The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Each Other/Civic Heritage Expert Level Merit Badge, I was super-thrilled to try out my acting chops. You see, in order to earn my next badge, I had to participate in a local reenactment. It just so happens, chickadees, that my local downtown does a Wild West bank robbery reenactment for the tourists every year.
Boy howdy, this was gonna be good. I was ready for this—I was born for this. I had spent all my years perfecting drama and all the skills therein; never would the part of Third Tree to the Left be played with such convincing heart!
I jest, of course. A gal like me—born for the stage—was awarded the part of Millie-Ann, a very prominent and important tavern owner.
And by awarded I mean chosen. And by chosen I mean they let me sign up for whatever part I wanted.
But still, Millie-Ann was meant for me. She spoke to me: her flaxen curls, her bossy demeanor, her way with the gentlemen, her flair for pouring a good sarsaparilla … it was Me to a T.
Being a thespian of such high quality, I naturally am what they call a Method Actor. This means I was fully immersed in the character of Millie-Ann for a full week before we began shooting. Er, I mean, performing. Well, there would be shooting; it was a bank robbery, after all. But I’ve gotten off track.
I peppered my speech with lots of “y’alls,” and other such Wild West slang. I piled my hair high in a bouffant style that Miss Kitty would have envied, I tossed back root beer with reckless abandon, I sauntered and walked bow-legged, and I rode attempted to ride my neighbor’s filly to the watering hole. In short, I became Millie-Ann.
The day of the reenactment arrived and I was so nervous. In fact, I was so nervous, I kind of misplaced my script, and when the first bank robber arrived, peeling through downtown on a black stallion, my knees gave way and I nearly fainted. Millie-Ann would not be such a pansy, though, so I snapped out of it—pronto! Having no idea what the script called for (and assuming scripts were nearly as unimportant as owner’s manuals or directions—totally unnecessary and strictly for amateurs), I improvised. I tossed my sarsaparilla in his face, shrieked like a banshee, smacked the stallion on the rump (and nearly got nipped in the process—bad pony), and used my index finger like a proper Wild West shotgun. Bang, bang!
The other actors were not as skilled and proficient as I was in the whole improvising realm, though, so things got a little weird for a while. The audience seemed to enjoy my portrayal greatly though, and that was the important thing.
In case you, too, want to enjoy participating in a Wild West reenactment, here are a few slang terms you really must learn:
Angelica: a young, unmarried woman
Amputate your timber: go away!
Jimmying a bull: shooting an officer
Kansas sheep dip: whiskey
Luddy-Mussy!: Lord have mercy!
Dough wrangler: the camp cook
See the elephant: going to town
Settle one’s hash: to properly punish
Seven by nine: someone of inferior quality (comes from the most common window-pane sizing)
Well, that’s enough skittles (nonsense) for now. I gotta join these small fries (kiddos) for some slapjacks (pancakes) with a side of taters and skunk eggs (onions) made in a spider (three-legged, cast-iron skillet), all in apple-pie order (tip-top shape)!