Levanta los Armas…

…was the cry that night.

It means “To Arms!” Imagine crying out for your friends and neighbors, your comrades and children. Watching men in their night clothes out in the streets to fend off vicious English Privateers. The town burned, your family taken hostage. And no fort to seek refuge in. Indeed, those blasted English burned it to the ground. It was only made of wood at that point, you know. No warning, no reinforcements to come to your aid. Alone, the denizens of St. Augustine were taken completely off guard when Captain Robert Searle used the black of night to slip into the town and create chaos.

And, for some unknown reason, the modern residents reenact the Sacking of St. Augustine every year. To me, its like celebrating the day you get beat up at the bus stop, but who am I to complain? I get to dress “low-key” for a day and let the boys play with their guns while I sit sipping Sangria at the local tavern. I heckle. A lot. It tends to get more vitriolic the more Sangria I’ve had.

The city of St. Augustine celebrates two raids by two different English Privateers. One by Captain Robert Searle, and another by Sir Francis Drake. Again, both celebrate how the town was almost wiped from the map, but perhaps the city council members are all historical masochists. For whatever reason, it is a wonderful event to see. Dozens of men dressed in period garb, running through the streets to fire muskets and pistols. Usually, it culminates in a staged fight at the City Gates at the north end of the town. The entire time, the town bustles with tourists and onlookers, some completely unaware of the planned event and wondering just what time capsule they stepped out of to see such a riot. I love people-watching during these sackings because the faces of those who weren’t in the know tend to be priceless. Something between fear and wonder. Child-like, with no regard for the truth that if it actually happened, they’d be dead from standing there. Then again, this is only a reenactment. Best part, free. Come to the town and you get to see it. Get that at Disney World or Busch Gardens, why don’t you? Yeah, didn’t think so.

So, I will sing this weekend and next. This weekend will be quiet and full of locals. They enjoy me, and some come to be regulars at my Taberna. Next weekend, though, next weekend will be raucous and bustling. Full of new faces and old friends. We’ll sing together instead of me singing alone, and I’m sure we’ll all get to drinking at some point. There will be those who are portraying the Spanish citizens, and those who play the English brutes. And I’ll play both sides because I can. I’m Anne Bonny. I defy definition.

The fact that I have both English and Spanish Letters of Marque helps, too. Both fools think I’m on their side, playing the other. But, shshh, don’t tell them that or you’ll blow my cover.

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Categories: Entertainment, History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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