Saturday, March 11, 2017

Playing Hooky



School is important. You gotta learn your three R's. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Though only one begins with an R. Never mind.

My daughter went to school. Young, impressionable thing. With hardly a thought in that wooly head! But not to worry. She taught the school everything she could!

I remember. One day in January. I had a crazy idea. She had taught the school as much as they could absorb for one day and as much as they could stomach. So I thought, Why not play hooky? School can survive for a day. So I called in sick to work and kept her out of school. We were both truants. How fun!

We went to Sturbridge Village. The place was vacant. Almost a ghost town. There was snow on the ground. The air was crisp. Truant officers hid in the shadows.

We found nineteenth century people making maple syrup. From the tapped trees to the cauldron of sap boiling over a fire, we learned about the trade. Though we were told that the average farmer from the Sturbridge Village era could make more money cutting down the trees and selling them for firewood. Sugar from the Caribbean was cheaper. It wasn't until maple syrup became a tourist item that it became profitable.

History. It's never what you think.

We went into a house on the green. A couple of women in costume greeted us. "Would you like to try on some nineteenth century clothing?" "You bet!" They brought us upstairs and let us try on some button up pants, dresses, vests, and shirts and other itchy, archaic cloths. It was grand. And quite possibly good camouflage if it came to it!

Down by the print shop we heard music. We went in to find two men playing recorders. They were thrilled to see us. We talked about printing and politics, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. The Village. The weather. And the free society we were building. They were nice and friendly. They let us out the back way so we wouldn't be seen by the gathering troops.

At the tin shop the tinsmith brought Kristin into the back and helped her make a Christmas ornament. I forget what it was. Something simple. She made herself look like an apprentice so nobody would recognize her. Good move.

We avoided the school, of course. It was too far from the powder house and too close to the pillory for our comforts, thank you. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic..., and Running!

We visited many other houses and chraftsmen's shops. All were bored and glad to have someone to share their passions with. We saw maybe a dozen other guests that day-of course we avoided them. Can't be too careful. It was all in all a quiet day in the Village.

Everyone stayed mum about our obvious truancy. They certainly all knew it. We had revolutionary written all over us, plain as day. I'm sure I saw some red coats behind the molasses barrels. I'm sure the Villagers could all suffer severe penalties from harboring known felons like us. This is New England, after all. We like to do that sort of stuff.

The day ended. We came home narrowly escaping an ambush by the gates. No night in the gaol for us. Kristin was delighted.

And thoroughly corrupted.

That's my girl.

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