Our youngest daughter, Candace, and her family live in Pittsburgh. She’d invited Brenda and I to visit them and attend a Renaissance Festival. So, we drove over for the weekend. On this trip I brought nothing to distract me from my visit. That meaning, no bike, no bow, no running shoes, and no swimming gear. Nevertheless, I found a way to shoot.
Candace lives in a house that is over a century old. She and her husband have been making improvements on it since they purchased it several years ago. The old home certainly has a character you don’t find in newer houses. Where they are located is indeed city life, but residing in Pittsburgh they are never far from a park or trail.
Our primary goal was the Renaissance Festival. I’d only attended one other, in Maryland. These are theme parks based on the Renaissance time period. For entertainment they have shows, food, shopping, staged sword fights and jousting. They also have archery ranges and contests.
This park had two archery ranges. One where you pay a fee and simply shoot at a target. The other where for $5.00 you can shoot at an apple with a small dot adhering its center. If you hit the dot you win a bow. For $5.00 I bought a 3-arrow chance to hit a dot on an apple and win a bow.
The bows were more costume equipment than actual target or hunting bows. The design was a simple wooden long bow. The bow I was offered was unfinished and roughly carved. The proffered hand made wooden arrows varied in length and weight. Each had a uniquely attached or carved notch. All seemed to be more or less straight.
Fearing the bow would break at full draw, I notched one of the arrows, hoped for the best, aimed and over shot the bale holding the apple. Pleased the bow didn’t snap I selected another arrow as closely matched to the first as I could find among those available. This arrow hit the center of the apple but a centimeter to the right of the dot. There wasn’t an arrow in the quiver that was a close match to the previous two I’d fired. Selecting my best third chance arrow, my final shot was a tad to the left (elevation was perfect and it would have been a 10 in 3D).
It was a neat experience to shoot such a lightweight amazingly quiet bow. Still, I wasn’t going to hand over another five bucks for three more shots. Shooting purely by instinct seems like a good practice to add to my training.
Candace’s two children represent 2/3 of my grandchildren. Our oldest daughter has the 3rd, Sean who is somewhat of an archer. Sean would have been verbal expressing his demand I continue until the bow was won. Fortunately, for my wallet, Sean was at his home in Georgia.
Of Candace’s children, Cordelia is 3 and Merric is one. Merric a bit young; still he seemed to be enjoying the sights and sounds. Cordelia fell in love with a magic fairy, a caterpillar and a toad, the latter two being native residents of the fields whereupon the theme park was arranged.
While I took the weekend off from practice and training, the smiles and hugs of children and grandchildren was superior compensation. It was, too, great fun to have shot an apple with a home made “costume” bow even if the shot left me prizeless.