Gathering at Garst
July 30-31, 2016
I arrived late Friday to living history area at the Garst Museum in Greenville, OH for the Gathering at Garst event.
Greenville was a quiet event, with numbers down from previous years. We set camp with four tents in a corner of the park and relaxed the night. Rain was a concern for the weekend, as it the sky had angrily drenched the area earlier, but we were hopeful. The air was dense with moisture--so thick that I could see my breath even though I was drenched in sweat.
As I lay on the ground in my tent in the warm air, I felt heat pulled from me, and realized that I would be uncomfortably cold once I fell asleep. It occurred to me that the wet ground was responsible, so I slept on top of my blanket, instead of underneath it--and maintain a cozy body temperature throughout the night.
Saturday morning came and I fried up my regular bacon and eggs. One soldier from Arkansas asked to fall in with us for the weekend, so we gave him a home, which we later grew to regret.
Once the park opened to the public, we received a visit from a young woman interested in history, one Caitlin. Though Capt. Sharp, having removed his rank, dominated the conversation with covering everything from the materials of our uniform to the various battles of the 1st, the rest of us provided solid contributions. I did hope that Capt. Sharp would continue for as long as possible as it kept Ms. Clark in our presence all the more. Her only flaw was that she would soon be moving to Virginia.
We later met with a new recruit, David, another promising student of history.
Throughout the day we presented our living history, teaching about the life of the soldier and about the history of the 1st Tennessee.
Dinner time arrived and a few of us decided to pass on keeping with period and visited a local restaurant called "Maid Rite" and feasted on sandwiches of ground beef.
Back in camp, we held casual conversations, but reached levels of annoyance with our visiting soldier. Throughout the day, this soldier tended to interject in conversations with little to add, usually interrupting a voice of value. During our evening conversations he hijaacked the night with tirades of how he was $5,000 upside-down on his car. I tried to change the subject by commenting how fantastic Sgt. Carte's frock was--but the guest continued on without notice. Pvt Myers and I both vacated the area for some moments to relieve ourselves at the porcelain palace, returning nearly ten minutes later without a single point of the hijaacking missed. I think a clue finally crept into the man's obtuse cranium when Pvt Myers and I relocated our seats away from him and around the campfire, as he finally said his goodbyes (taking some ten minutes to do so) and departing. We were relieved that he had not set a tent.
Sunday was a bit lighter, with two of our numbers unable to return for the day. The lesser numbers had little effect, however, since there was also lesser of the public visiting our camp. We did, however, encounter one former fireman from Tennessee who expressed interest in joining our group--I gave him our contact information and hope to hear from him soon. We also found a young college student who plans to study history that was interested in joining up with us, and I hope to hear from him soon as well.
Our soldier guest did return, to our chagrin--at one point annoying Sgt Carte that he finally spoke up scolded him when he started down a discussion with a member of the public about Bedford Forrest--the details of such subject had no relevance to our purpose.
Overall it was a relaxing weekend, exercising some of our demonstration skills and finding several potential recruits.