A long time ago, a group of extraordinarily courageous people boarded a couple of very small ships, Mayflower and Speedwell, and headed off across the Atlantic to make a better life for themselves. Very few of them survived the voyage. But what they started, when they made landfall near a place called Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, became, after much trial and error, much anguish and hardship, The United States of America. They never knew that. I don’t know whether they had any idea that they were “starting something”, at all.
The first contact the Pilgrims had with the natives was with a fella (whose name escapes me), who had been taken, earlier in his life as a slave, to England, where he was educated by the Jesuits, managed to win his freedom, and gained passage to return to his home. He spoke perfect English. (It sounds like a fairy tale, I know. It’ is a true, and well-documented story. It’s the history of America’s founding.) Well, this guy comes walking into the camp of the pilgrims (they’d been there for a while by this time), and says, “Welcome. Do you have any beer?” (I’m not making this up.) The Pilgrims had no beer, so they said, “No, we have no beer. Would you like some Brandy?” And thus it began.
I’m thankful on this day that there were a small group of adventurous souls, willing to set out on the unknown, with faith in God, their Protector. I’m thankful that I’m, in a way, a beneficiary of the kind of moxsie that became known as The American Spirit.