Read the latest dispatch from the What's It Wagon

11 Jul 2010 Gettysburg

19 Feb 2002 Olustee

27 Jan 2002 Alafia Mountain Man Rendezvous

19 Jan 2002 Brookesville Reenacment

21 Feb 2001 Battle of Olustee 2001

27 Jan 2001 Alafia Mountain Man Rendezvous

19 Jan 2001 Bitter Weather Makes Reenacting A Chilling Experience

23 Oct 2000 Hunsader's Revisited

16 Oct 2000 The Photographist

04 May 2000 Off to the Ancient City

31 Mar 2000 Cow Cavalry Wedding at Hunsader's Farm

21 Feb 2000 Front Lines at the Battle of Olustee, Florida

12 Feb 2000 Return From The 1840s

19 Jan 2000 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Alafia, Fla.

19 Jan 2000 Brookesville Raid Reenactment Brookesville, Fla.

03 Jul 1998 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Fla.

Mountain Man Rendezvous, Fla.

3 Jul 1998

After four days of being "outstanding" in my field I am glad to be back to civilization. On Thursday it was hot and humid. On Friday it rained all day and I took no pictures at all. On Saturday it rained half the day and then turned snappy cold.

Friday it was a pitiful sight to see me sitting in my "What's it" wagon at 6:30 am. I had plastic garbage bags spread over everything including my lap. Rain trickled down through the skylight soaking my wool blankets and everything else as well. There's nothing less charming than the smell of wet wool. I was hopelessly peeling off bits of air conditioning duct tape and spreading them along the seams of the over head sky light in a vain attempt to keep out the rain.

I used a plastic garbage bag to try to make a better seal. Instead it loaded up the water and funneled it along until it overloaded and came spouting out at one end. I had a tin pan in which I collected most of the water until it nearly overflowed. I then opened the door which wanted to stay stuck and threw out as much as I could. More water trickled down over the bridge of my nose like some Chinese water torture. I had a little transistor radio head set plugged over my ears to hear how long the rain might last, as if that would change anything. I could feel the wagon start to shake a little as Northern winds increased and the temperature nose dived. What fun!!

Despite all this, in between raindrops I still mangaged to coerce numerous mountain man rendezvouers and their partners and children to stand before my lens and have their "image struck". In times when the rain fell too hard to work, or after the gloom changed to night I stole off to their lodges and sat around warming fires that somehow stayed lit despite the water soaked wood. I quafed a beer or two plus a wonderful whiskey drink called Apple Pie and shared great companionship. You can not imagine how friendly these people are subtly different in character than Civil War reenactors.

Sunday morning I packed my gear, got some help in loading the wagon on to the trailer and headed for home. I took a quick look at my account book and found that I didn't do as well as last year, no doubt because of the rains, but it was still a good event because I made my appearance, renewed my friendships and relived the life of a frontier photographer. I even met some folks I had photographed several times before only to find that we were in junior and senior highshool together many years ago. Stranger still I had photographed one of them before at a high school dance when I was one of the yearbook photographers.

Well, that's all the news from the frontier. Please write back when time and the inclination permit.

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