CAMDEN, SC — A 9-year-old girl loves to watch her dad pretend to die during Revolutionary War re-enactments.
“He usually gets killed,” said Karissa Nevel in Camden on Saturday during Revolutionary War Days.
While dying, her dad, Eric Nevel, fakes being wounded so he can sip a last swig of Gatorade from his canteen or crawl to some shade, he said.
Dying in a war re-enactment comes at a price.
In the past, the British have stolen Nevel’s shoes, and sometimes his friends pilfer his ammunition.
Nevel’s 11-year-old son, Michael, cannot wait until he can join his dad in battle. But he has to be 16, and like most teenagers, he said when he turns 16 he’ll be more excited to drive.
Michael has been attending re-enactments since he was 4 weeks old. Nevel was caught off guard when he first saw his infant son in the Colonial attire.
“I wasn’t prepared for it,” Nevel said. “When I came back from the battle he was in a dress.”
Nevel’s wife, Veronica, wore a woman’s colonial apron and bonnet while she cooked chicken perlo for Saturday’s dinner. She boiled the chicken in a cast iron pot over an open fire.
She had made cinnamon biscuits and gravy for breakfast that morning, a meal she started fixing around 5 a.m.
Cooking is not the hard part, Veronica Nevel said. Cleaning up is difficult.
And cooking eggs is the worst, she said.
The family goes to re-enactments about once a month, and the children can roam around as they please.
“I don’t worry about them if I don’t see them,” Veronica Nevel said.
She said all of the parents look after the children. It’s different from being at home, where she won’t let her children out of her sight, she said.
During Friday’s downpours, Michael helped his family set up camp.
It took them about a half hour to get the fire started.
“It felt good to get in dry clothes,” Michael said. He slept with a wool blanket.
His little sister Karissa chose the comforts of the car.
“I’m only 9,” she said.
William Bisher traveled from Denton, N.C., to sell knives he created.
He has been in re-enactments since the ’70s or — when the Revolution first started – he joked.
But, most re-enactors are older because young people can’t afford it, he said.
Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope.