It was 2001, I was in my third year of college, and I found myself with a semester of no shows. For a theater major this was pretty well unheard of. I had this huge chunk of time with nothing to do and I didn't like it one bit.
A large group of my friends worked down at the Ren Faire outside of Houston and I had visited them there over the previous two years and had started to fall in love. I knew I had all of this time coming open and I figured it might be fun to earn some extra cash and do something cool like work for the faire. A few nudges to my friends later and I had a spot in a shop with a couple of them.
Fifteen years later and I am still here. Tonight is the last night of the season and it is bittersweet as always. While the work and long drives are ending, so is the time of being with this strange little group who have worked their way into my hearts and have become my family.
The crew has never just been coworkers and has always been more than friends. These are people I live with for two months of weekends a year. That is a lot of time spent in very close quarters; you either love them or hate them, but you can not escape them.
These people have seen me through many major life events. Some of the crew were my college friends who saw me through my journey of faith, saw me through finding the husbeast, and saw me grow into me. The rest of the old guard not only watched and participated in my wedding, they made it possible. The newer crew even drove close to 6 hours in one day just to help us move.
I know that this ramshackle group of misfits would do anything for us and I would do anything for them. Much like siblings we do not always get along or like one another, but we are family and in the end are there for one another. Heaven forbid you pick on one of us because that will be the last mistake you make.
Tonight will be the last night with my little family on our island of misfit toys and tomorrow we will work hard before once again separating for the year. If we are lucky we will manage to get together a few times in the months between, but those times will not be often enough.
Come next September though we will all make our way down the dusty back roads of site to our shop, climb the steep steps to our bunkhouse, and embrace as family. It will not matter that time has passed because to us time does not matter. We will once again be home and once again I will sleep the peaceful sleep of one who is safe with her own.