Something You Can’t Do in America

Here’s a pretty cool story: a geek with a metal detector found this fantastic helmet/mask in a field in Britain. Roman soldiers used to receive them as a medal of honor and excellence in horsemanship, and they would wear it in processions–brightly painted with streamers and with a bright colored uniform. Every year or so some Brit with a metal detector comes up with an amazing treasure.

Not something you can do in a field in Ohio. However, that being said, I can remember whenever it used to rain after a farmer had plowed a field in the farms around our house in Pennsylvania we’d see some old guy walking the furrows very slowly, hands behind his back, gazing down intently. He was looking for Indian arrowheads.

There’s something very masculine about this sort of past time, but I’m not sure what it is. Why do guys do stuff like metal detecting and arrowhead hunting or dressing up in civil war uniforms to re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg? For that matter, why do we hunt and fish and collect stamps and coins and build model railroads? Women’s past times are so much more practical aren’t they?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02943402221380643610 John

    "There's something very masculine about this sort of past time, but I'm not sure what it is. Why do guys do stuff like metal detecting and arrowhead hunting or dressing up in civil war uniforms to re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg? For that matter, why do we hunt and fish and collect stamps and coins and build model railroads? Women's past times are so much more practical aren't they?"I'm someone who's been thinking and writing on the question, "Where are the men in our churches?" (Nationwide about 2/3 of the people in pews are female.) I'd suggest filling in a few more blanks. For instance, you mention that men like to dress up and spend much effort and exactitude re-enacting things. So, do we reenact anything in Catholic churches? Would men like it if they were forced to include girls in their Civil War battle lines? Or if the uniforms were made optional or "brought up to date"? Or if firearms were considered obnoxious? Would that be Catholic?"Civil War" suggests things like courage, self-sacrifice, danger, endurance, aggressiveness and pugnacity (in a noble cause). Do those masculine traits find encouragement and validation in church these days? Hmm?Hunting and fishing. In churches do they get the praise and honor that those important masculine occupations deserve? Or are they regarded as tacky?Collecting. Men like to obsess over the riches of the past, getting everything just right. How would they feel if treasures of ancient times were discarded in favor of modern trumpery? Women are more practical–I agree. I suspect that's a grave problem when their style becomes dominant in a church.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07593444590904598751 Fuquay Steve

    My dad (30-35 yrs ago) once found a brown bessie bayonet while digging a new vegetable garden. After he passed, I took it to NC History Museum and they said it was revolutionary war era. Kinda neat. Wish we had looked for more (I was in college at the time and had little interest. I regret that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04575352678913485324 Mary

    I hesitate to say that I am a woman who collects ancient coins and loves fishing. I also knit, crochet cook and bake. What is impractical about fishing? BTW, the first treatise on fishing was written by Julianna Berners, an English nun. Women may not have been the hunters, but were often the anglers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Mary–very nice! I didn't know that a treatise on angling was written by a nun. Cool!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06624317806947588259 Rachel Gray

    My dad's favorite pastime is strolling around the outside of the local driving range, picking up stray golf balls. After he's collected five hundred or so, he finds someone to donate them to and begins again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17691145638703824456 kkollwitz

    "Why do guys do stuff like metal detecting and arrowhead hunting or dressing up in civil war uniforms to re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg?"Because there are no more lions to kill.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02489995962649887662 Whyte Fairy

    Because people get fussy when women try to dress up and re-enact because 'it's not historically accurate'. So we get to sit in camp and play with the food and the sewing. One of my goals in life is to make enough money to buy a bit of land in England someday. Just so I can go at it with a metal detector for two weeks in the summer! And ditto about the lions. ^_^


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