Marche of Alderford bids a sad, fond farewell to Lord Charles the Indecisive

He was known by many names: Charles the Indecisive, Constable Barnabas of Fife, and most often, just Charlie. Charles Carlton Dreyer, age 62, passed away on June 21 from cancer, leaving a void in the Marche of Alderford that will be hard to fill.

Charles the Indecisive working Security He really had no interest at all in the SCA, or so he claimed. At first, Charlie only came to meetings because his daughter, Lady Nastasia Catarina di Rosati, is unable to drive due to health issues. Charlie would bring Nastasia to the meeting and sit patiently in the back of the room, listening quietly but hardly saying a word, then take her home. Sometimes he would bring his wife, Echo, to keep him company. Week after week, Charlie acted as taxi driver, and though invited to participate in the meeting, he always kept his counsel. The members of the Marche of Alderford ("Alderfolk") have a long-standing tradition that anyone who comes to meetings but doesn't pick a name will eventually have one picked for them, and so Charles, who couldn't decide on a name, became Charles the Indecisive.

Gradually, Charlie was drawn into the SCA's spirit of friendship. It all started because he wanted to help out. He would bring Nastasia to an event, and would offer to help tote food to the kitchen, or sweep up floors afterward, or do dishes. He never really took part in the day's fun, but he always cheerfully helped with the day's chores. So often was Charlie seen doing housekeeping that one Alderford member (who had somehow missed meeting him before) mistook him for "the janitor" at an event site! Charlie didn't mind, and took it all in his usual quiet humor, occasionally introducing himself to newcomers as Charlie the Janitor.

Charles the Indecisive working Security Finally the day came when Charlie was persuaded to don garb and attend an event. "Attend" is a relative term, because for Charlie that meant that he had been roped into....err, had volunteered for...serving as Security Constable for the event. Charlie was never one to take himself too seriously, and so, true to form, he showed up at the Masque of Courtly Love in perfectly correct garb — but with a pair of plastic handcuffs, a length of silk cord to bind "criminals," and a toy police badge. He was immediately christened "Constable Barnabas of Fife," and the name stuck.

Charlie, along with his wife, Echo, became a regular attendee at Alderford events, often taking on the duties of Security Constable and almost infallibly helping with site and kitchen cleanup. He and Echo were usually among the first to arrive at an event site for setup, and among the last to leave after teardown. In February 2005, Charles and Echo were called into Their Majesties' Court together to receive their Awards of Arms, and Charlie became Lord Charles. One might dare to say that there was a tear in his eye, but it was in good company along with a tear in the eye of many other Alderfolk at that moment.

Charlie did not confine his service to others only to the SCA. In modern-day life, he was a devoted adult volunteer for the 4-H youth agriculture club in Kitsap County, Washington, serving from 1976 until 1998, when he had to reduce his involvement due to failing health. As a 4-H volunteer, Charlie acted as counsellor, contest judge, and event coordinator. He loved dogs, and served as Dog Superintendent for the 4-H as well as leading the Kitsap Kennel Klub.

Although, in the words of Nastasia, "he never was the best carpenter," Charlie had a true love of wood and carpentry, and kept trying to better his skills. He loved the ocean and loved to travel, and in his younger days had served his country in the United States Navy. One of Charlie's last excursions was to South Carolina, with family, to see his old Navy ship (the USS Yorktown) and the Atlantic Ocean one last time, and he treasured that memory right to the end.

Near the end of his life, Charles the Indecisive had finally decided that he liked the Current Middle Ages after all, and might like to actually start playing instead of just working. He was considering a Celtic persona because he liked the garb, and he had even made, with minimal help, his first tunic, of bright red. He had wanted to attend AEthelmearc War Practice but couldn't because of his illness. He had planned to finally purchase an SCA membership — as with so many other things he did, his motive was selfless: he needed a membership so he could volunteer to serve as a shire officer. He may never have considered himself a "real" SCAdian, but his shire would respectfully disagree, for here is a man who embodied the very best of the honor, courtesy, generosity, and nobility of spirit that we cultivate in these Current Middle Ages.

Those of us who knew Charlie will remember that he was always quick to smile and slow to anger, faithful in helping others but never seeking public praise for his work, softly-spoken but full of good ideas and a quiet wisdom. We will remember that he never lost his gentle sense of humor, even when he knew he was dying.

Charles was exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace years ago, which led to bone cancer that spread to his lungs and ended his life on June 21, 2006. Although, by his own request, there will be no memorial service or funeral for Charlie, those who wish to remember this good, noble, and gentle man may choose to make memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society in the name of Charles Carlton Dreyer.

All of the members of the Marche of Alderford join in sadly saying a fond farewell to Lord Charles the Indecisive — Constable, transportation captain, feast server, sometime "janitor" and constant friend. Godspeed, Charlie. We shall miss you.

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