Dicy McCullough: Knights of the Round Table
Although I learned about the Medieval Knights of the Round Table in school years ago, it wasn’t until this summer that I learned about the 21st century Knights of the Round Table (Rowan County Chapter).
This summer a friend of mine, Robert Ake, shared that he and his son, Alan, had enjoyed a four-day Boy Scout retreat in the Uwharrie Mountains in June. During the retreat, the Knights of the Round Table from the Knightly Order of the Fiat Lux (Rowan County Chapter) taught the scouts what it meant to be a medieval knight. Emphasizing that knights lived by a “code” of helping others in distress or need, they also taught that knights lived a life of honor, courage and valor.
A highlight for Robert and Alan during the retreat was a demonstration given by two knights in full battle armor. Encouraged to participate by cheering, the louder the scouts cheered, the harder the knights fought. Although Robert enjoyed the demonstration, he said, “I felt sorry for them because they were wearing about 120 pounds of armor on a hot day. It seemed one even got a cut on his head. I suppose getting smacked around can take a toll on a person, even a knight in shining armor.”
After reading my column about the Boy Scout retreat in the Salisbury Post, Rusty Sir William Shaver, a member of the Knights of the Round Table, invited me to a demonstration at the Oak Park Retirement Community. Although I couldn’t attend the event, I promised I would come to the Autumn Jubilee to see them perform in October.
Arriving at Dan Nicholas Park around 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, I followed the flow of traffic to an open field about a mile away from the park. Instead of taking the hay ride, I decided to walk and was glad I did. Walking alongside young families, I heard the excitement in children’s voices anticipating what was ahead. Then, as I meandered through the maze of vendors, crafters and smell of food, it was hard for me to resist the temptation to buy more than I could afford.
Finally, stopping to ask directions from a park employee about the location of the Knights of the Round Table, I discovered they were near the train station. After introducing myself to Rusty, he informed me I had arrived at a good time because two of the knights were getting dressed for the next show.
With the temperature over 80 degrees on a hot, October day, just as Robert had felt sorry for the knights in full armor this summer, I felt sorry for them, too. Even though I had on short sleeves and capri pants, I was still sweating, so I knew the knights were going to be miserable.
While waiting for them to appear, Rusty began sharing some of the history of the organization. He said the Knights and Squires of The Knightly Order of the Fiat Lux Inc. are a fraternal non-profit organization with a mission to recreate in the lives of their members an order dedicated to the code of chivalry. Some of the standards of that code are respect for the weak, love of the land, telling the truth, being generous and a champion for what’s right and good.
Wanting to help the community and especially the youth, The Knights of the Round Table volunteer their time and talent through demonstrations, living history presentations and fund raisers. Rusty said modern day knights often work in service oriented professions and is proud many of the members serve their community as teachers, firefighters and policemen. The two knights who fought at the Autumn Jubilee are teachers, with Sir Paul Satenstein, a drafting and architecture teacher at Concord High and Sir Dieter Stoelting, a history and economics teacher at South Rowan.
When it was time for the demonstration, I was lucky and found a seat on the shady side of the viewing area. With only a few minutes left before the show, I looked up to see a young lady sitting down beside me with her friend. The young lady said she came to see Sir Paul perform because he had been her teacher at Concord High. He was an inspiration to her during high school, and now she’s an education major at UNC-Charlotte.
As cheers and excitement from the crowd grew, Sir Paul and Sir Dieter made their entrance in full battle armor. Their stamina and willingness to give not only of their time, but talent on a Saturday afternoon to raise money for charity definitely made an impression on me.
After the good-natured battle and a winner was declared, a helmet was passed around for donations. When passed to me, I said, “This thing is so heavy, there’s no way I could walk with it on my head, much less fight.” People around me thought that was funny and laughed. The money collected that day was designated for Partners in Learning.
From a Boy Scout jamboree, to Oak Park Retirement Community, to Dan Nicholas Park and the Autumn Jubilee, you just never know where you might find a knight. Even if chivalry is dead in other towns and communities, it’s refreshing to know in Rowan County, chivalry is alive and well. Thanks, Knights of the Lux for your time and efforts in making this world a better place. Have you ever thought about making a trip to Washington, D.C.? I hear they’re in need of some chivalry.
Dicy McCullough’s books are available at local bookstores, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Call her at 704-278-4377.