23 August 2011

A Fool In Spite of Himself

Chia pays Calabash's nose a visit Sunday
afternoon. (Photo by Kristin Perkins)
About halfway through my Sunday routine, it occurred to me that I've been a fool for ten years.  That is to say, it was ten years ago that my character Calabash sprang, fully-formed, from my forehead.

Not bad for a character that came entirely off the cuff... or perhaps just out of a mask.

I won't go through the full story. If you want to know how Calabash came into being, you can read the full story here: Years of a Clown.

Next year, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire will be an entirely new place. The location will shift to England, under the rule of Good Queen Bess (to be portrayed by Victoria Dzenis). Calabash was the MC of many a morning atop the front gate, and now his voice will be replaced by another.  So too will we lose the stern presence of our John Knox (which only makes sense, really) and many other large and vocal street performers are taking the opportunity to either switch characters or downshift to a less active role.

New queen, new fool (at least I hope someone takes up the standard) and a whole new cast of characters in need of actors to fill them.  A whole new faire indeed.

Never one to leave quietly, Calabash got in one last run, capering before the village gates, haranguing the privateers and pikemen. Even got to deliver his spiel with a sound system! (Luxury!)

Then he wandered the faire and bade a quiet goodbye to his friends and supporters.  On the final day, I delivered two tiny masks of Calabash proportions to the two ladies who made the world safe for fools, his beloved queen: Melissa Haffly, and Mary Dixon, she who first recognized Calabash and called him out "I know you, mischief maker!"

I will miss him more than even I can say.

Then it was a round of hugs and back to the workbench to take up my new role as the village toymaker.

After all, there are are marionettes out there, waiting to be made and fairies aplenty, lying in wait to turn them into real boys.

Like I need the extra mouths to feed.

Toys won't make themselves, after all.  (Photo by Greg Martin)


  1. A lovely farewell. As for the toymaker's picture--you gonna leave the bar code and embossed brand name on those tools? Hmm?

  2. Thanks, Maggie! Hope you're feeling better.

    I thought about Photoshopping those things out, but it seemed dishonest somehow. This is the record of how it was, not how I wished it had been. The clamps were new, and I didn't notice the sticker on one of them until after the pic was taken. I've been trying to decide how intricately to pursue period-accurate tools and clamps and such since I'm not a carpenter, so I won't be using them very often on site. And then there's the portability issue... we shall see. But no more price stickers at least. I promise.
    (Sheepish grin)