|PG on The Susan Constant|
October 1, 2011...Good morning, friends…today GPS coordinates find me in Jamestown, Virginia. Along with BOG (minus Camper) and trusty Scout, we wound our way in the Ford Pickup south through rainy Somerset and south to Cumberland and Berkeley Springs, through some of the most beautiful Appalachian forests on a very complicated two-lane route. Thanks to Scout, many arguments and road side stops for map study were averted.
We ended up in Williamsburg VA in just enough time to eat at a local pub and chat with some locals and walk through the chilly streets before some well deserved rest. Early to rise, we ate breakfast at a local joint and I had my fill of southern grits.
Onward to Jamestown and the preserved settlement. I climbed aboard one of the three replica ships, The Susan Constant, that brought the settlers to the Chesapeake Bay area and had some fun doing my Titanic impression. Okay didn’t quite work…the gentleman demonstrating the canon and telling tales of pirates informed me that I was at the stern of the boat and not the bow. Well, so picky.
I always learn something, or relearn something new on my journeys. Although the early settlers were eventually successful, and a tour of the working settlement was great, it was the early 1600’s settlement that I found most interesting and a bit gory, the period known as The Starving Time. The settlers mistrusted the Powhatans so much and expected savagery that they rejected their welcome and offers, and during the brutal winter, disease and starvation killed over 80% of the colony. The colonists were desperate and ate all sorts of bizarre things (boiled leather shoes, toadstools, rats of course), and eventually began digging up the corpses and well… Just how is human flesh prepared: "boiled and stewed with roots and herbs," "powdered," (salted) "carbonadoed” (barbequed). This is not a healthy diet...roots, toadstools, and wives are not on the Food Pyramid. It was Captain John Smith who wrote of the turn of events across the pond in his General History of Virginia who wrote: I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.
We all know tales of cannibalism throughout history, The Donner Party was a group of American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train, the group whose plane crashed in the Andes (the movie Alive), serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and many more…some we’re probably not aware of.
Mr. Green Genes" by Frank Zappa (from the Mothers of Invention album Uncle Meat) makes a funny reference to cannibalism: "Eat the truck & driver / And his gloves / NUTRITIOUSNESS! DELICIOUSNESS! WORTHLESSNESS!" BTW, it was said at one time that Frank Zappa was the son of Mr. Greenjeans from Captain Kangaroo, but alas that rumor proved to be untrue.
Well..I’ve had my “fill” of cannibals for now, time for lunch…until my next stop…
Peace on the road, keep your eyes open….XOXO PG