Long story short, I'm doing another camp host gig in Louisiana for the months of January, February, and March (2024). How this came about is a long story to, but it's happening, and it's coming up soon.
After we returned home (back to Indiana) from our North Carolina (Pilot Mountain host gig - July and August), I continued to pursue a position in Louisiana. Their system in Louisiana (State Parks) is centralized, unlike Indiana and North Carolina where you have to reach out to each state park separately if you have an interest and then the park rangers / managers have to make a decision (if they have availability).
When talking to the main liaison in Louisiana (state level), he told me about a unique position at the Audubon State Historical Site. They do not have a campground, it's a state historic site. They have 2 campsites for their "camp host" positions. One position is a Trails Maintenance position and the other is a Tour Guide for the Oakley plantation house. Both sounded interesting, but the tour guide position would be a 3 month position. It took all of 10 seconds to let him know I'd love doing the tour guide position if January, February, and March worked for them. The ball got rolling immediately.
Over a month ago, I got the final, "It's a go!" I received a packet of information (a script) for the tour guide and I've been studying daily everything I can about John James Audubon, the Oakley Plantation, and Louisiana, in and around the time period of 1821. I'm also now currently bringing up my historical knowledge on the 1803 acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase between Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon (of France), including the political climate of that time period is interesting, the life of Audubon himself, and the architecture of the actual house, all quite interesting.
What I find most astounding about myself, is the fact, in Junior High and in High School, I never cared one iota about history. Back then, as a Junior in High School, US history was a required course. In your Senior year, US Government was a required course. Both had to have a passing grade or you never graduated high school. I barely scathed by in US History.... barely. I absolutely cannot remember a name or a date. I've been that way all my life.
So, a tour guide for a historical site? Oh wow! What a challenge! I figure if I started reading, reading, and reading more, watching Youtube videos, and selecting documentaries over a 4 month period of study time, covering the same information over and over, but from different sources, eventually "something" would stick in my head!
We'll, it's working! What a rush! I never imagined in a million years (well, how about the last 41 years of my life) that I'd get excited about "history!"
Found out, it's customary for the tour guides to dress in "character" when doing the tours. So, I'm growing a beard again. I'll figure out how it needs to be trimmed once I get there. The manager at the Historical Site will assist me in getting the period dated clothing (for 1821).
It's a go.
Meanwhile, at home, I'm working hard to get things wrapped up for our departure. I have a shlew of logs to finish splitting for firewood from several trees that a neighbor down the road from us had cut down. My son will still continue living in the house over the winter and we use fire wood as a supplemental heat source. I finished building the school bus stop house for my grandson, and built some extra protection for sub-zero weather for our chickens. I've got some more work to do there before we head out the end of December.
Prescription medications, dog vet visits-shots-flea treatments are all up to date, everything in order (or soon will be). Even got our income tax appointment with H&R Block rescheduled for the first week in April instead of the 2nd Saturday in February. (our standing day to get our taxes done).
So excited! And yes, we're still returning to Pilot Mountain State Park (NC) in July and August as (a more traditional) camp host.
As a former collogue of mine from my former job before retirement said it so well when I shared the news about Louisiana, she said, "Dave, you're building a whole, brand new resume!"
Yep, I guess I am.
Audubon State Historial Site, Louisiana - Click here
Pilot Mountain State Park, North Carolina - Click here