Words by Daniel Wakefield Pasley and Emiliano Granado. Photographs by Emiliano Granado.
Swimming Hole Guide via An Impromptu Event the Result of A Roadtrip Between Colonial Williamsburg
And Pittsburgh, Pa
9 JULY 12:30PM: IT’S HOT AS BALLS AND YOU’RE WALKING because they didn’t have cars or golf carts in the seventeenth century and so they don’t have cars or golf carts in Colonial Williamsburg.1 You are working “Behind the Scenes” for Travel and Leisure, you are photoshooting.
Even though the Reenactors know because they’ve been told that you’re working Behind the Scenes (BTS), that you’re an insider, that you’re in the know, it seems like they don’t/won’t break character. It’s like Disneyworld, they took an oath or they’re in a guild or some shit, they’re professionals.
You fuck with George Washington because in a way it’s your job, at least today it is, to fuck with George Washington. You try to get him to say something anything wrong or anachronistic or incongruent or whatever. You ask him what Martha was like after everyone went home and the servants went to bed, was she crazy or what? You talk about his wooden teeth were they Walnut or Birch? and did they warp?, and you quiz him on what little you know about Valley Forge which isn’t much—canoes or rowing across the river, lots of frost and ice, wet feet, etc. But this dude is like the Royal Guard, he’s a beefeater, he doesn’t budge or crack or nothing – later you wonder if comparing a reenacter playing George Washington to a British palace guard is sacrilegious or wholly unpatriotic or similar but fortunately you’re too hot care and you forget what you’re thinking about anyway.
The Town Drunks are different story. Once a riff-raff, always a riff-raff. When prompted, if nobody important is listening, they’re willing to drop the Ye Old Lingo for sport.
You head over to the Slave Plantation. On the way you consider a Turkey Leg lunch but pass because seriously it’s too hot to eat. You pass a drum and fife parade and a real cannon and you miss the George Washington’s First Annual Message to Congress reenactment.