Civic Heritage Merit Badge, Expert Level

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.

Annie Oakley via Wikimedia Commons

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!

A True Girl of the West, George Bancroft Cornish via Wikimedia Commons

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)

Sparking: courting

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)!

Leave a comment 4 Comments

  1. Pat Miller says:

    I’m a newbie. Just happened to read your Annie Oakley/Millie-Ann article and laughed my sides off! Was good for my soul. I will return for more of your posts.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    MaryJane , you are the most clever! I bet you would make a fine Annie Oakley too! Once, in the 6th grade, an arts theater group came to our elementary school to wrangle us kids into doing something sort of professional. Somehow I auditioned and got the role for Morgiana in

    Ludde-Mussy did we have a blast!

  3. Cindi says:

    Oh my gosh ~ my brain did a pretty good job of imagining that entire scene but I really would have loved to see it!! Coming from an area that regularly had summertime melodramas, complete with a dastardly villain sporting the appropriate mustache and a booing audience, I learned very early that such reenactments are priceless fun. They used to do such reenactments in the Fred Murphy Days parade here years ago. A sad loss when they stopped. Everyone should be treated to such fun! Next time, Mary Jane, video at 6:00!!! Pretty please???

  4. Bonnie ellis says:

    just as much fun to read your well-written scenario as it must have been to act in it. In other words delightful. Great job!

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