Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Frontier Day

The weather is warming up and outdoor events and festivals are mushrooming. We moseyed on up to the Stockyards to find out what Frontier Day was all about and plunged into a melee of Civil War soldiers, Indian dancers and longhorn cattle.


I was somewhat puzzled by the preponderance of Civil War re-enactors, and at first just put it down to the fact that this is a very popular period to recreate. In my head the frontier movement west across America happened way before the Civil War. Then, thinking about it later, I realised there wasn't so much of a time gap after all. The original army stockade at Fort Worth wasn't built till 1849, and the Civil War started a mere 12 years later in 1861. Recorded history is compressed into a pretty short space around here.

That still didn't explain why most of the soldiers were dressed in Union blue, here in this most southern of states. Probably the northerners just had better uniforms. One guy kindly lent me his cap and gun.


An army doctor gave us a detailed explanation of how to amputate a leg back in the day, complete with appropriately mutilated model. As he talked about making flaps of skin and flourished a hacksaw to cut through the bone, one of the audience hurried off, groaning loudly and looking somewhat green. At least chloroform had been discovered by then.


Graham says when a car has all the options you can get, it's known as "fully loaded". This pioneer wagon was certainly fully loaded! Axe holders and water-barrel extensions were the modifications of the day, though I'm sure they would have appreciated air con and surround sound.

Just in case you haven't seen them yet, here's the obligatory photos of longhorns and cowboys.

The ones living here have a cushy life, they only have to walk along the street twice a day. Their predecessors of not so long ago trekked for miles across the open plains, through heat, storms and prickly plants. Our lives are also much softer than those of the people who settled this place, and it's good to be reminded of that too.

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