For months road crews have been frantically fixing pot holes and grounds crews have been clearing brush and poison ivy. Fences have been mended, dead trees have been removed and new sidewalks have been poured. All of this work has been in preparation for this weekend.
Tens of thousands of Civil War reenactors have descended upon our battlefield to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas. They are camping in small pitch tents in yards, fields and parks as they fully embrace the civil war experience. It was a tad strange seeing the men in antiquated looking uniforms standing in line at Starbucks!
We have even been approached by a reenactor who inquired about securing "squirreling rights" on our land. Mr. Bill jumped on the opportunity--apparently the squirrels are eating all of his bird food. He is hoping to reduce the squirrel population so that he can save money on bird seed. If that doesn't work, he figures that he made money to buy more seed so either way, everybody wins. Except, of course, for the squirrels.
Spurred on by the squirreling opportunity, Mr. Bill has decided to embrace the opportunities provided by the reenactment being less than 1 mile from our homes. A metal detecting enthusiast, he has amassed an impressive collection of Civil War relics. This is, he decided, the perfect time to lighten his collection while padding his pockets.
This weekend I will not be working on the tree house. Instead Robby and I will be sitting on the tailgate of Mr. Bill's pick-up truck pedaling his cannon ball fragments and spent bullets to tourists. We are crucial to his sales plan because "nobody can resist an old man who can't move his neck, a one-legged woman and a cute little boy." I have no doubt that we will sell his two 10 gallon buckets of merchandise!
The heat index is expected to peak at 120 degrees over the weekend. I have to admit that I worry about the health of the reenactors. After all, these middle aged men will be running around an open field (which provides no shade) wearing heavy wool uniforms while toting awkward weapons after sleeping in small tents and eating nothing but squirrel. Of course, if Mr. Bill and I have anything to do with it, their pockets will also be weighted with a few genuine cannon ball fragments!