No. 546

The next password is sandy



For many children in school, history is a dull, boring subject. For others it is thrilling and exciting. Have you ever thought about what makes the difference? While I have no scientific proof to back this up, I suspect many children are predisposed to history because of their heritage. They come from a line of historians, teachers and others where history was discussed in the home when they were growing up. I also suspect that many other children are turned on to history because of a creative, exciting history teacher who literally made the subject come alive.
A few months ago I learned something about our nation's history that I had never heard before. Here in my late '60s, I guess this proves the old adage we have all heard, you never get too old to learn. I was watching a television news program and they had a guest on the program whose name is Eric Metaxas, and he has written a book titled, "Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving." The story he told about the earliest days of the settlement of the land that was later to become the United States of America was thrilling to hear.
Since that time I have talked with a good number of people about the story of Squanto and they, like me, had never heard it either. You may be way ahead of us, and if this is the case, congratulations. If you have not heard it, this little "snapshot" may be of interest and something you can pass along to others. To quickly set the stage, we have all heard the saying, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." This is the year that Christopher Columbus, sailing under the flag of Spain, discovered the New World. Later, in 1607, the English would establish the settlement of Jamestown, now in the state of Virginia, as the first permanent settlement.
In a few short years, in 1620, the Pilgrims sailing on the Mayflower would land at Plymouth Rock. However, during the intervening years there were other ships that came up and down the Atlantic coastline. On many occasions some of the native Indians would trade with them. In 1608, men from one of these ships, while at first acting friendly, captured a group of Indian braves and took them to Spain, where they sold them as slaves. One of these braves was Squanto. Unlike the other braves, Squanto was bought by a group of monks who were kind to him, taught him their language, and taught him about God.
Squanto's dream was to return home, and the monks began to make plans to help him. In about five years they sent him to London to a family they knew there. During the next five years Squanto learned their customs and learned to speak perfect English. Finally, the big day arrived when he would board a ship sailing for the New World. When the ship arrived, it landed at Massachusetts Bay, not far from the place he had been taken captive 10 years earlier. After searching for his tribe for several days, he learned they had all died from a terrible illness.
He was all alone, until he finally found another tribe nearby, where he stayed for a short period of time. He decided to return to his home area and stayed in the woods by himself until he came upon the Pilgrims, who had landed at Plymouth Rock a year earlier. Needless to say they were greatly surprised to see an Indian brave come out of the woods and be speaking perfect English. Tragically, more than half of the Pilgrims had died because of the harsh winter.
Squanto began to teach them how to plant corn by putting a fish under the kernels for fertilizer, how to catch eels in muddy streams and the best places to look for lobsters among the sea rocks. The following fall the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving and Gov. William Bradford prayed, "Thank you Lord for sending Squanto to us. We know your hand has been upon him and he is Your living answer to our tears and prayers."
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")

The next password is sandy