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Tuesday, August 15, 2017



Finding out about roots, ancestry and DNA seem to be the ways to discover who you REALLY are these days.
It's easy!

Just spit in a bottle, affix a label, send it to the lab with a fee and voila! In two weeks you may have to turn the lederhosen in for a kilt! Or not.

Talk to anyone in Plymouth. MA and the surrounding area, and everyone is related to someone (or at the very least has a connection to one of the four chickens on board), who came over here on the Mayflower.

My wife and I have found lists with names everyone would recognize because of their high profile celebrity status. Because of her early research about her ancestry, Deone is in some good company.

Now guys like me (not here but back in ND), have no illusions about the Mayflower. We know we are Germans from Russia and our heroine is Catherine the Great and not the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I - the namesake of Virginia.

In fact, when the Mayflower hit Cape Cod in 1620 they were headed for Virginia but got a bit off course. Because of the time of year and the difficulty involved in navigation down the coast, the leaders of the group of 98 of 102 who made the 66 day journey alive, decided to explore what became Plymouth Colony.

But before they even went ashore, they had a job to do.

Roughly half the passengers were qualified under the crown to forge some kind of contract for self-governance of this new venture. (Later it was discovered it had to be renamed and put under another agreement called the First Peirce Patent to satisfy English legal requirements).

The original document was called the Mayflower Compact and has been honored with distinction as:

"The foundation of the U.S. Constitution of the USA"
John Adams
"One of the most remarkable statements for self-governance ever written"
Winston Churchill

Back to the passengers and the relationship to what this voyage on the Mayflower was about. It becomes clear to even a casual observer that neither level of education or social status contributed to the configuration of this new group of immigrants who would colonize America.

And herein lies the truth.

The people on this ship were looking for something.

Later the words of Emma Lazarus would immortalize the answer to their question, She wrote, ".....give me your poor, your tired your huddled masses YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE."

While I don't want to offend anyone (like my wife) who actually descended from William Brewster, I can't help but say when I read those words, "that was the same reason my grandpa and grandma came!"

It's probably why my wife and I are kindred spirits and why you are reading this.

We're Americans.

Who cares when I came or where I came from?

It follows that many of these first colonists were dissenters - Willism Brewster was the leader of the Separatists. These individuals were considered the most radical and had severed ties with the Church of England. Brewster penned and printed several booklets and a full length tome on grievances against the restriction of religious practice.

He and several others were living in Holland where the Mayflower actually left for the Americas. He would have been executed if he had been caught leaving England without permission.

Deone and I have often joked that we would be the some of the first rounded up and put away for our beliefs concerning government and its role in the private affairs of the people if this country lost its status as a representative democracy.

No matter what is more consistent with one's "ancestry", the polka and sausage or the minuet and high tea, one thing is sure. The people on this boat were not expecting a handout or even a hand-up. They risked everything for an opportunity.

Although I'm not sure I'm ready to stand with the great Patrick Henry and cry, "Give me liberty or give me death", I will say with Ben Franklin, "Well gentleman, I say we all hang together or we will most certainly hang separately."

We have to stick together and Let Freedom Ring. Next on our itinerary is Boston. There we are hoping to get some inspiration and even information for our "journal".

And of course while we are there, since the Red Sox are in town playing the Yankees, we will be "forced" to engage in what has been dubbed America's favorite pastime - now if that's not part of the imagination that made this country what it is.....

Your fellow PILGRIMS and freedom-lovers,

Gary & Deone


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