This weekend my wife and I traveled to a town outside of Wichita Falls, Texas, for an SCA event hosted by the group local to Norman, Oklahoma, just outside of Oklahoma City. We weren’t initially planning to go, but a friend of ours let us know that we pretty much needed to be there, so I poked and prodded the budget until we could afford the event and the gas necessary to make the five-hour trip to site.
During the week, we managed to score a ride with a friend of ours who lives in Temple, and together we rode to another friend’s place in Fort Worth to crash for the night. We woke up early the next morning and started on the two-hour trip to the event.
The event was a busy one. In addition to the armored and rapier combat and archery, there were three peerage vigils to attend, as well as classes, a tavern, and general socializing. For those that don’t know, there are four awards in the SCA that are consistent no matter where you are in the world. One is for excellence in armored combat, one is for excellence in the arts and sciences, one is for a long history of excellent service, and the last and most recent is for excellence in rapier combat. These awards are the highest that can be attained in their respective fields, and collectively these four awards are considered the peerage. When one is offered admission to one of the peerage orders, it is customary for that person to sit vigil, where others can come and offer words of advice, wisdom, or congratulations, while usually partaking of food and drink offered to the attendees. The three vigils represented candidates for all of the peerage orders save for rapier combat.
There were several people at this event that I hadn’t seen in many years, and it was very good to see them and catch up on the years since we were last together. I attended a class on commedia dell’arte, the 15th century Italian form of improvisational theater, and while I didn’t actively participate, I learned an awful lot and gained a new interest in the SCA.
Finally the night came and with it was evening court, where many awards were presented – so many, in fact, that there were two intermissions. The last award of the second session was the one we’d come to witness. A very dear friend of ours – the one that drove us from Temple through Fort Worth and on to the event, in fact – was given a court barony, which in the kingdom that covers Oklahoma and most of Texas is the highest award one can receive short of peerage. Our friend was completely blindsided by the award and the audience rose to their feet and cheered loud and long for him. This award was very, very well-deserved and we were thrilled to be able to be there to see him get it.
The third session was reserved for the three peerage elevation ceremonies, and a friend of mine from long ago led the procession for one of the ceremonies. Her voice was easily heard throughout the hall and her words set the tone for the rest of the ceremony. As it turns out, this was the first time that she’d led a procession, but she looked like an old pro at it. I got a chance to catch up with her after court ended and was pleasantly surprised to see that she remembered me after all these years – it had been close to fifteen years since I last saw her.
My blood sugar began to crash shortly after court, so the farewells that I was hoping to be able to deliver were cut short by my need to get off site and regulate my glucose. By the time we got back to Fort Worth for the night, it was 3:00 am and we quickly went to sleep.
We got up the next morning, said farewell to our host, and drove back to pick up our car in Temple, then headed home where we collapsed in bed for a lengthy nap.
It was an amazing weekend and I’m so thankful to the event’s hosts for putting on such a great event. It reminded me that I need to head north more often, because there are some really good people up there, having a great time.