Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rat-a-tat-tat... rat-a-tat-tat went the drums

As soon as we were up this morning we downed a quick cup of coffee, slathered ourselves in sunscreen and piled into the car. Destination - a re-enactment of the Battle of Crysler Farm from the war of 1812. My great, great, great (and how many other greats?) grandmother, Catherine Fetterley Harkness, witnessed the battle from the cellar window. She is featured in the museum at Upper Canada Village.

On our way we stopped at the McDonalds in Morrisburg for a quick egg-mcmuffin. As it happens the Dutch couple that we had met last weekend were there so we sat with them for a little visit.

We finally made it to Crysler Farm, got parked, got our hats on, and wandered out into another century. There were canvas tents pitched everywhere. People in period costume were going about their 1813 business in their wool clothes, under the sweltering sun. We saw groups of settlers and farmers gathered around fires having a morning meal. There were army personnel with their flashy red coats polishing their guns. There were horses in makeshift stalls.

As we made our way towards the battle monument, perched high on a hill of earth excavated from the original battle field (which, by the was, is under water due to the St. Lawrence Seaway project), I could hear the tinny sound of snare drums. There was a "New Colours" ceremony going on at the top so I walked quickly up the hill as I didn't want to miss it. Standing there under the sun, I wondered how these soldiers in their heavy uniforms would not overheat.

At one point Carm wondered why we hadn't brought the cooler bandanas that I bought last weekend. Well DOOH! They would have been just the ticket!

After the ceremony was over we wandered through the grounds, slowly making our way to the area that has the grave stones that were saved from the flooding of the area. It is a peaceful spot with pretty brick walls dotted with the old headstones. Big shade trees protected us from the sun. It really makes you think about what life must have been like as so many stones showed early deaths and short lives.

The peaceful interlude cooled us off enough to head back into the sun. As I was standing in line to get a tattoo!, my phone rang and it was my mom. They had just arrived so we were trying to figure out where to meet. Looking around for landmarks brought my father right into view. A little bit of a closer look and I could see the top of mom's hat!

We wandered around with them for a while and then took our leave. It was another 2 hours until the actual battle, and while it would have been exciting to see, we weren't really prepared. We hadn't brought chairs, nor the picnic blanket. And it was hot. I was starting to feel overheated - time to go home. The air conditioning in the new car works well! We treated ourselves to a cold ice cream on our way home, and then a splash in the pool once we got here.

How can I describe the feeling of floating in the cool water after all that time in the hot sun? Heavenly would be one word. The pool has heated up to 82F with all this hot weather we've been having, so it isn't exactly cold, but gently cool on our hot skin. I floated into the shade of the nearby tree and closed my eyes against the bright day. Is there any feeling more delicious than a cool swim?

Happy Tails!