In Love and War

Two members of a medieval recreation society find a bond that transcends time
Monday, December 8, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:26 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

It’s just an old-fashioned love story. Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Boy challenges girl to a sword fight.

Calvin Patten of Columbia is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that recreates medieval scenarios, such as sword fights and royal ceremonies.

Patten gives Custer a drink during a break from her battle. Patten met Custer through the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Patten met his girlfriend, Jenny Custer, who is also a member, two years ago at an SCA event.

He said it is common for members to find that special someone at one of its many weekend events.

“It’s sort of a birds-of-a-feather-flock-together type thing,” Patten said.

Patten and Custer participate in weekend festivals on a regular basis. They often hone their fighting skills by sparring with each other in Peace Park, but the two have never had to fight in a tournament.

Patten and Custer lace up their bracers before their names are called to fight.

“I get more nervous when she’s fighting than when I am,” he said, glancing at Custer as she jabbed at a man who outweighed her by more than 100 pounds.

Mark Judisch, an avid SCA member, said the time-demanding nature of the events is one reason members often date within the group.

“It involves a lot of traveling,” he said. “I think it’s hard for someone not involved to understand.”

Judisch has been dating Kelly Bettis for more than three years. Like Patten and Custer, they also met at an SCA event.

With more than 28,000 SCA members worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities for a medieval love connection.

Patten’s and Custer’s armor lies on the Southern Boone County High School gym floor during the Toys For Tots Tournament in Ashland. Fighters were required to donate a toy before they could enter the combat ring.

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