Sunday, July 4, 1976
Blog Entry #24
|Early on the 4th, Reindeer could be seen decked out with its colors (nation flags strung together) displayed.|
Our third day in the Faroes starts out without much fanfare, but will end with a bang.
As the day unfolded, Reindeer's crew is invited to the home of Vestmanna's mayor who kindly offered us lunch. We politely refused, but were deeply humbled and impressed by his family's hospitality. I could not help but recall in The Odyssey where the Greek tradition of aidos was offered without any reservation on complete strangers. Numerous accounts described situations in which an individual or group is welcomed into the host's home, sometimes bathed and fed before even being introduced or asked any questions about their identity, journey or its purpose. Usually the home became a resting stop for the wayward traveler. Certainly the extreme example in the epic poem occurs when, in Odysseus's absence, a horde of over a hundred suitors for Penelope's hand in marriage has way-overstayed their welcome in Odysseus' palace came to my mind. It didn't take much to imagine how Americans might welcome complete seafaring strangers to their shores or not. Somehow opening one's doors and lunch table to foreigners seemed, at best, only a remote possibility in the states. As I will soon discover numerous times in my travels over the upcoming month in Scandinavia and northern Europe, welcoming complete strangers was universally practiced in these northern waters in 1976. In the next few weeks that follow my sailing experience on Reindeer, I will become totally awe-struck by the numerous random acts of kindness shown me. In fact, it happened so often, I started to expect kindness from others I met on my journey.
|I am sipping tea while sitting next to |
the Mayor of Vestmanna in his home.
|As we departed, the Mayor's family came to his front door for a photo.|
Because it was July 4th and we were so far from home, I imagined life back in the states. After all, this was a special 4th of July. It was America's 200th birthday. Before we had departed Newport, RI, now almost 3 weeks ago, I had read and heard the buzz about the extravagant fireworks planned, the show of tall ships parading New York City harbor, the reenactments around Philadelphia...on and on about what the US was going to do to celebrate its freedom. So the concept of freedom hit me hard here almost 3,000 miles from my home in Pennsylvania. I think I reflected on the meaning of freedom more than ever in my meager 26 years. I began checking off instances of my freedoms as an American, as a man, as a teacher, as a member of Reindeer's crew and even as a human being. While I could not totally envision what life would be like living under a system of restrictive laws, indentured servitude, slavery or authoritarian rule, I remember feeling overwhelmed by how fortunate I was to be an American and to enjoy the freedoms that so many don't have. Thinking that so many have sacrificed so much to ensure their longevity can not be overlooked. Freedom isn't something one takes for granted. An appreciation for my family, my career, for people in my life and for the various opportunities that I had been able given in a free country boosted my spirits for the day. Maybe it takes being away from what you have so you can actually understand it better. While far way from its homeland, Reindeer did not feel alone on the dock of life this day.
So, this day would be interesting to watch how the Faroese honor their freedom.
|All alone on the 4th except for the arriving ferry, Reindeer ,with flags raised, awaits the day's celebration.|