thailand, Susie, spoke no English and knew no one. She came to the fair, and of all the people, she found me. I learned a little Thai. When I made this alliance, I got special privileges that I truly did NOT want. That is, if Susie Coulam came to my store, I was to be allowed to leave and do her beckoning. She was a truly beautiful delightful young woman. She wanted to learn ANYTHING. So I taught her AutoCAD, and of course we worked on her English. As we became friends she told me of her marriage and it was not a good thing. I need not take this to the extent of delighting this audience with someone else’s destruction.
I helped her leave her husband, but he was angry. He deported her. She called me at work from Thailand crying. I went to the department of deportation and told them the entire story. They had her back in the states within a week. I was legally responsible for her. So I moved her into my house and continued the lessons. I made a resume for her, sent it out to my colleagues and she got a job for Steinberg Architects and today is married and very happy and successful.
This all occurred after that season at the RENFair.
I loved it. I made several friends, some who have resumed our friendship again after this many years by finding me here. I enjoyed the Faire, this dalliance ended it. But Mel was secretly relieved. Her hip was giving her pain and she couldn’t take the tasks given to her. She was tired of kissing up to the owners and finally, she realized she was a grown up and she deserved to be treated with the dignity a person that put the kind of hours in she did. And she wanted to work for the VA. But I miss it so much and would go back.
The final day, music from Michael Crawford’s show in Las Vegas played over large speakers as we went from shop to shop to take advantage of a 50% markdown. The magnificent moon led us. The same moon Henry the Eighth had played under as a child and conspired as an adult.
The stars ...oh the stars
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-browed night,
Give me my Romeo. And when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
Yes, I actually recited Shakespeare.
It was truly magical.
Do not be sad for me, I have been invited back and intend to work again at the Faire.
As we entered into the fall season, the wellbeing we felt, was soon going to metamorphose into yet another interruption from my volatile family. And if you thought it couldn’t get worse, it does.
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True