Travel back in time with me for a few minutes. The year is 1658. That is the first record I have of Edward Allgood showing up in America. That’s right; it was about 350 years ago. It was 38 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. New York City wasn’t even a city back then. Perhaps there were a few Europeans trading beads with the Native Americans and trying to figure out some way to get a good deal on some property. They were the probably the first Donald Trumps in the new world.

As I close my eyes I am imagining old Edward and his wife pulling into a harbor somewhere on the eastern seaboard and seeing not much more than a tree lined beach with a few puffs of smoke rising from a cook fire up on a ridge somewhere. Eddie had probably pulled out his last hair after hearing his kids ask, “Are we there yet?” And, if his wife was anything like mine she had emptied her bottle of Dramamine.

They were down to their last charge on their cell phones and I-pods. The kids had seen all the DVD’s a hundred times and started using them for Frisbees. The bunks they slept on below deck were the original waterbeds because the little wooden boat leaked like the dickens.

“Well, Honey, we’re home! Where would you like to eat tonight?”

“I don’t care. Where would you like to eat? I picked the last time we ate out.”

I’ll bet those sentences never crossed their lips. It was probably more like…

“As soon as my feet hit that shore I’m taking ole Betsy out into the woods and try to plug a rabbit or a stag. You scrounge around and see if you can find enough dried wood to build a fire so we can cook something before the sun goes down.”

“You kids drag our stuff off the boat and stack it beneath one of those big old oak trees over there on that ridge. Keep it high and dry in case it starts raining. When you’ve done that dig out the axes and froes. We need to start cutting down some trees to build a lean-to until we have time to build a real cabin.”

“Oh, by the way, watch out for wild Indians; rattle snakes and bears. We need you to live long and prosper so Rick Algood will be able to write about all of these adventures 350 years from now. Don’t go and get yourself killed or anything like that.”

Can you imagine what it was really like? To travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a little wooden boat hoping to make it to a new world? Did they come on their own accord or were they driven out by some persecution of some sort? We probably will never know the answers to those questions. Nevertheless, they came. They survived… and, they prospered. Thus, here we are today. Here we are speculating on what it must have been like all those years ago to land in an unknown land with not much more than the bare essentials to survive with. Perhaps they brought with them some cookware, a few clothes, a little food, a lot of hope and a lot of heartache. They came knowing they would never see their family that was left behind in the old world. They had said their goodbyes and given Mom and Dad a last farewell hug and kiss. Their parents, grandparents and relatives probably stood at the shore and watched as their children sailed over the horizon and out of sight for the very last time. It had to be devastating.

Were there sea monsters out there that would gobble them up? Would they get sick and be tossed overboard after they died a horrible death? Would they live to see another day, another land, and another tomorrow? I can only imagine what they and their families were thinking. But, they made it. We know because we are here as living proof. Now, try to imagine what our lives would be like if they hadn’t taken that chance. Where would we be living today? What language would we be speaking? I don’t even want to think about that. I have enough trouble wading through the English language with the aid of spell-check. I just know I am grateful they took that chance. They were brave folks back then. Brave or crazy or desperate. I vote for the latter. Desperation is my motivating factor. I hate leaving my comfort zone. In honor of them I would like to run out to McDonalds and order a Happy Meal… with a large order of fries, and perhaps, one of those fried apple pies.

But, my doctor has scolded me to watch my high cholesterol, so I’ll just stay home and snack on some of those prepackaged little carrots things my wife picked up at the super market the last time she was there. You know something? I’ll bet the last thing on our ancestor’s minds was worrying about their cholesterol. So, the next time you and the little spouse go out to eat and one of you says to the other, “Where would you like to eat tonight, Honey?” Think again. Think about old Edward and his family landing on the shore of a new world tired and hungry.

“What would you like to eat tonight, Honey?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Just shoot something, skin it, gut it and I’ll throw it in the pot. But, if you happen see one of those possum things hanging from a tree… I could really go for one of those.” “If you don’t, anything you shoot will be fine by me.”

Rick Algood
June 5, 2010


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