Friday, February 10, 2012

Leif's Coif and Armor

Tonight Peter W. and I went to the German American Club Fasching party, like a Mardi Gras celebration German style. Although it's traditional to wear costumes, most of those attending don't, and the smaller percentage who do are competing for small cash prizes.

This year, Peter W. went as a knight, wearing the chain mail coif (the head covering you see in the photo) that Leif made and one of the beautifully crafted hand and wrist armor pieces that Leif purchased in 2003. He combined a shield he made with a shirt made from two dragon flags and completed his costume with leggings, boots, a sword and a dagger.

There were a lot of comments on the coif and many questions, asking what it was made of. They couldn't seem to believe it was really metal chain mail.

Peter won third prize for his costume, and although he was disappointed because he won first prize last year and second the year before that, considering that most people (including me) didn't win a prize, he should have been pleased.

Leif's coif and armor reminded me so of him, and his participation in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). I could almost see his bemused smile, had he seen his dad in this garb.

As I have said so many times, Leif is still with us in so many ways, in our thoughts and hearts, in all the things he left behind, the photos, the belongings, the memories.

I remember when he made the coif. He was very proud of it. He truly created it from scratch, purchasing a giant spool of wire. He used a drill to wind it around a rod and then he cut it into links which he wove in a beautiful pattern to make the coif. He had no pattern that I know of, just figured out how to make it fit his head, face and neck. I've posted this photo of him in it before. I wonder how many tiny links the coif contains and how many hours it took him to make it. Nowhere near as many hours as it took to make the huge (because it had to fit on his 6'2" frame) chain mail "shirt" (which I believe should be called a byrnie or haubergeon) that must have required both thousands of links and hundreds of hours. It weighed 52 pounds. How he ever managed to fight in SCA bouts wearing that shirt, other metal armor, and a heavy metal helmet, as well as carrying heavy weapons, amazes me. He was so very strong.

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