top of page

Do Writers Get Second Chances: A Thanksgiving Story

John Howland is forever known to history as fortunate. And with his second shot at life, he didn’t hold back.

Writers, it’s never one and done. You get second chances. And with the second chance, you’ll be all the smarter.

Prevailing winds chilled Howland to the bone. He grasped the rail as the ship lurched, rolled, then dipped, leaving his stomach behind.

He couldn’t know that the Mayflower was poor construction. True, she was only 100 feet long, 80 livable feet (11 or 12 living room couches end to end), and 24 feet wide (about the width of a tight, two-lane road), but that wasn’t what made her lean to the side. What made her pitch was her height—she was small but tall, with two and ½ stories with masts towering into the sky. Her center of gravity was high, and she swayed at alarming angles.

Sailors ran around him, doing things a landlubber like himself didn’t quite understand. He didn’t know they were furling the sails and turning the ship into the wind, a rare act of seamanship, but the howling wind in the lines seemed to calm, and the raging storm offered a break.

Why did he come to the deck? Because the storm up here was better than conditions below.

For 2 ½ months and 3000 miles, averaging 2 miles per hour, the Pilgrims lived in the gun deck, stretching 5 ½ feet, floor to ceiling. Dark and cramped, one 102 men, women, and children shared the tight space with the mast’s base, and a boat that was taken apart to be reassembled in the new world.

He wouldn’t have imagined going on deck the first half of the journey.

bottom of page