by Billy Scudder
Once upon a time, in the midst of social chaos, there was born a moment of Pleasure. It sprang from the hearts of a generation called Love. It leapt, danced and sang all the songs of Spring that had lain dormant for hundreds of years. Like the Phoenix resurrected from its own ashes the Pleasure spread itself over the land and filled the air with sweet music. The Mother's face watched over all from atop the highest hill. While the Father paraded his radiant smile from morning till night. In the evening when darkness filled the sky there appeared overhead the dancing of stars, and the Lady Diana protected one and all:
This Pleasure appeared only when winter did wane
Then all would make ready, to Chipping they came
Their trades and their crafts and their laughter they'd ferry
Here under the Oaks all would make merry.
And when we remember all that's gone by
We stop to surrender to each lullaby
Some left for distances unknown and untried
And some souls, we sowed, on these hills to abide.
So, while we dreamed, this song of time flew
To all of infinity and back again, new.
And through all this time we protected this Pleasure
Thumbing our noses at those who came closest
To ending our home, and taking our treasurer.
But sadly, a feeling so deadly came creeping
It wooed and seduced us to sleep by its side.
It fooled us and told us this sorrow was fleeting
But Pleasure knew better and saw that it lied.
And so, to sleep in this Pleasure went
While no one knew or attended it
They only knew an emptiness
They filled with outside brews
The dance and song and trade they made
Were paid with heavy dues.
Everyone accused each other for things they knew not of
And while they sat in disarray this Pleasure cried above.
"Do not forsake what brought us 'round
Or let it fall from off this ground."
So we ask of everyone, a plea
Break open your hearts your feelings set free.
Don't harbor your sadness its up to us all
Gather your strength and answer this call.
Don't stand in the background and cry out in fear
Where is our village that proudly stood here?
Where is the laughter that danced through our tears
Where are the Oaks that have grown here for years.
If it's sorrow you feel that I've laid all around
Then know how you'll feel if this Pleasure falls down.
They'll hack it, and drag it and blow it around
They'll bash it and mash it, 'til Nothing is found.
Except in the Hearts, of all the good folks
Who came here to "Chipping, Under The Oaks."
From the beginning of time — or at least 1966, the first time a renaissance faire had a "permanent" home — the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (Mother of all faires) lived in Agoura, California, on a hot and dusty...but magical...site in the oaks. To the outside world it was a corner of the Paramount Movie Ranch, home to countless westerns. To those who worked and played and loved at Pleasure Faire it was Chipping Under Oakwood, an ancient Home that arose Brigadoon-like each Spring.
Until the developers got it.
Or at least they tried, for after many horrendous battles of the modern world the dust cleared to find the site protected as a park. But by then the faire was far away, and a bastion of modern commerce. Still, in the quiet places and hidden corners of Pleasure Faire the last refugees of Chipping Under Oakwood gather to tell the tales...and the Magic lives on.
And to ensure that it lives on as well among those old dusty oaks, good people like Billy Scudder work as Friends of the Paramount Ranch to protect that sacred ground.
Copyright ©2001, Billy Scudder. All rights reserved.