Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for November 25th......

--Hmmmm. Just one month until Christmas Day.

--Things are falling together and we should be ready for the first of 18 Coffee An' Milk Fund Auctions next Monday, December 1, at 8am. Another 3 Milk Fund auctions are scheduled with master auctioneer Romeo Berthiaume on 3 Saturday mornings. So many local businesses have already been most generous and have donated gifts of merchandise or services which we will auction off to the highest bidder on the air at 8am each morning. Others are phoning the station to tell us they are bringing items in for us to auction off. Barry Mechanic, former publisher of The Call, has a growing list of many Milk Fund events and activities besides our auction and you will see it published in The Call and on our radio stationís website.

--Be careful out there. Our Woonsocket Police Department reminds residents that we are now entering the prime season for creeps and others who may prey upon unsuspecting shoppers. Just a reminder to keep safety in mind, stay in well lighted areas, shop with friends if convenient, and put those purchases in the trunk or somewhere they can't be easily seen.

--Our annual tribute to consumerism, Black Friday as itís called, is coming up. I bring this up because with all this talk of the world as we know it about it end in a monthís time, some of you might decide to go a little overboard this year. I donít want to lecture anyone, letís just call it some Ďfriendly adviceí. Just like a little wine or a little beer, a little debt does not hurt anyone and in some cases is actually beneficial. However, too much of any one of those will hurt and will set you up for consequences for yourself and those you hold close. Debt has ruined homes, governments, and even sovereign nations. Protect yourself.

--Well, here we are just a couple of days before Thanksgiving and Iím thinking. I think we all need to plan for the future, but also to live for today.

What I mean by that is that we all need to live in the context of the time we live in now. Right now, a couple of days before Thanksgiving I am thinking about The Pilgrims. This is another group of people who history books paint an unrealistically rosey hue. But you just know it wasnít really like that. In the context of the times they lived, they did their best. Life wasnít easy for religious intolerants in the 1600ís, you know. They had tried to get along with the people in The Netherlands and that didnít work out. They moved on to England and were just as poorly tolerated by the folks there are The Puritans were in tolerating anyone else. Clearly something had to be done.

But, unlike some religious intolerants of the present day, The Pilgrims didnít decide to kill all the people of the world who didnít worship as they did. They decided to travel to a place where they didnít need to get along with anyone else because they figured nobody else was there. They came to The New World.

This bold move is to their credit. And, notwithstanding the fact that there were Native Americans here to Ďget alongí with, you have to admire their pluck and the way they endured the hardships which come with starting a new civilization in an untamed wilderness.

What happened next, of course, is what happens with all intolerant people. They began to not be able to tolerate other members of their intolerant community. And the governing council dealt with disagreement from other intolerants by conferring a sort of death sentence upon those who disagreed. This is what happened to Roger Williams, the man who, along with a group of intolerants who thought more along his lines than the original Puritans, founded the colony of Rhode Island.

You need to understand what it was like in the 1600ís in what was to become New England. Every member of your community pitched in and everyone depended on the others. This is why if you were banished from the group it was the equivalent of a death sentence. Most who were banished didnít survive. But Roger Williams took along with him so many friends that they had a fighting chance to build a new community, especially with the help of the native American tribe which resided in the area he was banished to. The Narragansetts. Up to the time Roger Williams came to what is now Rhode Island, the Narragansetts really didnít have to deal with European settlers. They looked at them like an oddity and no real threat to their way of life. If the Europeans seemed friendly, they were friends. And Roger Williams was friendly. So, Reverend Williams and his band were helped by their new native American friends and survived.

This did not sit too well with the Pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Roger and his band were supposed to die, not survive and compete. So the Puritans sent word to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe that they had a job for them to do.

At this time in history, the Mashantucket Pequots, ďPequotsĒ for short, were the bullies on the block. For recreation, theyíd row their canoes out to Block Island and beat up the native Americans out there. So they were pleased to take the job of beating up the Narragansetts as punishment for helping Roger Williams when the Massachusetts Bay Pilgrims offered it to them.

The point in all this is that all this activity was normal for the time it happened. Nobody involved was acting out of the ordinary. Itís just how things were back then. But this is a concept which is difficult to accept for school children, so we tell them the story of the brave young people with the brass buckles on their hats and shoes.

The world is a kinder and gentler place in some ways today. And we do hope it gets even more so. However, someday, you and I who are living today may be criticized for the way we live. Things which come naturally to us, like fresh fruit or fried chicken may one day be taboo. I say, be kind to one another today the best way you know how. Kindness never goes out of style. A good word or deed today will never be frowned upon by anyone who matters no matter what age they live in.

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to dave@onworldwide.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.


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