Monday, June 23, 2008

Sometimes Things Just Work Out

Yep, Rambler (Vicki’s boat) pulled out all the stops to sweep from 3rd place to 1st place in the Newport to Bermuda race, bypassing Speedboat (Norm’s pick) which had been leading for most of the race and which finished in 3rd place. Vicki’s practice of selecting teams based on the color of their jerseys served her well once again (she used to win football pools that way); Rambler’s sailors were outfitted in a green similar to the shade of Tide Hiker’s living room. Donnybrook is expected to finish ...soon (sorry Robin). Vicki is mulling over her choice of dessert – perhaps key lime pie to pay homage to the color green (plus Norm has been lobbying really hard for key lime pie which is one of Robin’s specialities).

Fabulous day yesterday. Started with using the new exercise contraption pictured here – good aerobic workout -- gotta look out for the waves, though.

Stayed put and spent the day playing tourist in Plymouth, Massachusetts, home of Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, and the longest continuous English settlement in the new world. Many fun facts learned today…

Based on our perusal of the cemetery, in the 1600s-1700s, you either died young or lasted a good long time. Surprising how many people died in their 70s and 80s. (We thought the lifespan was shorter back then, but it doesn’t seem so.) We also discovered that Jim can read Roman numerals with the letters M,C and L in them – a rare talent, indeed.

Incredible displays of yankee ingenuity from the 1600s. The Plymouth grist mill blocked herring going up river to spawn, so they built a fish ladder. The 2500 lb. grinding stone in the mill had to be cleaned regularly, so they figured out a way that one person could lever it up and turn it over. And yankee ingenuity from today… the wooden gears in the mill need to be oiled with vegetable oil daily which used to take 1.5 hours, but now takes just minutes thanks to Pam spray!

The New England coast had been explored by John Smith years before and the captain of the Mayflower had a map, so knew where he was when land was sighted. The Mayflower was bound for Virginia, took 66 days to sight land, started south toward Virginia but turned around due to weather, sent scouts ashore on Cape Cod who found little water, poor land and hostile natives. Someone on the boat had been with a previous expedition and remembered that just west across the bay (Plymouth) the land had been cleared by the indians but no one lived there anymore. It turns out that the native tribe that cleared the land had all been wiped out by measles except for one person who was taken in by a monastery in England. That one Indian ended up being the translator for the pilgrims and the native people in the area. They signed a peace treaty without which the pilgrims wouldn’t have survived. Sometimes things just work out.

Women had it tough under English colonial law. Women unescorted after dark could be arrested. They couldn't inherit. And the husband could legally beat her with a stick no larger than his thumb (origin of the phrase "rule of thumb"). You've come a long way, baby!

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