In which I return from California for a visit and attend the Michigan Renaissance Festival (photos) with my friend Michelle F.
On Friday I woke about noon and had bacon and tomato sandwiches for lunch with my dad. In the afternoon I drove to Mt. Pleasant to meet Michelle F., a friend from high school I had not seen or talked to for years and years. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Michelle is how I had remembered her—cute, fun, smart (and short). She is now a student in music at Central Michigan University. She sings and plays the violin.
The CMU choirs were having a picnic that night in a city park. Michelle was going and I tagged along. She drove and picked up a couple of choir friends along the way. The picnic was not all that happenin', but the food was tasty and all the beautiful women there made me wish I had musical ability. We stayed there for an hour and a half and Michelle joined a volleyball game before we had to leave to take one of her friends home early.
Michelle took me back to her apartment and introduced me to her roommate Jen F., then her friend Annie came by to ask Michelle for advice. After that we had nothing to do, so we went out and rented a movie, brought it back and watched it. It was Kate and Leopold and we both enjoyed it. About the time it was over Michelle's other sometime roommate Jen S. showed up. The three of us, and then just Michelle and I, talked for a long time, and then we went off to sleep.
In the morning I woke about 8:30. Michelle toasted some waffles for breakfast. The night before I'd talked her into going to the Michigan Renaissance Festival with me, so we drove separately from Mt. Pleasant to my parents' house in DeWitt, and then together from there to the festival in Holly. I put on my costume and grabbed my camera and we went off into the festival. It was familiar to me and full of my friends and new to Michelle and full of interest, so we had fun just wandering around.
We went to the "plot" shows at 2:00, 4:00, and 5:00. I met Ale's parents at the 2:00 show, not to mention Ale in this year's role of Constance. The chess match was next, but it was better than usual. The 5:00 was a stunt show, with Queen Elizabeth raised into the air in a cage and plenty of sword-fighting.
For the first few hours at the fest, I looked into every food booth I passed, trying to find my friend Ashley T., who was supposed to be working in one of them. Finally I ran into her near the front gate at the fairy wings stand, which was her new job. She was working then, but she joined Michelle and me after the chess show.
A couple of times in the afternoon I ran into a woman in tan shorts and a small shirt. Each time I wondered for a moment if she was my friend Azalia, but I knew that Azalia would have period dress and longer hair. I ran into her again after the stunt show as Michelle and Ashley dallied along with Tom from Ring of Steel, who was busy playing his part as a gypsy who had lost his papers. She walked close and looked into my eyes. "Pardon me," she said, "but are you the gentleman who last year gave me a necklace bearing a sword and a rose?"
"Yes," was all I said, and we embraced. Over the year, I had shaved and cut my hair; she had cut her hair and that day she had forgotten her dress, which was fine since this year she was a stage manager. We caught up with each other a little, and then Michelle, Ashley, Azalia, and I all walked together to the bunny fencing arena and talked together more and took pictures.
All too soon, it was 7:00, and the festival ended. Dale left with Ale and Caroline, Ashley left with her mother, and since there seemed little chance of a big happy dinner party with my other friends, Michelle and I left by ourselves soon afterward.
We ate dinner at a little fast-food Mexican place in Holly, and then we drove back to my parents' house in DeWitt. I pulled up my photographs on the computer to show Michelle. She left, and I went to bed.