by Barry Dennis, Guest Columnist
September 9, 1620—Day 1: It truly is a new day, for today we are at sea. Finally on our way to the new land. As always, I tucked my children in tonight but this time on the Mayflower, huddled close together. They asked a lot of questions about the new land. I told them everything I know which really isn’t very much, but I told them it was beautiful and that “we will be free.” They said, “It sounds like paradise, Dad!” I said, “Ya, it does,” and with that we started a new night time routine as I pulled the covers up, kissed them on their forehead and said, “See you in paradise.”
October 30—Day 51: It was beginning to feel as though this trip would never end. Last night, as always, I pulled the covers up and said, “See you in paradise.” Jacob whispered, “Daddy, are we really going to get there some day?” “We will Jacob, we will,” I said.
Well, today was “someday,” we heard the greatest sound we could ever imagine. The words screaming from the top of the mast, “land ho, land ho!” We couldn’t believe our eyes…really. I turned to my beloved wife, “Do you see what I see?”
No words, just a look and a tear. We embraced and then picked the children up so they could see over the rail. Little Suzy said, “Is that it Daddy, are we there?” “Yes dear, we made it.” “It’s beautiful,” she said, as we slowly drew near. “It’s paradise.”
October 31—Day 52: We all fell down on our knees as we stepped off the Mayflower. It seemed an appropriate moment to give thanks, and pray. And, the truth is, the ground seemed to sway back and forth, even more than the sea for several days after our arrival while we adjusted to solid ground again. It’s very humbling. We decided that whenever someone stumbled from sea legs it was just God’s way of reminding us to be humble, to stay grounded, and to give thanks for our many blessings.
November 24—Day 76: Although I’ve had quite a cough the last few days, today I hardly noticed because today was truly the most splendid celebration I have ever partaken in. And not just us, but nearly a hundred Indians of the Wampanoag Nation joined us. Little Suzy was very taken by their colorful clothes. And there was laughter when they arrived with their arms full of corn, deer and fowl for the feast, for there was no place to put it. Our cup truly runneth over. We are blessed.
It was a sacred moment as we all bowed our heads together to say grace. “Dear Lord, we are grateful for all your blessings. Let us not forget the bounty that is laid before us each and every day of our lives.” And as the blessing came to a close, the leader of the Wampanoag Nation stood, arms lifted to the sky in praise saying, “The plant has its nourishment from the earth, yet its limbs go up this way, toward the sky, in praise of its maker.” And with that we all said “amen” and the celebration began.
January 20th—I’m afraid this will be my last entry. But I have no regrets. This is the place where my children will grow and have families of their own. That alone is enough. I am content. If my purpose in this life was to be a part of this new beginning then it is done. I am truly grateful. The cough I had has progressed and I have grown very weak. I’m not the first, I won’t be the last, but my wife, and children are strong. Don’t look back. Keep building what we have begun.
Jacob, Suzy, and my beloved wife: “Land ho, Land ho! I’ll see you in paradise!”