September 15, 2006

River Rendezvous

Today Rhiannon went on an all day field trip with friends from our homeschool support group. She went to the River Rendezvous, a living history festival whose goal is to demonstrate the lifestyles of people living in Minnesota between 1800 and 1870. It focuses on the history and culture of the American Indians, the fur traders and the early settlers. I stayed home with Ciaran and Sirah and her is Rhia's description of the day. In her own words as she dictates them to me....

Well first we went to see someone and he was joking around. He was telling you to stay with your group and joked that he would whip kids if they went away, but he said he couldn't so he would just tell you to go home.

Next we went to see this tent and in it there was a medical and magic show. First they were talking about how medicine shows would go around and do stuff. Then his son did some magic tricks. He juggled one, two, three, five balls, flaming torches and then he and his dad had a little fight. He kept handing him and then he kept lighting them and blowing them out on accident. Then he got people to volunteer and he found jeremiah and tetnie and then he had tetnie and jeremiah and him hold a ring and they stuck together in a chain though the hole was in the middle and not in the chain. He was actually very funny because he kept taunting Jeremiah. Jeremiah was really funny. Then he had his son lay on a bed of nails without his shirt and then had five people come up and feel that they were real nails and they lied down on them and put a small one on top of him and had another volunteer come up and she stepped on the iron spike that was laid across his chest and after about one minute she stepped back down and then she went back to her seat and he got his son back up off and showed where the nails had poked him but there was no injury or anything.

Next at the tent we saw him do the fire eater and this was a very funny thing because he took torches and lit them with real fire and swallow them and burp up the fire and once it actually scorched the top of the tent. Then he actually swallowed the fire and he said that actually pretty much tastes like chicken but don't try it at home.

After we left the tent we went to go to lunch and then we went to cat and mouse. It is a game kind of like tug of war except you need to find a stone or something that you can stand on. Then you find long pieces of rope and tie them together and then you each start out with one and the rest in the middle and the first person to have a foot off the boat or fall down loses.

Then we went to see rice picking. This guy from China told us about it. How they pick it to how they package it and used it in their homes. The neatest part about this was people actually wore special shoes called rice jigging shoes. Usually small women and children are used to jig around in the pit with all the rice to help get all the moisture out of the rice. There is one rule you can not let any dirt or earth or anything else get on your rice jigging shoes.

Then we went to a tannery where we saw him show us how he makes stuff. He takes it from killing an animal or finding a dead animal or picking up the hides of an animal that someone already killed then they would pick it up and scrap all the meat off and get the tan and leather and make hats and coats and shoes and stuff. We actually did learn one really neat thing. If you ever find an eagle feather on the ground don't pick it up or put it in your hat because that is against the law. The tannery smelled really bad and it was covered in flies because of all the animal skins.

Next we went to a chair making shop where they make chairs and stools and tables. They carved pieces out of trees and used special tools to make a round top with little holes in them. They showed the tools and said these have sharp blades. The neatest part about this place was that every single there had something that was wood on it, so it was really a wood shop.

Next we went to early medicine and he showed us how back in that time he would do stuff and back then they did not have any painkillers or anything. The three most painful things I think were. One if you got what we now would call a migraine, back then they would think he had gone crazy for a couple of days and say "Hey this man has a demon, let's take it out" and then they would drill a hole in the top of your head! Second was when you get a lockjaw. If you didn't have a gap between your two front teeth, then they would just knock a piece of your tooth out and they would use this little nail drill thingy and they would twist it into your jaw so it would open and they would have you bite down really hard and fast on a piece of leather and keep doing that for about a day. The third most painful thing was when during a battle people came in and asked him for help because many of these soldiers that came in would come limping because bullets had been shot into their legs they would take a big knife and cut out your bone. They would put you to sleep instead of our breathing into a mask though they have this little bottle thing of stuff and it didn't taste good and it didn't smell good but you would drink a whole bottle and then for about one minute it would not be good and then you would fall asleep and they would do the stuff on you.

Last of all we went to this place it was kind of like cricket but they use different nets, it is lacrosse. They seperated kids on teams. It was the homeschool against another school and had us do a quick game. We went over to a man in the corner and he told kids about how it happened. If you made a mistake when playing then a grandma would come out and hit you with a stick. And just a scrap on your head then and you could die from infection back then. They did not have the medicines to cure the infections.

Then we went to a candy store and we all bought rock candy. I had a lot of fun and it would have been perfect except for one thing, the heat! I did kind of wish I wore shorts but I got lots of complements on my pioneer dress so I'm glad I wore that.


  1. Great narration! As someone who was there, I can clarify a couple of things: I believe the "guy from China" was a Native American - if not full-blood, than close. Maybe he mentioned China and I didn't hear it, though. He spoke strongly about the benefits of being a card-carrying Native American.

    And I think the tannery smelled bad because it was just on the other side of the porta-potties. :P

    But what a great memory she has! Very descriptive, too.

  2. Grandpa12:07 PM

    I can't even recall everyting you wrote down let alone write down such level of detail from memmory. I will always be careful what I say to you because I know some day I would hear "grandpa three years ago you said". You are an amazing ANGEL.

    It is great to follow all of your adventures and it helps in between visits to know what you are going through. Keep on BBBLLLOOOGGGIIINNGG

    Family Forever
    Love Grandpa