Thursday, August 1, 2013

road trip chronicles day 16

 

The goal is to see all 50 states - not just so we can say we've done it, but so we can show our kids that everywhere has something to offer, that the world is bigger than their backyard.

That's what necessitated our stop at Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island. Less than 50 miles across, we didn't have much time in Rhode Island, but there was no way we were calling the inside of a Wendy's the best Rhode Island has to offer. 


The water was cold and the beach was rocky (no shells to be found, but plenty of polished stones and sea glass). The advantage here, is that the shore isn't littered with shark's teeth, reminding you of exactly who you're swimming with. The disadvantage is that the water is dark, so you have no clue who you're swimming with - but you can be dang sure that whatever it is has claws and has no fear of climbing up on shore to greet you. 




We just waded, and then toured the inside of a Wendy's for lunch.

We kept rolling until we hit Plimoth Plantation living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (They use the old school spelling, since that's how the original folks used to spell it.) We only had an hour and half, but it was enough to know we're heading back tomorrow.  Tonight we visited a Wampanoag homesite, where we saw Wampanoag tribespeople creating canoes with fire, grinding corn, cooking flat cakes, weaving belts and playing with 17th century toys - all stuff they let us try too!


Yoda loved the gathering circle, where everyone had their own rock to sit on. Rico loved it too:


The cool part about this place is that the tribespeople are not in character, they are modern people who do these things while talking about their ancestors - and they know their stuff. Here was conversation number one:

"Hey, what's your name?" 
"Neeks."
"Neeks.  That is a really pretty and unusual name. I bet you think I have one too. I don't. My name is Tim."


Tim actually did have an Wampanoag name as well - Little Big Hawk. He said that native children are given names to reflect their personalities, and as the child grows, the name may evolve, or be added to, so that by the time you are an elder you are (and I quote), "Big Chief Eagle Something Awesome."


Tim also led a discussion inside the winter home - a large hut where the families gathered together to live in the winter. He told us that the average life expectancy for Wampanoag tribesmen in the 1600's was about 90 years old. He said it was because they ate off the land, and almost always walked or ran at least 5 miles a day. In certain cases hunters could travel over 100 miles in one day (on foot). And contrary to what the movies would have us believe, they often chased and clubbed down deer, as opposed to using a bow and arrow.

"Whoa!" One kid said, "are you Wampanoag?"
"Yeah," he said, "but no way I could do that. I couldn't run a mile. My heart would pop out of my chest and I'd be like, 'somebody get me a Twinkie!'"


The games were great too. Yoda loved the little corn husk and rag dolls. She loved banging the sticks together to make music, and watching the little kids her age running around in native dress. Punk and Kooka loved playing the bone catcher game. It's something like the game from Mexico where you try to swing the little ball on a string into a cup and catch it. But this toy was made with a sharp antler and ring shaped bones, so it was much more difficult.  What it really looked like, is Voldemort's wand, and the kids had a great time shouting, "EXPECTRO PATRONUM!" every time they flipped it. Punk was quite surprised whe he actually got one.


I was less surprised at that than the native dress. In case your curious, "native dress" on Plimoth Plantation means loincloths for the men and children.
Just loincloths.
That's it.
No shirt.
No pants.

Which I guess is OK, except for the fact that THEY WERE WEARING NO FREAKING PANTS!

When I take my kids to a family museum, I guess I expect the guides to be wearing more than Miley Cyrus on Instagram.
But hey, they rest of it was wonderful, and no pants is about as authentic as it gets.

We left at 5, headed to a corn grist mill. Which the kids will never let Rico live down.  The fact that he thought grinding corn would be cool was beyond their comprehension. But the Dutch Stroopie cookies we munched through the tour seemed to keep them quiet for the 15 minute tour.


We're in a Courtyard in Tauton tonight with a dinner of hummus, French bread, fruit and salad - the first real food we've had in a while. It was like a feast - even better than ground corn.

(And here is my annual plea for forgiveness. Writing on the road is so hard. The ap spell checks what it wants and forgets about what it shouldn't. Every time we hit a bump I misspell something - sorry.)

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