In our attempt to find something new, see something new, and have a new experience every weekend, this Sunday Malli and I woke up early, got some of the chores out-of-the-way and headed to Plymouth Massachusetts around 930am.
On the way we called Ravi to congratulate her for her wonderful O/L results. We talked about what she’s going to do next, what she’s going to do here, and what her options are. So much love and laughter in the car, we didn’t even notice the 45 minute drive that got us to the Plymouth (or Plimouth as we saw it spelled everywhere) waterfront. Our first stop was a tiny gift shop where we acquired, a free map of Plymouth, a free guidebook, a copy of the Mayflower Compact and a tiny book of Native American Wisdom. We were now totally prepared for exploring the small and as it happens, busy New England town of Plymouth.
Our first stop was Plymouth Rock, which is rather underwhelming compared to the story. 1620 is etched on the face of a rock that must be the size of a small bench. In learning about the pilgrims, and the significance of the Mayflower compact my impression of Plymouth rock was a boulder than overshadowed the small town. On the other hand, later visiting the Pilgrim’s Hall, it made more sense why the rock was important.
Cape Cod bay is a shallow harbour and a large freight ship (which is what the Mayflower was) would not be able to come in. So the Pilgrims (or separatists as it were) were forced to load their people and luggage into smaller boats and row onto land. Plymouth rock, as underwhelming as it is, is where these people, ostracized and shunned from their community, escaped persecution and first touched the soil of freedom. They had also been on a small ship, not built for passengers for the better part of 2 months. Putting your feet on any kind of rock must have felt like a blessing! So while it was not a large boulder, the significance of that rock was not lost to us.
We were ( as Islanders) of course first drawn to the ocean. It was a beautiful sunshine-y day, but the wind was brisk and cold. We walked along the seashore, passing people with their dogs and some people completing “a walk” for MS. There was a jetty that stretched out into the calm waters so we walked along it to the very edge. Malli and I talked like we are apt to at times, openly about our hopes, our fears, what we want in life. We talked about responsibility and Truth.
It appeared Plymouth was a great place for heart to heart discussions. We then followed the map into the city and walked along Main street. We stopped at Pilgrim Hall and for the tiny fee of $6 dollars (with our AAA membership) explored the small museum.
We learned about the “Pilgrims” or separatists as they were known. I wondered if Thanksgiving was a busy time in Plymouth with groups of school visits. I would hope at least the kids in nearby New England towns came out to visit the place. I learned that turkey wasn’t the main meal at the first Thanksgiving, but Venison. I learned that the written agreement between the natives and separatists in Plymouth was the only written contract that was not broken. (Thank god there was at least one… I’m begining to understand the term White guilt) I learned that the Separatists didn’t have much of an imagination, when they sailed from Plymouth England, and decided to name the land of their freedom- Plymouth, New England. I rediscovered the difficulties the people faced, when 105 people traveled to New England, but by the end of the year only 51 remained.
I love American history. It has its inconsistencies, its hypocrisies but all of its flaws make it real. It’s such a recent history, and there is so much to learn, not only of the people who built this nation, but the people who lost their nation. But mostly the lessons are of humanity in itself. The jealousies, possession, greed that drives people to power; the hopelessness, the apathy that drives people to sit aside. And the moments when a collective conscience is touched by some injustice and a whole generation rises to meet the challenge. (Disclaimer- I’m not holding American History as “more” interesting than other history. Just describing my love for American history, and History in general)
I find that I love America and I love being American. Because as much as we may complain about the actions of our government, or call our leaders buffoons and hypocrites, we CAN say those things, and we can be (perhaps it makes us into) proud Americans. It bothers me when people come here and complain. I understand that this country is not like wherever you came from, but isn’t that why you came? And if you are so unhappy why do you stay? Talk about hypocrisy.
But I also despise “Americans” who see themselves as superior to more recent immigrants. There are no Americans save the Natives; all other people are older immigrants, or more recent immigrants. Please. Respect. (It’s a tall order I know, but one can hope.)
Anyway, after the museum visit, we walked back to the car and drove to Plymouth Plantation. It looked from the outside like a Great Adventure, but the Cost ($35 per person for the entire visit) was too much for the two of us, so we left and drove instead to White Horse Beach. After exploring a little longer, we returned to Plymouth town and after checking our options decided to eat at Percy’s Place. I didn’t realize at the time that Percy’s Place is a chain of restaurants. When we were standing at the door reading the menu, a couple was stepping out and said, “Oooh the best breakfast! You should eat here.” We took their advise and were seated by a sunny window overlooking the main street. Our waitress was fun and helpful. We ordered our food (Steak and Eggs for Malli, Cheeseburger for me,) and while we waited played with the games on the table. Trivia, Silly jokes, and an interesting IQ test that looked a bit like Chinese checkers. (We both loved that innovative idea of having entertainment handy while waiting for your food. Time flies when you’re having a good time. 🙂 )
I drove back while Malli napped in the passenger seat. It was quiet save Elvis crooning on the radio, and I was alone with my thoughts. Malli was snoring beside me. I reflected on our conversation with Ravi in the morning, about how lovely it will be to share these experiences with her (and Jani too in a few years.) I reflected on Plymouth and what the early settlers went through for their freedom, only to limit the freedom of those that came after. I reflected on my life and how blessed I am to be able to have these excursions, broaden my mind, and improve my knowledge.
Another weekend comes, and another adventure awaits.
Travel is my life blood.