Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Of Jamestown, Noseriders, and Beaujolais Nouveau

The word itself inspires a Pavlovian response. And why not? It’s about food, for chrissakes.
The true story of Thanksgiving isn’t rooted in family, or sharing, or even celebrating the bounty of America (whatever the hell that means). It’s about not starving, and it goes like this:
During the mad scramble for ‘New World’ wealth and resources in the early 17th century, Spain and England squared off to expand their empires. Spain scored gold in South America, and England hoped to repeat that success in North America. The Virginia Company, named after the ‘virgin’ Queen Elizabeth I, was hastily thrown together with the following plan: go to America. Get gold. Send it back to their shareholders in England. Also, kill any Spaniards you see.
Chris is scoring some of his own gold this Thanksgiving
Plymouth, Massachusetts was not the site of the first--or even second--English colony in North America. The first was Virginia’s ‘lost colony’, which, as you can tell by their name, did not end well.
The second was the Virginia Company, who landed in Jamestown in 1607.
Why? Well, they missed their intended destination, but whatever, they were in the New World. Problem was, they posted up on an island in the James River, which was basically a brackish malarial swamp unsuitable for farming or, really, human habitation.
It did provide an excellent outpost to protect from Spanish invasion, so there was that. The Spanish never invaded, though, so there was that, too.
Seventy-five percent of the colonists died in the first two years. Why? First, their geography was not good for farming and drinking water and such. Second, the Algonquins didn’t like them, and sometimes killed them. Contrary to popular belief, the Native Americans weren’t roving bands of hostile nomads, they had established communities up and down the coastal east coast with established trade routes and everything. They had it dialed. Know who didn’t? The Virginia Company, who, two years after they arrived entered what they called the ‘Starving Time’, which doesn’t really need further explication.
First they ate their livestock and pets. Then mice and rats. Then they ate their belts and shoes. They sucked the starch off of their shirt collars. They dug up the graves of their fallen and ate them. And then the cannibalism.
No judgement—times were tough.
Sixty of the original five-hundred survived.
Then, in June of 1610, help arrived in the form of another English ship carrying food supplies. Just in time, too, as they described the Jamestown colonists as, “Shrunk down almost to the skeleton, resembling corpses held upright by marionette strings.”
The sixty remaining colonists were saved, and decided to commemorate their lack-of-starving-to-death by eating some life-saving food. Hence, Thanksgiving.
So there you have it. No funny hats and shoes (they’d already eaten those). No sharing with the indigenous peoples (who didn't think they'd survive much longer, anyway). 458 miles from Plymouth Rock.
It was about food. And it is still about food.
So eat up on Thanksgiving, then go out for a surf—it’s good for digestion, meditation, and fun times. Things those in the Virginia Company didn't have the opportunity to enjoy.
Chris will be surfing his new Thanksgiving 9’5 noserider. I could say something here about his feasting on waves with it, or giving thanks to the bounties of the ocean (whatever the hell that means) or, even worse, gobbling up pointbreak peelers while perched on the nose, but I'll hold back and just wish you a peaceful holiday.
Suggested pairing: All Thanksgiving boards should be paired with a Beaujolais Nouveau. This shit was still on the vine, like, six weeks ago! If wine snobs tell you that Beaujolais Nouveau isn't worth drinking, then they've never gotten a good buzz off the stuff and then made out with someone. Recommended.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Of Broadswords, Treehouses, Rum, and Poor Photography


7'10 Broadsword for Brian, a local acolyte of shred, treehouses, and mindblowing single-malt rum.
Super rich coke-bottle green tint by the new guy at Almar. Fins courtesy of Rainbow Fin Co. Cedar stringer produced by the earth.
As a note of personal defense, even JP at Surfy Surfy, the guy who takes more pictures of surfboards than any other human being who has ever lived, admits it's hard to take pictures of surfboards.