When I was a kid, I remember a small tin chest not more than four inches wide and a couple inches high. It was shaped like a pirate’s chest with a sturdy metal handle on the top and a hole underneath large enough to slip coins into. The metallic blacks, blues, and browns beckoned this six-year old to a fascinating world of pirates with Captain Kidd’s own name inscribed on the front of the chest.
Looking back, a pirate bank seems counterintuitive. Pirates were the last ones you’d expect to save money though Henry Morgan did and purchased several estates in Jamaica. Not bad for a pirate, mon!
I guess there was more pirate in that six-year old than I realized. I never managed to save more than a few coins at a time, and while rum and wenches didn’t call my name, packages of baseball cards with bubblegum inside did. I can think of a whole lot of pirates that would be proud of me because of my spendthrift ways.
Our piggy banks have changed over the years. There’s still the common pig- mostly see-through glass or plaster of Paris. I have two myself; one large and one small, both are painted blue.
I don’t know if kids still use piggy banks these days. From the looks of the shelves in the dollar stores, there seems to be one for every kid in America with plenty to spare.
But somehow I think most kids and their parents have grown too sophisticated for them. Now there are gift cards in denominations of twenty to a hundred dollars, and it’s not much fun to stare at a gift card lying indolently at the bottom of a piggy bank. It is fun, however, to see a few single coins grow from a tiny miniscule lump to an impressive mountain of change.
I never took a poll, but had I asked the hundreds of buccaneers and pirates that sailed the Seven Seas, I bet my best tricorn hat that ninety-nine percent of them would laugh at me if I asked if they ever buried treasure. “You think wenches and rum come free, you bloat?” they’d likely sneer.
Still I can’t help but think of Henry Morgan who actually buried the treasure he stole at Nombre de Dios. Spanish ships chased his ships away while he was off plundering in the jungles of Central America. When he discovered his predicament, he hastily buried the booty then rowed several hours till he caught up with his ships.
My wife never had that problem, but she does keep her treasure in a chest of sorts. I’d use the word booty, but some you with lurid minds would get the wrong idea. Her booty is in a tall glass jar, not something you could bury very easily. She often wonders why it doesn’t fill up faster till I remind her that if she didn’t plunder it as fast as Henry Morgan raided the Spanish Main, it might be brimming over.
While few pirates ever buried their treasure, I can assure you there were some. Even today part of William Kidd’s treasure is still the target of many a treasure hunt. And that’s a good thing because my grandchildren Luke and Nora buried treasure in my garden last year. We drew a pirate map up to make sure it was official.
I’m taking an informal poll, and I’d like to ask you two questions. Have you ever buried treasure? Hiding money under a rug or in a book counts! At the very least, do you have a piggy bank or chest where you store extra booty.
You’ll have to excuse me, but I hear someone digging out back. It might be a neighbor or it might be a professional treasure hunter. Word gets around. I’ve got to grab my tricorn hat and sword and check it out. I’ll be back next week.
In the meantime, if you want to read a little more about treasure, you might enjoy reading “What’s in Your Treasure Chest?” Find it at https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/whats-in-your-treasure-chest/ .
If you’d like to respond, please click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/buried-treasure/
Pirates made the news again this week, though I’m afraid it wasn’t good news for them. Twelve pirates were convicted in a Mauritian court for an attack on the MSC Jasmine off the coast of Somalia on January 05, 2013. It may seem like an eternity ago that the wheels of justice began turning, but they did turn. Originally, a court returned a not guilty verdict, but the prosecutors challenged the results, and a second trial yielded the new verdict.
For those of you who are geographically challenged, Mauritius is an island off the coast of southern Africa. If you didn’t know that, don’t feel bad. I had to look it up myself. Mauritius has a special treaty with the European Union that allows pirates taken off Somalia to be tried there.
And if you think Mauritius is just a small jerkwater, backwoods, impoverished island that will do anything for a buck, you’re mistaken big time. Mauritius has a thriving economy with tourism at its heart. With a solid infrastructure, this island is all about stability, democracy, and a rising middle class.
When the twelve pirates attacked the Jasmine with rocket-propelled grenades, a security team hired to protect the Jasmine repelled the attack. They promptly notified authorities, and plenty of help arrived. The USS Halyburton, the FS Surcouf, and a German patrol aircraft all played a part in apprehending the pirates.
Earlier this year Somalian pirates were found guilty of hijacking the yacht Tribal Kat and murdering its captain. They received six to fifteen years. They pretty much got away with murder. Had it been the pirate Joseph Bannister, they would have been hanging from a yardarm before the ship got into port. Continue reading →
I have a bumper sticker with a skull and crossbones on it. The skull is wearing an eyepatch, smiling no doubt because of the bright red bandana it’s sporting. Underneath it reads: “Put a Real Pirate in Office. Jimmy Buffett for President.”
I think Jimmy is having way too much fun to be tricked into running for president, but of all the pirates I’ve known, Blackbeard would make a terrific president. It’s hard to think of a more presidential candidate than Edward Thatch. That’s his baptismal name. Yes, even the parents of buccaneers have high expectations for their offspring.
Of course, I can hear your comments now. He doesn’t look anything like a president. Look at all that hair! And that beard! Have you lost your mind? As a matter of fact, I have, but my wife has gotten used to it. Did you know we had quite a number of presidents who were no slackers in the hair and beard department? Abe Lincoln, of course, being one of the greatest.
It may interest you to know the last time we had a president with a full blown beard was President Rutherford Hayes, twenty-third president who served from 1877 to 1881. He could have passed as Blackbeard’s double though I don’t think Blackbeard would have approved of him as president. At his wife’s urging, he banished wine and liquor from the White House. That’s not the sort of thing a president with pirate tendencies does.
In case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump is no slouch in the hair department though he would probably garner a bit more respect if he let it go pure white instead of using something on it that looks like dog pee. His hair dresser should tell him white hair implies age and wisdom.
As for Blackbeard, he was a dedicated pragmatist who knew exactly how to utilize his hair and beard. He used to weave fuses in his beard then light them during battle to intimidate his opponents. Imagine how frightening he would appear before a joint session of Congress or in a tense meeting with Vladimir Putin when suddenly smoke belched from his head, his black penetrating eyes boring a hole in your soul.
But it takes more than hair to be a leader. When you’re the leader of a pirate ship, you need three things: an ability to take control, a knowledge of people, and a thorough understanding of your profession. Blackbeard had these in aces.
However, like every politician, he held his position using guile, though his strong pirate persona would certainly give him an edge over whining tea partyers. He once blew the candle out in his cabin while drinking with a few of his crew. Suddenly, he picked up his pistols and fired them underneath the table, laming one person. When asked why he did it, he answered: “Got to show ‘em who’s boss once in a while.”
I think that would work well when a pirate president runs into a congress like we’ve had for what seems an eternity. After all, if pirates pulled off the crap that our senators and congressmen have, they’d never leave port. Pirates unlike most members of Congress today knew if you wanted to get things done… if you wanted booty, rum, and wenches then you had to compromise; you couldn’t sit on the deck and whine about having everything your way: “I don’t want to go to Africa; I don’t think we should take that prize; how come I don’t ever get first choice of captured guns. Blah! Blah! Blah!” Continue reading →
The Uncommon Mariner
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Last week we talked about the little dragons that come to call while you’re on vacation, spoiling an otherwise perfect day at the beach or at your favorite pirate hideout. Whether you’re pillaging and plundering in the Caribbean or just stretching out on your hammock in the backyard, when you’re prepared for the unexpected, you’ll be more likely to escape with nothing but good times to remember.
Lightning. Some of the worst weather days start out with bright sunshine and the promise of endless fun. Then the clouds begin to build. Whether you’re at the beach, the golf course, or hiking in the woods, you suddenly realize a summer storm is about to implode your dreams. You can endure the clouds and the rain, but one thing you can’t survive is a lightning strike. Every year forty-nine people are killed by lightning. Some were caught unexpectedly off-guard; others played chicken with nature and lost.
Let’s get this straight from the outset. There is NO safe place outside in the middle of a thunderstorm. The only safe places are a sturdy building or an enclosed vehicle which rules out your typical Jeep. When you see the first signs of a storm coming, it’s time to start packing. Lightning isn’t confined to the clouds. It often hits as far away as three miles, sometimes more.
Crouching down won’t help. You’ll only look like a big roasted turkey if it hits you. Standing under a tree is worse than stupid. Lightning likes to hit things that stick way up in the air. Spell that mountains, hills, and trees. Did you know that lying on the ground is also a very bad idea? More people die from ground current than direct strikes. When lightning strikes an object, the current spreads out along the ground, electrifying everything it touches.
Mosquito Bites. Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, along comes another disease carried by mosquitoes. This year it’s Zika. It’s mostly predominant in parts of South America, but authorities are concerned that it could spread to the United States and Europe. While your chances of contracting Zika are small, West Nile virus is always a threat. Symptoms are headache, body ache, joint pain, and vomiting. Spray yourself with Deet. Adults can use a mix of fifty percent; for children it’s thirty percent. Don’t use it at all on infants. Eliminate standing water on your property. That includes buckets, barrels, cans, flower pots, and the hulls of old pirate ships. Clean bird ponds once a week. I would tell you to put on long pants and a long sleeve shirt, but when it’s ninety degrees outside and you’re thinking of your string bikini that would be silly. However, don’t go romping in the woods or through tall grass where mosquitoes thrive.
Tick Bites. Ticks still carry Lyme disease and symptoms include chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, and a bull’s eye skin rash. Some people, however, who never have signs of this rash still develop full blown Lyme’s disease. Deer, mice, and other small animals can carry the ticks bearing this disease, so eliminate plants, weeds, and anything else that invites these critters to visit your property.
Check yourself and your kids when you’ve been outside. That includes not only obvious places, but your scalp, underarms, groin, and between your buttocks. And don’t worry about a crawling tick. It’s only after it’s attached itself for twenty-four to forty-eight hours and started sucking blood that danger evolves.
To remove a tick, use a tweezers and get it as close to the skin as possible where the tick has attached itself. Don’t twist. Instead pull straight out. Whatever you do, don’t put the tweezers around the body of the tick. Crushing it is likely to force some of the infected blood back into your body, infecting you even more. Don’t forget to put some kind of antibiotic ointment like bacitracin on the site. For additional info, check out http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/how-to-remove-a-tick-overview?page=2 Continue reading →