A just war is in the long run far better for a man's soul than the most prosperous peace

Once a year I pack up my things and travel far from my usual 18th century persona, to enjoy a weekend in the near past, at the WWII reenactment at Midway Village in Rockford.

This year I was honored to be included as a guest of Herr D at the 2nd Panzer Division reenactment groups 20th anniversary. I even got a ride to the hall in the side car of one of the wonderful motorbikes! It is amazing to be surrounded by a group that has been demonstrating living history successfully for so many years. Not only was the authentic German dinner sehr gut, but the speeches given by the group members were facinating. I especially enjoyed the comments by the former member of the real 2nd Panzer division. Listening to someone who actually experienced what we are trying to recreate is unique for me. I am so used to the silent history of the 18th century, that contact with real *living* history is moving to say the least.

I also learned that I speak & understand a lot more German that I ever realized. Once the wheels started moving the language started flowing. Of course Ein paar beir never hurts!

As usual, my innocent trip to the café on Saturday was interrupted by a unit of German's, searching for French partisans. Luckily K & I had enough paperwork to keep them from bothering us for more than a cursory few moments. I can't say as much for one gentleman however who seemed to cause more trouble the more he spoke. Luckily for us a contingent of Russian snippers took advantage of the German's distraction while dealing with us and used the opportunity to open fire. K & I fled to the back of the building with the French girl who worked in the café and didn't return until everything had settled!

That evening, following the 2nd Panzer's dinner, I found myself at the annual hanger dance. While this is usually an enjoyable evening of drinking and dancing there was something different this time. Come to find out many of the other dancers were not reenactors, but members of the Rockford swing dance scene (Forest City Swing I believe). While it was nice to have experienced dancers on the floor, it also seemed to discourage those that didn't know how to dance. In the past I have never had a problem finding a partner, from those who are almost standing on your toes the entire song, to those that put Fred Astaire to shame and everyone in between. This year, well, I kept hearing "I don't know how". I couldn't help but wonder if the "swing kids" had toned down their fancy moves a bit, or even offered to dance with other people besides their equally experienced dance friends, if it wouldn't have been more inviting to the less experienced. Needless to say though, I did get in a few good turns on the floor, re-learned the foxtrot & picked up a little number called the Cotton Eyed Joe.

On Sunday L decided that the lure of tanks and large scale artillery was too much & she wanted to attend as well. She had such a good time, drinking soda, oohing & ahhing over machinery and watching the large battle, that she determined to attend on Saturday & Sunday next year. She was especially disappointed in missing many of the more elaborate foxhole creations. She didn't even mind my requirement that she dress in period clothes. Believe it or not, she went so far as to say that her 1940's dress was something she would "wear in daily life too". Looks like might have a WW2 reenactor on my hands!