Pirates -- Arrrrgh!
|by C.J. Chase|
Floridians have to wait until fall to cheer on their Buccaneers, but if you live in western Pennsylvania, you can root, root, root for the home team Pirates to win tonight. And then there are the host of colleges and high schools with pirate-themed mascots. There is even an international Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 for those who want to begin practicing early).
Last weekend, I traveled with my family to the Outer Banks -- the string of barrier islands on North Carolina's Atlantic coast -- for a trip that combined research (for me) with a couple days of relaxation (for them). I was looking for information about shipwrecks, but I found Pirate Central, USA. Few places in the US can rival coastal North Carolina for pirate lore.
The most infamous pirate of them all, Blackbeard, spent his final months there. Historians aren't certain what Blackbeard's real name was. It may have been Edward Drummond, although he also used the names Edward Thatch and Edward Teach. He was probably born around 1680 in England and served as a privateer during Queen Anne's War (1701-1714). When the cessation of the conflict brought an end to privateering profits, Blackbeard, like many of other privateers, turned to piracy.
Blackbeard captured the French ship La Concorde in late 1717 and renamed her Queen Anne's Revenge. After wintering in the Caribbean -- and adding more ships to his growing fleet -- Blackbeard set his sights north toward what is now the US mainland. After a brief blockade of Charleston in May (ended when the city paid a ransom of one chest of medicines), Blackbeard continued north and ran his ship aground at Beaufort Inlet, near Beaufort, NC. He settled in Bath and reformed (briefly), received a pardon, and remarried (for the 14th time).
|Ocracoke Island, NC, overlooking Teach's Hole, the channel where Blackbeard and his fellow pirates moored their ships.|
Maynard cut off Blackbeard's head and tossed his body into the sea. Legend says his body swam around the ship seven times looking for his head. But Maynard took the head to Hampton, Virginia where the governor displayed it on a pike as a warning to all would-be criminals.
|Pirate weapons on display at the|
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
The new Pirates of the Caribbean movie features Blackbeard as one of the characters. However, at 69 years old, actor Ian McShane is nearly twice the age of Blackbeard at his death. A trait common of pirates was that they did not enjoy their ill-gotten gains for long. It seems most people don't like having their property forcibly taken from them. They fight back, and they band together to form governments that fight on their behalf. Consequently, pirates tended to lead short, violent lives. God gave us guidelines for our behavior, and we violate his commands at our own peril.
As the only female in a household of guys, I'll probably end up seeing this new pirate movie. After all, I've seen all the others. At the risk of being tarred and feathered, I admit that Jack Sparrow doesn't, er, float my boat (I think it's the eye makeup). I'd have to name Cary Elwes as my favorite cinematic pirate -- the dread pirate Roberts can rescue me from midget Sicilians, giants, and six-fingered men any day.
But the feature I'm most looking forward to is the day when God creates the perfect society, one without greed and violence and heartache. "He will judge between nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." (Isaiah 2:4)
Do you like pirate movies and stories, or are you ambivalent about the genre? What are some of your favorite pirate-themed stories?
After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. Redeeming the Rogue is an August, 2011 release. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at cjchasebooks.com