Friday, June 29, 2007

Then: Sunday, 19 October, 2003

Closing Day of Faire, and Coco and Sparky are bringing me. This is a big adventure. That Girl has dropped off a large-wheeled wheelchair, suitable for rough terrain, lent to me ‘for as long as needed’ by her mother.

Thank you, Barbara.

Sparky arrives, and helps me fasten the closures on my Irish gown. I never have opportunity to wear non-Mimi garb, so I’m taking it today. Plus it eliminates the bra issue entirely. Sparky struggles, too, despite having full use of both arms. Built neither for comfort nor convenience, these medieval garments, apparently.

In the car, Coco explains her plan: a Humpty Dumpty benefit for me, to cover medical expenses and lost income. She’s printed flyers, and will ask vendors for donations. I am amazed that she has come up with this plan so quickly, though I suppose I ought not to be. She’s amazing, this woman.

Thank you, Coco.

When we get to the faire, I’m left at Cast Call with instructions to meet Sparky and Coco at the White Hart Tavern. Before everyone disappears, I prevail upon Greg the YoYo man to push me down to the White Hart. Near the Pyrate camp, we run into a group. Patrick Barry, little pesky Patrick, whom I met my first season, who at this point has been a State Trouper and has already retired after being injured on duty by a drunk in a car doing 80 MPH. He offers to push me round to some of the places I’d like to go, so the first stop is Ken, of course. “There you are,” he says, just as always. Ken and I chat a bit- he’s heading home to take care of his mom, because the on-scene family members have put her in a nursing home. “Not even sure who’s taking care of who,” he quips, but his voice cracks. I wonder how long he will last.

Patrick is agreeable company. He pushes me and chats with me, and tells me his story. “I LOVED that job,” he mourns. He stays with me until Coco and Sparky show up.

Thank you, Patrick.

He buys a rose for me, ostensibly as an excuse to chat up the girl selling them. It’s very sweet, and others follow suit. By day’s end, I have a lapful, which makes me feel like a princess. Goddess Gracie shows up at the pub, which is a surprise. I ask if she’ll braid my hair. Lacking brush, comb, gel or elastic, she creates a lovely multi-strand flat braid. She says her girls will do my hair the night of my benefit.

Thank you, Gracie.

As people come into the pub, I ask them to sign my book, instead of my cast, which I have no intention of keeping after it comes of. I nap in a sunny patch, and the crew shows up to take me down the steep hill of Royal Stage for the Hack and Slash Christmas Special. It’s fun to watch many of my pals goofing around onstage. But then it’s over. How to get back up the hill? Goddess Gracie looks around for random Big Strong Men: “Help for a broken mime?” she calls, which doesn’t make any sense, since I’m wearing my own face. Still, she finds one, because when the Goddess calls, people answer. A handsome, tall bald man carries me to the uppermost bench, and sets me down gently. In my best Blanche DuBois voice, I tell him, “I have always been indebted to the kindness of strangers,” and kiss his cheek.

Thank you, kind stranger.

I return to the pub. It is by now twilight and nearly too dark to recognize faces. And I am very tired. And cold. Wyatt, wonderful Wyatt Jaster, turns up just now, off stage, out of costume and ready to vocalize. He and I chat together. Onsite. It is odd for both of us. He offers to run errands for me, brings my red cloak, goes on a quest for onion rings, fetches fried mushrooms when the onion rings are gone.

Thank you, Wyatt.

At day’s end, Sparky and Coco are frazzled by donations, plus the cold is hurting Coco. She has spent the entire day running around to vendors, soliciting for me. “We did pretty well,” she says, as though I had anything to do with any of it. Keith the Leaf has turned up at the pub, wondering what he can do to help, and volunteers to push me around, which he does, through missed and muddled meeting places, stopping for a visit with Goddess Gracie, and finally to the car, where he promises that he and Hilby will join me at home later.

Thank you, Keith.

I see Coco’s trunk, always crowded, now filled, not with props or costumes, weapons or blood, but with beautiful items from the generous crafters at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The trunk is packed to capacity. I hold the overflow on my lap, with the roses.

Thank you, vendors.

Thank you, EVERYBODY.

Every one of you is beautiful, and I am overwhelmed.