When I saw that Philip’s Cub Scout pack was scheduled to visit Hale Farm and Village, I was excited. Even though I used to live within ten miles of the place, I had never been there. The pack was going to qualify for a group rate discount, so it seemed like a great opportunity to finally go. The fact that we were going during their annual Civil War Reenactment was an added bonus.
The first thing I noticed was that it was hot. I was sweaty wearing capris and a t-shirt, so to see men in wool uniforms and women in long-sleeve shirts and skirts covering their ankles made me realize I had nothing to complain about. The place was bustling, but not so crowded that Philip and I couldn’t see most of the exhibits.
We separated from the pack early on. Philip wasn’t much for listening to the educators speak about details of life back then. He was more interested in watching things happen: candle-making, the throwing of a clay pot, yarn being spun into wool. In keeping with Philip’s preference to look more, listen less, we skipped the surrender ceremony to check out the country store, a farmhouse, and the village community center/schoolhouse.
Philip wasn’t completely uninterested in the reenactors. He made himself at home in a camp where several women were slicing kielbasa and apples for lunch. He peeked into tents and listened to the fifes and drums. He checked out the forge in the artillery camp. He might have enjoyed watching the recreation of battles around Appomattox Court House, but that would have meant wandering in the heat for two more hours until they started. We opted to leave the past, go home and cool off in the pool instead.