Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kris Kinder... an interestingly wonderful day.

I know it has been a while since I've written, and this is without apology. My life has been both hectic, and punishing these past few months, including the unexpected loss of a dear friend and family member, our family dog, Pippin. 

I don't really know where the rough part began, but I can say that my mundane roll as a director of operations at a convention, as well as my work at Triumph both burned me out more than I was expecting. By the time the middle of October came, I was physically exhausted, and mentally burned out. 

Normally, my wife and I would have made our regular pilgrimage to Wiesenfeuer's Yule revel, but this year we learned that a dear friend of ours was being elevated to Laurel in neighboring Calontir. So, On Friday we departed Mooneschadowe for the 4 hours trek north and east to the Barony Forgotten Sea, Calontir. 

Kris Kinder is ostensibly a shopping event, and the huge merchant's area was a famously well stocked site with merchants in every corner and aisle, selling wears of nearly every descriptions and type one could think of. That, however, was only part of the appeal of the event. There were meetings, and conversations, and food... and then of course the elevation.

I started the event at the Calontir A&S meeting. I think  there was some "oh... he's Ansteorran" moment when I spoke, and I think that I was probably a little more preachy than I strictly should have been, but I doubt I offended anyone, and the conversations were amazing and enlightening. 

The afternoon was a little more interesting, though, The herald's meeting was a stark reminder of how differently our neighbors and we do things heraldically. Chiefly, I think that the largest difference is that the local officers are expected to be more proactive with their heraldic responsibilities to the submitter, and that there is more of a push from the top to actively track and report back to the submitter on submissions. Honestly, from what I have seen, the push in Ansteorra is much less towards this level of service, and more towards the basics of getting monthly reports in and making sure checks are handed to the reeve and not us. (This all said a a current freelancer, and past regional herald). I won't pull any punches, I think that our kingdom might have a few things to learn from our neighbors to the north. 

I spent some considerable time at the makeshift herald's table, mostly taking with a comrades in Calontir and occasionally a few locals looking to arms or names. It was definitely a good time for me, and a good chance to talk with the heralds that were there.

Court was was something special for my wife and I. I have known Aline since she started college at OSU, well over a decade ago, and I have known her husband since even before that; in fact I was at one point in time Alarich's Man-at-arms. I credit him with much of the early guidance I received (and needed) in the SCA. I was thrilled with the two of them started courting, and was a guest at their wedding. When I learned that Aline had been invited to join the order of the Laurel, I found it a fitting next chapter in the life of a remarkable woman. 

Calontir seems to have a much tighter, or more streamlined ceremony to their elevations than Ansteora. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but I am also not saying it is a good thing. The differences, however, were striking, and interesting to note.

In true Calontiri tradition, there was a post revel, which I was informed would entail a lot of loud talking and copious amounts of alcohol. I'm not opposed to attending these gatherings, (being the only sober guy in a room can be quite entertaining), however with my wife and son in tow, there was not real likelihood of us visiting this one. 

Rather, I took a chance and tracked down Mistriss Sofya, whom I had spoken with via the FB herald's community on countless occasions when I needed help with some of my more "demanding" heraldry projects. I invited her to join my family and I for dinner, and was thrilled when she agreed. The four of us enjoyed sushi and good conversation for well over an hour, and for the first time since my first IM conversation on Facebook over a year before, I got to really meet the person behind the name. 

The closing chapter of the day was getting back to our hosts home that night. Eadward and Evelyn are new members to the society, and wonderful hosts. My family was treated like kin in their home, and the ability to rest well before the 5 hours drive home was a welcome one. 

As as been the case in the past, Calontir put on a wonderful event, and were wonderful hosts yet again.

Cheers to all my friends there, old and new. 

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