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  A year and a half ago, I took my lady wife to her first-ever event (I had been going to events for about a year). It was Unchained Doom, run by the Shire of An Dun Theine in Meridies.

Arriving early Saturday morning (read 5 am) after my wife had been up all night sewing her first SCA dress, I pulled in behind our cabin to unload. Unfortunately, the path I turned onto led straight down a steep hill to the lake shore. I was unable to turn around on the narrow path and the slippery leaves kept me from backing up. I had to go all the way to the bottom of the hill and turn around. And (of course) once I turned around, we got stuck in the leaves and loam. As I was making slight headway up the hill, suddenly I noticed tranny fluid quickly puddling under the van. It later turned out that I had blown a transmission seal.

We went ahead and had a good time that day (I authorized that morning and fought in my first tourney) and waited for the site caretaker to get a tractor to pull us up the hill. He showed up about an hour before feast, took a good look and said there was no way he could get the tractor and the van both up the hill. He loaned us a hand-powered come-along and said when we got the van up the hill he could pull us to where a tow truck could get to it. So my children and I began working the lever on the come-along like mad, and moving the anchor chain from tree to tree about every 6 feet.

Soon, however, Lord Iain MacPherson, the seneschal, appeared in his court clothes and began cranking. And then others quickly came to relieve him. This went on all through feast, with one gentle after another coming to our aid. It took several hours to winch the van back up the hill, but these hardy gentlemen heaved to with a right willing attitude...including one wearing a kilt (that ground was cold, too)! They did this in their feast clothes, sitting in the leaves and dirt!

We couldn't find a transmission shop open on Sunday, so members of the group volunteered to drive us home (which took the seneschal about 140 miles out of his way after running the event).

I can't say enough good things about these wonderful people. What could have been something to discourage my lady wife from attending events caused her to see how wonderful these folks can be. Many, many thanks to Lord Iain MacPherson, Baron Pog O'Mahon and all the others (although I can't remember all the names, they know who they were).

Slainte!

Tearlach MacDonnachaidh

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