Saturday, November 18, 2017

Off Course???

After sixty six days at sea the Mayflower  and her weary and cold travelers were looking at their new world. Due to the weather the Mayflower was off her course and instead of dropping anchor near the mouth of the Hudson River, she was north near the entrance to the bay of Cape Cod. The crew and passengers decided to sail south to the mouth of the Hudson.

Sailing south the ship encountered such a violent storm that both crew and passengers feared shipwreck and almost certain death in the cold Atlantic. In desperation the Mayflower came about and headed back north to the relative safety of the harbor of Cape Cod. Still damaged the ship made it to the bay and dropped anchor. The bay, almost an enclosed refuge, would become home to the Mayflower and the staging point of the Pilgrims exploration of the area.

For the next weeks the crew and a small number of the Pilgrims made numerous landings along the shore. The search for water was rewarded with the, "sweetest pools of water ever imagined." Juniper wood was gathered and taken aboard the Mayflower. The aroma from the burning conifer was a sweet relief from the stench of five months under sail. The crew also was able to re-supply the wood for cooking and cleaning.

After a time of exploring a site was chosen for the beginning of the settlement. It was defensible against any attack and within an easy distance of good water. On December 23, the majority of the Pilgrims left the ship and began building their new lives. As Sunday was the 24th the Pilgrims didn't work but spent their first Sunday in worship and praise. Work began in earnest the following day. As Separatist, Pilgrims  did not celebrate Christmas day as they thought it to be a "pagan tradition."

During the construction of the meeting house and various homes many of the Pilgrims continued to sleep aboard the Mayflower. The frigid wind off of the Atlantic forced the settlers to build as fast as possible. This meant that the days were long and the blowing winds and snow would begin to take a very deadly toll.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Voyage of the Mayflower

The ship's manifest listed one hundred and three passengers, one hundred and two by family name. The one hundred and third passenger was listed as, Dorothy, maidservant. In July of 1620 the Mayflower was being fitted and loaded with provisions for its journey to the New World. She was to wait in South Hampton for the ship Speedwell. The Speedwell had sailed to the Netherlands to pick up the passengers, who had been living in Leiden. Once the Speedwell met the Mayflower they would begin the long and dangerous voyage across the Atlantic. It was still nice sailing weather and the monstrous Atlantic should still be sleeping.

By the time the Speedwell did reach her rendezvous with the Mayflower they were already a week behind schedule. The Speedwell was taking on water and in need of repairs that lasted a week. On August the 5th both ships left the safety of the harbor and headed across the Atlantic. Both crews were hoping that even leaving in early August they would not face the horror of North Atlantic storms.

As both ships headed West the Speedwell began taking on water again. The Mayflower and the Speedwell were now three hundred miles out in the ocean. Both ships headed back for England and the port at Plymouth. Upon arriving in Plymouth it was determined that the repairs on the Speedwell would take to long and her cargo was added to the Mayflower. As disappointment and anger grew, many of the passengers on board the Speedwell abandoned their plans for a new life.

With the remaining passengers joining those on the Mayflower, she set sail on September 6th. By this the weather and the seas were not to be trusted, but the decision was made to sail on. For the first half of the voyage the wind and weather blessed the Mayflower and her crew and passengers. That was to end as the Lady passed the half way mark on the Captain's chart.

As the weather changed one Godless crewman told the Pilgrims that he couldn't wait for some of them to die, so he could throw them overboard and steal their provisions. For the next thirty days the Mayflower was at the mercy of the Monster of the deep. On more than one occasion the ship had to bring down her sail and ride out the storms. During an especially fearsome attack by the watery monster a mast cracked and the crew feared the ship to be lost. The ship's carpenter secured the mast till proper repairs could be done.

Some days before the sighting of land the "Godless crewman" became suddenly ill and died. The ship's log recorded his death as "The Hand of God." During the voyage a child was born and three days short of landfall a young lad died.

On November 9th in the Year of Our Lord, Sixteen Hundred and Twenty, land was sighted. The sixty six day journey across the Atlantic was done.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taught by a Sparrow at Walmart

I don't have much desire to go shopping, I guess I have no desire to go grocery shopping and even less desire to go to WalMart. It is not that I have anything against the store, quite the opposite, competition is good.But, I know that if I did much shopping in WalMart I would end up in jail, or at least in court. You see, I have no patience for crazy people armed with a steel cage on four wheels.

The first time some crazie hit me with a cart as they tried to get in front of me to beat me to the express check out I would hit them with my stick. It is no ordinary stick, (fancy term for cane) my big brother made it for me and it is one fine piece of wood. The handle has a natural curve and it is a bit on the heavy side. Now, I wouldn't mean to hit that crazy it would be just a natural reaction to keep my self from being injured. Boil all of this paragraph down to this: I don't go in to WALMART. I sit in the car or truck, prefering my truck.

OK, I hope you are still reading this because I do want to get to a rather funny yet very important point. It was during one of my many handicapped parking place vigils that I watched a rather fascinating event take place. In the parking lot there seemed to be a lot of sparrows, you know, the birds Jesus talked about. As I watched I saw one little guy run, skip, whatever they do, under a car.

And then I watched him jump between the front grill and the radiator. And to my surprise and he had just entered the Little Birdie Buffet. For 4 or 5 minutes the little two winged glutton gobbled down on bees, horse flies, moths, dragonflies and, don't tell Donna, a butterfly. I tell you the flying porker ate so much it was a wonder he could even get off the ground.

I have been dealing with anxiety lately, a lot of it. It is unusual for me as my kids will attest to be anxious. I have been able to identify a couple of reasons. I have allowed a few cares to slip in. I am thinking of retirement and the path seems rough. Donna and I have our land and it is gorgeous. It fronts a small river in Northeastern Michigan. God helped in that matter.

The next is an issue that many of us deal with; health concerns. Due to my spinal cord injury I am pretty limited in what I can do. That, bothers the #$#@ out of me. Donna is going through some pretty heavy health issues that make mine pale in comparison. So, I am not sure what our golden years will be like..

The words of Jesus come to me, "Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your heavenly Father knowing." If God can take care of His birds with a WalMart store He will take care of us. I guess I need to go and sit in the WalMart parking lot for a few hours and put a couple of things to rest.

Thanks to the Sparrows.