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The Lockhouse July 2010, Havre de Grace, MD

Mission's Fish Mug
Photo: Mission's Collection
Mission and his new fish mug.
The Journal of the Surgeon Mission with what used to be the worst background he had ever chosen for a journal. Fortunately, he changed it and you don't have to see the old background. Old yellow skull background
Photo: Mission
(You can see it there at the right. Can you imagine reading the whole page on top of
that?!) Journaling the single day he spent at the Lockhouse event, which took place in Havre de Grace, Maryland on July...well, you can go and read the title for yourself. These intros are getting tedious to write; I'm outta' here. 

Chapter 1st: Ok, I'm not either. (Stupid contract.)  Of stuff pirates do when it rains and they want to shoot, discussions that took place, an Original Three member met, what geese do not fear and any other random things that might fit in the first chapter.

Ah, the Lockhouse Pirate Event...I'm am not quite sure where to even begin this journal, to be honest. See, it requires explaining other things, most of which won't interest you. Naturally it is usual and proper for me to write about things that won't interest you in these journals, but this explanation would take years and cost millions of lives. You would probably lose interest by the end of the first page and go off to check your Facebook page rather than concern yourself with what happened before the Lockhouse. So let me try and sum up. Rabbit sculpture
Photo: Mission's Collection
In Thanksgiving '09 when I was visiting my sister (who lives in Baltimore), she suggested I visit and see Fell's Point during the summer when it is hot (in this case, both literally and figuratively.) To further confuse this narrative, about 5 years ago, Blackjohn from the Piracy Pub and I had made a sort of standing agreement over several rounds of philosophical discussions to meet one day. So I decided to combine these two plans: see Fell's Point and Blackjohn and the Lockhouse event he organizes at the same time. Naturally, this turned out to be a bad decision. I told my sis' I would like to visit July 10-11 and she somehow misunderstood me and thought I meant June 10-11. So she agreed to lend me the spare bedroom. June 10th passed and I didn't show up so she called to find out what had happened.

It was only then that I found out that she was taking her husband on a mystery trip (meaning she was not telling him the destination) for his birthday during the first two weeks of July. (No, his birthday isn't the whole first two weeks of July - that would have been horrific for his poor mother. His birthday is July...somethingth. 7th? 9th? 23rd? I can never remember these things. Fortunately it's not important. Well, at least not to you guys.) So my sister was going to be gone when I wanted to be there. However, she trusts me for some reason and they agreed to loan me their condo and his car while they were gone. Now that's trust! So I invited Shay of the Keys to come along as we'd had such fun at Searles. We spent a long weekend hanging around Baltimore, Annapolis and DC, where we saw things like the giant skinny rabbit sculpture in the Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian (above right).
Photo: Mission's Collection
(You were wondering what the deal was with that photo, weren't you?) There! Now you are up-to-date and can get on with the Journal as it relates to the Lockhouse event. 

When I awoke on Saturday morning - the day we planned to go to the Lockhouse - I found Shay ironing. She volunteered to iron some of my pirate garb and, although this would be a completely foreign experience for my garb, I decided to take her up on her generous offer. (That's Shay at left indulging one of my silk scarves. Just don't get used to that, scarf!) We then headed out to the local Panera (my favorite chain eatery) for egg and cheese sandwiches on ciabatta with tomatoes and chipotle mayonnaise. Even Shay, connoisseur that she is, admitted that it was pretty good, despite the fact that she said she generally didn't think much of egg sandwiches. (Don't take our word, try it some time and see.) I had instinctively known the combo would be good when it was first suggested to me. Mayonnaise makes everything taste good. Possibly even coffee.) We then returned to the condo, got into garb and headed out for the wilds of Havre de Grace in the rain. On the way, Shay even agreed to sew up some loose stitching in my waistcoat (below right). My garb never had it so good.

Street scene
Photo: Not from Google. Nope. Seriously, would I lie?
Shay sewing pants
Photo: Mission's Collection

Now, while my garb was getting too much attention and I was driving my brother-in-law's car in the rainy Saturday morning Baltimore-to-Havre de Grace traffic jam, let me tell you a bit more about my interest in meeting Blackjohn. He is one of three people I've wanted to meet from the Piracy Pub since I first signed up in 2004. The other two of the three were the estimable Patrick Hand and Duchess. Patrick I met years ago. The Duchess, on the other hand, seems insistent upon forever being a "virtual friend". I'd say it's because she's shy, but, in fact, she's not. Not even remotely. Maybe someone told her that I am allergic to deodorant or something. (No, of course I'm not!) 

But we were talking about Blackjohn. John and I seems to share that weird fascination with science and philosophy that only people who spend far too much of there lives on the 'net can appreciate. So we hit it off from the start, making me want to meet him some day.  He had met and abused one of my gibbeted corpses, Becky at Lockhouse in November 2009 and even did the Ghostbuster gag on her - a month before I did it! (Below right.) How could I not want to meet someone like that? But all things in their due time...back to our regularly scheduled journal.

Blackjohn and Becky 1
Photo: The Bagley's Collection, 11/09)
Blackjohn and Becky 2
Photo: The Bagley's Collection, 11/09)
Blackjohn and Becky 3
Photo: The Bagley's Collection, 11/09)

The Lockhouse Pirate Days
Photo: Mission's Collection

Pirates hiding from the rain
Photo: Mission's Collection
We found the Lockhouse without too much trouble (unlike the previous days of our trip, where we regularly missed turns causing us to have to navigate several one way streets to find our way back. Where is I-95 again?!) There was a huge white tent set up in front of the little red Lockhouse building  (above). A light rain was falling when we got there, but the distant crack of black powder weapons indicated the direction we should take to find the pirate gathering - apparently on the river side of the Lockhouse if my ears were working. After changing my tennies, we trooped around the white tent around the back of the red brick building. All the pirates were rather comically hiding under the overhang of the porch, chatting loudly and boldly about this and that.

Right: 'cuz pirates turn into brown sugar...

Photo: Mission's Collection
At last I met Blackjohn! For those of you who have never met him, let me just say my first thought was, 'You're exactly the way I imagined.' Of course, you have no idea what that means, so let me say that he was boisterous, intelligent and gregarious. He had a booming voice, which Shay thought was due to the fact that he had "so many kids." (He actually has two sons - we had previously been talking about people she has never met and she had confused Blackjohn with Silas Thatcher, who has a baseball team of children. (Although I confess that I have doubts about Zach and Ryan's potential ERA for the upcoming pennant race.))  I didn't even fault him for caving into the latest trend and owning an iPhone 4 (at left. Note that I am not making an insipid cracks like, "What be that strange device in your hand, sir?" That sort of humor drives me crazy. Only indirect humor, word-play jokes and really stupid puns are acceptable here.) Several years ago he promised to buy me a shot of scotch "...if...no when we meet", which is not something your ship's surgeon would forget as it is his favorite liquor. But John had apparently forgotten that detail. He later offered me some very good Cruzan rum from the trunk of his car, however. This worked just fine, given the situation. He also claimed to have a variety of wigs which I had hoped to piece together into a nice photo retrospective until I lost interest in that particular project.

Cuisto Mako with Hurdy Gurdy
Photo: Mission's Collection
HG cartoon
Photo: "Borrowed")
Music was being provided by someone in the corner playing what I learned was a hurdy-gurdy. Now you may think that a hurdy-gurdy is one of those boxes that is played while a monkey dances and begs coins like you saw in Bugs Bunny cartoons. Silly oaf! It is a period instrument that takes talent and skill to play...(as well as being a box played while a monkey dances and begs coins. Where was Lob?) The player turned out to be Cuisto Mako who was as delighted to meet Shay and I as we were him. (Re-enacting for Pyracy Pub members is kind of like a treasure hunt for other members - which is really most appropriate given the context.) Cuisto was down from Montreal - a ten hour drive - to visit the Lockhouse because, as he put it, "It's the closest pirate event I could find."

Cuisto, Shay and I all marveled at each other and how far we had traveled for a bit. (Coming from Key Largo, Shay won the Longest Distance Traveled Award.) Living in the French-speaking part of Canada, Cuisto had a delightful French lilt to his English. Cuisto Mako protests
Photo: Mission's Collection
Cuisto, egg in hand incensed
at our bad French accents
Everyone tried to mimic this accent, but we all came off sounding like a bunch of Americans doing a bad imitation of the bad French in a good comedy sketch. Shay sent me some notes of her perspective of the weekend which were very warm and humorous. She said I could quote in this journal, which I will now do. "There is a glass shark gent, from Montreal, who plays the hurdy-gurdy beautifully. His mug is as individual as he as it is the bottom half of an ostrich egg." Now you, like me, may be wondering what she meant by "a glass shark gent." Shay is fond of nick-naming things she likes and I thought this might just be another example of that. But no, when she heard us say 'Cuisto' she thought it was 'Crystal' and thus she came up with "glass shark." Uh huh
(Photo: Also "borrowed")
"Worst case I've ever seen."
(Elmer J Fudd, Millionaire)
(Get it yet? Keep thinking about it...) Cuisto arrived Friday night to discover no other pirates. Having made no arrangements, some folks who owned a mansion and a yacht and lived on the water somewhere took pity on him and put him up for the night. (Thus giving me an in for another WB cartoon joke.)

Blackjohn's crew is called The Pirate Brethren and several of them were in attendance. Since my primary reason in going to the Lockhouse was to meet him, I was a little concerned that he would be too busy to talk with. He assured me that I needn't worry because "it almost runs itself, so if I'm busy it will be me busy trying to have fun!" This proved to be true, especially with everyone huddled on the porch.

I must confess that I was a bit stunned this trip. Usually I have to fend for myself when it comes to pirate events, but with Shay along as my partner in crime I was a bit less focused than usual and didn't manage to gather quite as much info on some of my fellow pirates as I usually do. Nevertheless, I did want to mention a few of John's crewmates so that you won't be shocked when I decide to mention them later in this little narrative. (Or don't decide to. Some of them just made for interesting photos and so you have to see them.) Below we have various members of the Brethren including (from left) 1. Dave - who looks like he could be the captain of a whaling ship if we were re-enacting two centuries later, 2. Palmetto - the strong silent type who John informed me has "been a member since the beginning", 3. Andrew - who has also spent time as a member of the much vaunted Sea Rats re-enactors and lastly and almost certainly leastly, 4. Billy Balls - who is out of uniform in this shot watching John prepare his weapon for firing.

Dave Photo: Mission's Collection Palmetto Photo: Mission Andrew Photo: Mission's Collection Billy in street clothes Photo: Mission's Collection

Billy, who doesn't mind being called "Balls" to his face. (In fact, I suspect he may actually prefer it.) He wasn't going to get into his garb, but, after much pleading and prodding by John...well, maybe not so much, but a little anyhow, he finally acquiesced. He is an lawyer with a cynical wit so sharp that he could use it alone as a weapon. He also does a mean Cthulhu or possibly Davy Jones (below center and right). John told me that Balls was well versed in philosophy and I suspect he, Blackjohn and I could have had a unique and bizarre discussion over a few scotches at the local pub. (The more scotches, the more unique and bizarre the discussion.) 

Billy picking his nose or something Photo: Mission's Collection Billy Cthulhu Photo: Mission's Collection Billy Cthulhu 2 Photo: Mission's Collection

I had mentioned that we heard firing when we arrived. However, when we found the pirates, they were all cowering under the porch overhang. The rain lightly fell the for the first hour or two after we arrived, so little black powder was being used. This seemed to put a real damper on the proceedings - these guys were obviously here to fire. The rain finally slackened a bit and a few brave souls decided to give firing a shot. (Which is not a turn of phrase in this case - I mean that literally.) Being the leader, Blackjohn summoned his bravado and swaggered out with his firing piece in hand, pointing it in such a way to effectively take out some of those travelers going across the bridges near the park and...misfired. (First sequence below.) So Palmetto, being a long-standing member of the Pirate Brethren, strode out confidently and fired on the first try. 

Blackjohn not firing 1
Photo: Mission
Blackjohn not firing 2
Photo: Mission
Blackjohn not firing 3
Photo: Mission
Palmetto firing
Photo: Mission's Collection
Palmetto looks at his gun Photo: Mission's Collection
"This almost never happens to me..." "And that's how you shoot bridge travelers!"

With the successful loud report of Palmetto's weapon, two things happened: 

First, several of the Brethren grabbed their guns (for all had at least one gun, and many of them had more than one) and took a shot. Below left, we have Crimson Corsair firing.  I only spoke with him briefly. I must confess, I didn't realize that he was Crimson Corsair (yet another member of the Pyracy Pub) or I'd have given him a bit more attention in this journal. Below center, Charlie, a Brethren member whom I promise to talk more about on page 3, is attempting to "free them from their condos and...bring them over here." (See, those are condos on the other side of the river. OK, that was a bit of a stretch, but you should be used to such things unless this is your first Surgeon's Journal.) 

Second, people with kids showed up, which inspired Andrew to attempt an impromptu re-enactment of The Most Dangerous Game to the delight and/or horror of the tourists (below right).

Crimson Corsair Firing Photo: Mission's Collection Charlie firing Photo: Mission's Collection Preparing a gun Photo: Mission's Collection

Photo: Mission's Collection
Espying some geese on the other side of the waterway by the Lock (that dark moat-like thing in several of these photos is a waterway), Art Malstein decided to use his weapon as a goose deterrent. We all hate geese, right? What with the hissing and pooping and not letting you pet them and everything...who needs them? (You may remember Art from Captain Searle's Raid earlier this year. Or you may not so I hot-linked it. Art and his wife Janet had brought some of the period clothing with them and set up shop.) So Art prepared his gun (at right) so that he could fire and scare those geese. Keeping a sure eye on the offending birds (below left), Art carefully and stealthily crept up to the wall of the waterway, took aim and fired! (Below center and right.) The geese, who could also see the waterway between them, ignored Art. (This is yet another reason to hate them.)

Geese on Lock Photo: Mission's Collection Art Firing at Geese 1 Photo: Mission's Collection Art Firing at Geese 2 Photo: Mission's Collection

Art talking with Shay 1
Photo: Mission's Collection
Art talking with Shay 2
Photo: Mission's Collection
Shay was delighted to find Art and Janet at this event. Like me, she had met them at Searle's. She spent quite a bit of time talking with Art after the flurry of firing ended. It would be really cool if I explained what they had talked about at this juncture, but I have no idea. So, per usual, I'll just make something up.

At left, Art explains to Shay that the waterway, which stretches "down that way" is actually called a canal which was begun in 1836 and completed in 1840. 

Speaking of Shay, the time spent hanging around together exposed me to one of the great mysteries that have plagued my existence for most of my adult life: sewing. (What? What did you think I meant?)  Shay had used this trip to give her impetus to complete her female garb. Regular readers will recall that she had dressed in male attire at the past few events we had attended, even adopting a frightening mustache at one. I mentioned to her that Blackjohn was a fairly serious re-enactor and she took this fact to heart, studying the photos of the women from the November 2009 Lockhouse which Michael and Kate Bagley had taken. From this, she determined to make herself a pair of stays. (Shay has actually spent much of her adult life taking needle and thread to fabric.) Unfortunately, she didn't realize what she was getting herself into....

A set of brown stays
(Photo: A smashed brown moth, found on the road dead)
Stays have boning in them, which sounded interesting to me, but turned out to be more like punishment for her. Shay explained why to me in great technical detail, but when it comes to sewing, I close my ears and mentally start going, "Lalalalalala..." This is why I am so happy Michael makes most of my things. Anyhow, Shay purchased a pretty expensive pattern for stays. Price does not dictate clarity, however. It sounds like it was written in poorly-spelled Latin and went off on tangents about how to properly align the thrusters on the space shuttle. As if sewing weren't punishment enough, she actually made two whole cardboard prototypes! One would have put me off my feed with a vow never to attempt sewing. (Well, if I hadn't already taken such a vow, that is.) She further wound up talking with several people in an attempt to make the thing from the bizarre plans (including Michael & Kate Bagley and Jack Roberts.) After 3 weeks of sewing, she finally announced, via an email received at 3:43 AM, that it was done and she would be appearing as Mistress Treva Shay. (Hee hee.)

Photo: Mission's Collection
However, when we got her into them this morning, she was not entirely pleased with them. It seems that, after all that work, they didn't fit the way she wanted. She referred to them as the "stovepipe stays" because they fit her as badly as a stovepipe. But let tell you herself by quoting her letter again. "Stovepipe Stays, meanwhile, were horrified at Mantua Minx's [a mantua is a sort of shawl] pathetic attempts to garner attention through her loose behavior. Stovepipe Stays  compensated by proudly boasting Shay's attempts to become a lady by winning the 'Most Ill-Fitting, Awkward and Uncomplimentary to the Female Anatomy' award. Between Stovepipe's puritan over-protectiveness and M. Minx's sorrowful head-shaking resulting in yet another shoulder being bared, the juxtaposition resulted in puzzled, pitying glances as onlookers innocently inquired, 'Is that what the women really wore in the Pirate Era?' 'Yes,' I assured them, 'only better-fitting.' I took solace that all the weeks hand-sewing were not in vain, as I have learned a lot from my first attempt. An outfit this ill-fitting can only be improved next round, as nothing could be worse." Animated mantuas and stays talking to one another! Ha ha ha! Maybe she should be writing the Surgeon's Journals. 

To her credit, she was charming and lovely anyhow, gamely wearing the outfit and soliciting advice from those at the event who sewed. (Not me. Never me. If anything could make the process worse, it would be me and my advice on sewing. Trust me.) She even let me quote that bit above, which I think was mighty brave. And that was the adventure of Shay's stays, v. 1.0. Say...Shay's stays! Ha ha! Shay's stays! Shay's stays! Shay's stays! We should pair them up with Shannon's Cannons

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