’tis Salute & Celebrate Season in Oysterville!

May 15, 2015 | 0 comments

"Obviously, a canon of living in Oysterville is to have a gorgeous garden."  Diedre Duewel

“Obviously, a canon of living in Oysterville is to have a gorgeous garden.” Diedre Duewel

No sooner had Oysterville’s cannon made its quiet reappearance in our garden this week than the flashbulbs began popping. Well, not really. I think the world’s popping flashbulb days are probably over, but the cannon belonging to The Honorary Oysterville Militia (THOM) still enjoys celebrity status around here. Witness the gorgeous photograph by Deirdre Duewel that greeted me on FaceBook first thing this morning!

The cannon is just back in its place of honor after spending the rainy season tucked away in our garage. “Not really necessary,” says General Nyel. “Cannons stay out in other places in all kinds of weather.” “But not our kind of weather,” is always my retort. It’s one of those continuing discussions in our household. (It’s also one of those “easy-for-you-to-say” discussions since I’m not the one who has to muscle it to and fro and, even worse, find a place for it in our already over-crowded storage area.)

Members of T.H.O.M. 2004

Members of T.H.O.M. 2004

We have been custodians of the cannon– a full-sized replica of an 1841 mountain howitzer made by Cannon Ltd. of Coolville, Ohio – for some years now.  We purchased it just in time to be used for Oysterville’s 2004 Sesquicentennial celebration. And, of course, as with most things in Oysterville, there is a story to go with it.

Oysterville has a long history of celebrations marked by cannon fire. According to my esteemed late Uncle Willard Espy’s account in Oysterville: Roads to Grandpa’s Village, in the 1870s R.H. Espy would don special black broadcloth pants, a maroon and black brocaded vest, a light linen duster, a stiff shirt with boiled bosom, a stiff collar, a bow tie, and a beaver hat and would discharge the cannon to begin festivities such as the annual regatta.

BOOM!

BOOM!

There are accounts that Oysterville’s original cannon was blown to bits by a rowdy group of midnight revelers, so for several generations we had to make do with only the stories about it. Hardly satisfactory thought Nyel. We happened to be in Gettysburg a few years before Oysterville was to observe the sesquicentennial year of its founding, and all those cannons on display prompted Nyel to make inquiries. He learned that for a mere ten or twelve thousand dollars Oysterville could once again have a cannon.

We pondered… and on the long road trip back home we conceived the idea of forming The Honorary Oysterville Militia. We would sell commissions to our friends and relatives and buy the cannon with the proceeds. General Nyel was the first to invest. The plan was successful beyond our wildest expectations and in early 2003 the cannon was ordered. It arrived in the spring of 2004, just in time for Oysterville’s 150th celebration. We’ve been celebrating loudly ever since!

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