Every year we celebrate Old Christmas and each year it gets better and better. It’s one of the musters that the members look forward to knowing that there is a real possibility that we’ll be freezing and there would be snow. This didn’t happen on Old Christmas weekend. Many of the members came to the fort during the preceeding week to decorate and stage the cabins. Mike Mankin dragged and dropped old christmas trees (no pun intended) that were in the “to be chipped” pile in the parking lot and we had a lot of greenery to use to decorate with. Each cabin was different: Mike Mankin and Ronnie kept the tavern in colonial English style
The Bennets and Suzanna Kulikowski transformed the Talbot House into an English plantation home. Bob McCroskey and Tony DeVault gussied up the man-cave to reflect their Irish heritage, I kept a Palatine German cabin and Chad Bogart klicked his Kloppen to Dutch carols. Oh yes, the cabins were so inviting and over one-thousand, yes, I said OVER ONE -THOUSAND people showed up on Saturday to look, ask questions, sample the Christmas treats and celebrate the last of the Christmas season with us.
It was an exhausting day to be sure; I think next year I will make a little tape that says at the end “this message will replay in two minutes” and then tape what I have to say about Christmas kept by German settlers. I never thought as many people as did could cram themselves in those cabins. It was like back in the day when kids would stuff themselves into a Volkswagon Beetle to see how many it would hold. Chad dropped the flag at 3:00 PM or there about. On the surface it was because several members were going up to the Blockhouse in Duffield , VA, to celebrate their Christmas and support them as they do us at our May Seige. I think, though, that he dropped the flag because no one had voice left. I know mine was totally gone.
During the day, Tony had made a lovely beef stew and cornbread and I had made collops of Venison with root veggies and a loaf of snow bread for dinner. Those who stayed made their way to the Tavern and shared the time eating, telling stories, laughing and recuperating.
Sunday was not the nice weather day that Saturday was. It snowed a mushy snow through the night and added to the rain, turned the ground to MUSH! Jason spread as much hay as the park had but it still was a muddy, messy day especially after the frontier service led by Chad. It was a beautiful message he gave about the meaning of the gifts of the wise men and Christmas itself. In spite of the nastiness, I estimated that over three hundred people made their way to see the fort, not too bad at all.
It was sad to have to pack up the cabins at the end of the day; Christmas season with all the joys and color is done for another year and we survived it.it was a time for joy and seeing wonderful friends and it’s a hope that all those who kept Old Christmas or helped us celebrate it keep it in their hearts until the next one comes.