Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thanksgiving in Second Life

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

Henry David Thoreau


          Summer is becoming a distant memory as autumn wraps itself around us here in Real Life (RL). 

          (At least here in the northeastern part of the United States (US).  Significant Other is already checking to make sure the thermostat is turned up.  Apparently, I’m no longer trusted with this duty.  It was only one mistake, admittedly a cold one, but still only one mistake!)

          For the first time since I’ve been blogging about Second Life (SL), I have an opportunity to write about Thanksgiving inworld. 

          Thanksgiving is the annual US holiday celebrated on the last Thursday of November.  It commemorates the feast held by the Pilgrim settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 after a bountiful harvest. 

          They had arrived on November 11, 1620 off the coast of Massachusetts after a long and difficult voyage from England which they’d left because of religious intolerance. 

          The first winter was difficult and between it and the voyage, fifty of the original settlers and ship’s crew had passed away by the spring of 1621.

          Their celebration marked the survival of their colony and their thanks to God.

          It took a few centuries, but Thanksgiving eventually became a national holiday in the US. 

          My three loyal readers (The third one is actually sticking around!  And no, contrary to what Significant Other implies, I’m not paying him!) may recall my recent meeting with Lora Chadbourne, my new friend in SL and an accomplished builder.

          I’ve blogged about her builds of the Garden Tomb in the Holy Land and the Simpsons’ home. 

          Lora had told me that she would be reinstalling her Mayflower build for the
Thanksgiving Holiday in the US and I promised to visit and to write about it.

          An interesting fact about Lora is that she’s a descendent on her mother’s side of one of the original Mayflower settlers, James Chilton. 

          James was probably the oldest settler on the Mayflower.  He was also one of the forty-one signers of the Mayflower Compact, an agreement among the settlers as to how their new colony would be governed.  Sadly, James passed away shortly after their arrival. 

          Well, folks, here’s the story! 

          Rezzing into the sim where the Mayflower is moored, (Like that use of nautical terminology!  OK, I would have said “parked” but for Significant Other’s shoulder surfing.) I’m in front of the gangplank leading aboard her. 

          Lora says that there are no contemporary paintings or drawings of the Mayflower so she had creative license while designing and building her.  She did try to stay true to what an English ship of that time would look like and what she could research from passengers’ accounts. 

          The Mayflower as envisioned by Laura is a small, three masted ship with fore and aft structures at either end which sheltered crew and passengers while at sea.  A jib mast is at the bow of the ship. 

          Except for the aforementioned structures. There are only two decks on the Mayflower.  The main deck and the lower gun deck.  (Guess what they kept down there?) 

          Boarding the ship, I take a quick tour which given how small she is, it’s about the only kind to take! 

          Lora has done her usual exemplary work in designing and constructing this build.

          I’m able to access all parts of the ship, going up ladders and through hatches and

          The sense of how small the Mayflower was comes across. 

          Then when I think of how 102 people comprising passengers and crew were aboard her for sixty-six days of rough seas and illness, claustrophobia begins to settle in!  (Not only that but three women were pregnant and one delivered on the voyage over!)

          Lora’s usual attention to detail is evident in the jackscrew holding up the main support beam which was pressed into use when the latter began to crack after the stresses of a storm avoiding having to return to England.

          One interesting fact that I learned from this visit is that ships of this period did not have wheels for steering.  Instead, a tiller staff was moved by the crew from side to side below decks as the captain yelled down instructions from above. 

          (Wouldn’t want to try that in a bad storm!)

          Disembarking from the Mayflower, I see a sign pointing in the direction of Plymouth settlement. 

          I wander down the path as I tend to do inworld.  (Significant Other mutters something about my doing that in RL as well.)

          Lora has recreated the homes and other structures from the original colony here. 

          Particularly impressive is the meeting house which also doubled as the colony’s fort
and dominates the Settlement. 

          Religious services and town meetings where held here. 

          In the event of an attack by either Indians (This was their thanks for helping the settlers!) or other Europeans (Remember this was about 400 years before the European Union!), the settlers would gather here for safety under the protection of the cannons mounted upstairs. 

          Outside the meeting house, Lora has the first Thanksgiving meal represented. 

          On the other side of Plymouth Settlement is a recreation of an Indian village which adds to the character of the entire sim. 

          Lora has done her usual exceptional and thorough job in recreating the Mayflower and Plymouth settlement. 

          The Mayflower took Lora two weeks to build and another week for the Settlement. 

          As always when visiting her work, I enjoyed myself and learned a few things that I didn’t know before!

          I encourage everyone to visit and take in this incredible sim!

          But hurry!

          It probably won’t be there much past Thanksgiving as Lora needs the space for her next build! 

          The Mayflower can be found here.    

          Happy Thanksgiving!

          One final note, because this build was so prim intensive, Lora didn’t have any space for a tip jar.

          So, if you’d like to express your thanks and help Lora defray the costs of her builds then please send a small donation to her directly inworld! 

          Oh, and whatever became of the original Mayflower in RL?

          She returned to England in the spring of 1621 to resume her life as a merchant ship.  Sadly, after a year of lying unused and in probate after the death of her captain, she was dismantled for scrap lumber in 1624 in London. 

          Additional pictures from my visit can be found on this flickr page. 

          I’d like to thank Lora for her great work and her contributions to the SL community!

          I’m grateful to her for helping me with this story!   

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

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I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

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