As we celebrate the end of Advent and move into the Christmas season, I’m reminded of all the wonderful things the Regiment has done this year. We tramped around at Guilford, had a lazy weekend at Carter Mansion in the spring, battled and burned at May Seige, sweated our brains out at the July 4th muster, represented ourselves well at places like Cowpens, Walnut Grove (as you can see <—–) and other wonderful events. The nice thing about all this is how the season ends and that’s with the Harvest Celebration and the jollification at Carter Mansion.
The Harvest celebration was on Nov. 17 and 18th. It was a terrific weekend filled with activity. After colors were raised on Saturday, the fort was a beehive of activity. Doug and Donna Ledbetter, Tony Devault, Lisa, Chenoa and Rachael Bennett were cooking as was I. Chad was demonstrating winter preparation of food and Bucky Simerly and Matt were making apple butter all day long. The tavern was ably manned by George Federer and Kim was working on his latest skin. Even the native contingent was there in full force.
The men worked up a heck of an appetite during the drill and one has to admit they looked pretty sharp as they looked like one as they moved. Finally at around 1 PM, the Colonel read a proclamation by North Carolina Richard Caswell declaring a day of thanksgiving after the victory at Saratoga and the tables groaned with food. Have you ever seen so much food in one place that you lost your appetite? That’s what usually happens to me and it looked so good and smelled so excellent, I couldn’t eat for a while but this didn’t stop any of the rest of the members, I have to say. I really thought there would be a ton of leftovers but such was not the case. By mid afternoon , it was all gone and the order of the afternoon was nothing more than total relaxation. The was a lot of people passing though the fort all day long; Chad estimated that there was upward of 700 plus and I think that was conservative. Jane Doan and I were sitting outside of cabin 4 and Jane was cradling her grandson who was fast asleep under a blanket. A lady looked over and asked whether the baby Jane was holding was a real baby or a fake colonial baby. It was TOUGH keeping a straight face but Jane said it was her grandson. I felt like saying that the baby was real but Jane was a fake Colonial grandmother but fortunately my mouth didn’t overreach my brain, not this time anyway. Later, after the public left , Chad gave us a guided tour of the new soon-to-be-completed museum at the visitors center. It’s a marvel how the museum is coming together and how real the Sycamore trees and the fort walls look. It will be a beautiful museum when it is completed. After the tour, everyone gathered to watch Nicholas Nickelby and then gathered at the tavern. You could hear the laughter all over the place.
Sunday was another beautiful, warm day, a repeat of Saturday minus the food. David Doan led the Sunday service and his message was wonderful. Besides the membership just kicking back , enjoying each other, the ladies had high tea. Desserts appeared from out of nowhere and Jennifer donated some of the Mars Heritage chocolate that is being sold in the gift shop. I have to say I am not a fan of chocolate but this———— oh my GOODNESS! I made 10 cups and it was gone in no time. Altogether, this was one of the easiest and most enjoyable Harvest Celebrations we’ve had and everyone was loath to leave.
The Christmas season opened with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Elizabethton the week before Christmas at Carter Mansion and the “North Carolina musketeers” made a joyful noise (eventually after the choir did their thing, the master of ceremonies thanked everyone over and over again) and made a pretty good showing. Christmas at Carter Mansion was on the evenings of Dec. 7 and 8th and rounded out the 2012 season for the Regiment. It’s a different feel to be sure. The mansion was cloaked in elegance as Mr. and Mrs. Carter (Chad Bogart and Linda Ricker) welcomed their guests. This year, the membership was arranged in various places as greeters and it worked out very well. Members made hot cider and served the guests near the visitor’s center, John Large manned the bonfire were people could enjoy a good blaze. Ronnie and Chris talked about the victory at Kings Mountain and the Cherokee uprising, Susannah Kulikowski and the Bennett ladies were in the parlor making pomanders, Tony Devault greeted the public in Carter’s office, Mary Jane Kennedy told stories in the children’s room and Jenny Kilgore was in the landing doing pencil drawings. I was in the Carter bedroom at the walking wheel talking about the house architecture and 18th century Christmas traditions (such as they were) in the frontier. Everyone looked so lovely in their holiday best! Kathryn Grist, Retha and Ken Reece looked like they could have just come from Colonial Williamsburg to visit. Bucky and Matt, Ronnie, Mike Mankin, Randy Curde , Sterling and Adam made joyful noises reminiscent of the guns going off in colonial times .Guests were treated to music and a Virginia reel outside of the Mansion. I think that the Carters would have definitely approved of the nights’ proceedings and one could almost sense the house was smiling.