A World of Castles, Knights, & Swords in Lake City: The Last Word
While on our honeymoon in Florida, my wife and I went to a place called Medieval Times. We had dinner while being entertained by knights on horseback. It was a wonderful night.
Dan Maher, of Lake City, doesn't need to travel to Florida to get that knights on horseback experience. He doesn't even have to leave his house. Just about every room in Dan's home contains something medieval. He has swords. He has shields. He has helmets. He has faces of Robin Hood characters on a wall. There's pictures and tapestries of stately European castles. He has cabinets filled with figurines, mostly of knights on their horses carrying their swords or daggers.
Dan first became fascinated with knights and castles in 1960 when he was about ten years old. He was living in Germany at an Air Force base where his father was stationed. He would play Robin Hood in the woods with his best friend Bill.
"He was Little John and I was Robin Hood and we had a bunch of other kids that would go with us,” recalls Dan.
Dan's interest changed to Pontiac GTO's and drag racing after he settled in Lake City as a teenager. However, in 1993, Dan decided to find his old friend Bill. Their reunion came thirty years after their days in Germany. Memories of those days in the woods playing Robin Hood were rekindled. It inspired Dan to begin his wonderful medieval collection. Dan even has a custom made suit of armor he can wear.
"I see them on TV. You see them in museums and all that. I thought it would be kind of nice to have an authentic suit, even though it is modern made. It's made of the proper thickness and metal,” he says.
You would have had to be a great archer if you wanted to serve as one of Robin Hood's Merry Men. So, Dan hosts a tournament for family and friends to test their archery skills. It's called The Sherwood Classic. Trophies are presented to the winners.
"I would make my speech welcoming everybody and what not. Then we would feast. We would have everybody there. Everybody would bring something. Then after the feast we would start the contest,” says Dan.
Enjoying his giant medieval collection and the archery tournaments are not enough for Dan. He also wrote a book called Shawn of Sherwood. It's about a young archer who fights to save his friendly village from an evil mercenary army with the help of Robin Hood. Dan knows the subject. Writing the book was easy.
Dan's book can be purchased online at sites such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Dan is currently working on a sequel. He and his wife are both retired from the FBI in Washington, D.C.