Stephen Browne

Another first for the Browne family, time travel!

Well not exactly time travel, more like anachronism. Maybe I should back up and explain.

To make a long story short (as my old editor used to say), my daughter, our dog, and I made a trip to Minneapolis to take a look at the campus of an art school she wants to attend. She wanted to see the campus, I wanted to look the neighborhood over to assess how likely it would be to find a reasonably cheap rental home in the area, because I am not thrilled with the idea of boarding school.

Kind of discouraging actually. The school is located in a Van Gotrocks suburb. If we pull this off it’s going to take some logistical planning to manage our country estate (i.e. the cheap house in a rural area) and find a townhouse in the city (a cheap apartment that allows pets that is).

But, my daughter reminded me that the Minnesota Renaissance Faire is currently ongoing and we’d never been there and we had to take the trip anyway sooooo…

And hey, it turns out the Faire is dog-friendly and all you have to do is comply with some entirely reasonable rules about vaccination records and keeping your dog on a no more than four-foot leash.

My daughter put together a vaguely Medieval/Renaissance looking outfit from thrift store purchases, with Doc Martin boots providing a charming anachronistic accent.

“What does anachronism mean, Daddy?”

“It means out of time, like when you see a period movie and there’s a dress with a zipper,” I said.

In my youth I used to play with the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is just one of a host of organizations devoted to the kind of fun that can be had at Faires.

I’d introduced my children to a RenFaire in Oklahoma but this one in Minnesota was huge!

We found a village made up of permanent structures of wood and concrete. From the signs it seems there are vendors who have at least a semi-permanent presence.

And oh how wonderful it was to mingle with such a huge crowd again after lockdown! I’m not a crowd loving person but I was surprised at how nostalgic it felt.

Costumes everywhere made me regret I hadn’t brought my own Highland gear. But not to worry, I found a kilt in the MacNab tartan of my Scottish relatives quite reasonably priced. And I’m going to find an excuse to wear it I swear.

My daughter found a treasure trove of rocks and crystals for her collection, and a black velour hooded cloak.

“I’m going to wear this when I play D&D online!” she crowed. “I wonder if I could wear it to school sometime? I bet I could really scare some kids on Halloween with this!”

Our black border collie Pearl was wonderfully well-behaved albeit somewhat overwhelmed by it all. But she basked in the attention from numerous dog lovers she met.

Gentle readers, I know I don’t have to tell you the news these days is generally not good and I could be writing about it rather than recounting the wonderful time we had doing nothing that has any bearing on the troubles of the world.

Pfaugh! It is at precisely such times we should indulge ourselves in frivolity. What my daughter saw was people making their own entertainment in imaginative and resourceful ways, not passively waiting to be entertained.

And maybe there’s a lesson in that which will serve her well in hard times.

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