Out of the Mouths of Babes

Just as this season had its share of challenges for us at Sherwood, my life as a father of a 14 year old son with teenage angst also offered hurdles to overcome.  I realize I am at best a half-ass parent, but after searching the libraries of the world, I have found no “parenting without mistakes” manual…and so I let some of the guilt glide off my already torn and frayed cloak of protection (not even a +1 at this point).

Yes, so, back to the story of teenage angst…

My son, a product of my sarcasm and cynicism, a child has had to endure my humanistic preaching of logic, reason, social contract theory, Darwinism, agnosticism verging on atheism…and of course diatribes about religion, philosophy and politics…when all he really cares about are girls, sports and video games…has struggled during his eighth grade year in school.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, he confronts the status quo, questions the importance of memorization, has gone so far as to say nothing but math and science have any realness or validity because all other classes are based upon speculation.

Can you believe it: he even dares to question me?

So, after one of many of his ongoing conflicts at school, I asked him, “what is the problem, guy?”, he retorted…”the kids at school are judgmental, critical, and sometimes just mean.  They are prejudice against minorities and gays and all sorts of other people.”

With tears in his eyes, he said, “the only place I ever really feel at peace is when I am at Sherwood.  Papa, why can’t people be like they are at Sherwood?”


And so I thought about the people at Sherwood…Rob Roy, Queen Bonnie, Mike Moya (and his mom), Jeffrey Lord, Andre and his family, Robin, Aleric and his beautiful lady, Emelie, Robert Ray, Al, Zane, Harriett & Zane, George & Brian, Mike Pullen, Jonah, myself…and thousands of others who have come to realize Sherwood is somewhere/something different/special.

I thought about the vendors who on a promise invested their savings in this faire.  I thought about the entertainers and stage acts who have brought their talents to this forest.  I thought about Randy and Kevin who came with chainsaws long before there were any gravel roads and helped build the infrastructure.  I thought about the evolution of the clan camping which Mike brought to the table…and all the endless hours of labor, sweat and blood that went into clearing the grounds.  I thought about Kevin and his fellow knights who have given and given to Sherwood.  I thought of the patrons who filled the front gates that first day in February 2010…and entered because they too believed…and when the temperature drops to freezing and the rains are pouring down during faire, it’s those die-hard Sherwoodians in full garb who still come in numbers nearing 1000.

And I turned to my son and said, “Sherwood is unique.  It is not at all like the world out there.  It is a place where few judge others.  Most accept one another where they are—not where they want them to be.  People invest of themselves.  Personal responsibility and an obligation to bring one’s best to the fire circle is a mantra, a badge worn with pride.  Sherwood actually believes in concepts seemingly long forgotten such as love, friendship, comrade, sharing, accepting, equality, community.”

He was puzzled and asked, “But why, Papa?  Why do people want to live their lives otherwise?”

Profound question.

George and Brian treated me to a Saturday Sherwood revival this last weekend.  I had been down in the dumps over the drama and conflict that was rampant behind the scenes at Sherwood this faire season.  It seemed the outside world of lies and betrayals, hurt and slander, had invaded our sanctuary.  While it was still a great season, it felt an infection of sorts had beset our precious retreat:  and the woes of the mundane world weighed heavily upon me.  So, our administrative team gathered at Sherwood: we swam, we drank, we laughed. George even treated us to an evening listening to the wonderful music of Puente at the Three Stags that night.  At one point during this spiritual and emotional cleansing, I was rambling on about some forum I had attended in my mundane job regarding all the breakthroughs in medicine and technologies that is revolutionizing the health industry…and George turned to me and said, “yes, and here we are trying to fight our way back to the 12th century as quickly as we can.”

Sherwood is unique in this time of alienation and discombobulation.  It stands apart because of what each of you bring to this growing community.  I am in agreement with my son…Sherwood is where I feel most at peace.

You people are wonderful, strange, challenging, creative and stimulating.  You are the very soul of Sherwood and what you have manifested in such a short time is amazing accomplishment.  Zane Baker sent me a text the other day that was uplifting: “I get reports from far and wide that we are thought of as the promised land of faire.  She’s a sturdy ship now, whoever is at the helm.”

Blessed be our Sherwood Family,


Category : All Posts & Rengypsy's Blog

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