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Ahoy Me Hearties
I have to admit I have always been intrigued by Pirates but like most, my knowledge was based on movies and literature. One of my all-time favorite movies that has to do with Pirates is Goonies. So when I saw an event on Jax4kids.com’s events calendar that St. Augustine was showing an outdoor screening of this 80’s classic, I just had to go. So with 3 generations in the car we set off to the historic city. How historic? Well, enough to have chronicled Florida’s beginnings but also great tales about Pirate history, including the building of Castillo de San Marcos. What we found when we got there was a group of Pirates called the St. Augustine Swashbucklers changing the image of Pirates from thieving scallywags to a big-hearted munificent, extravagantly clad community. This St. Johns county based non-profit spends all year entertaining the area for a good cause. I had a chance to speak with Captain Savage before the movie started and he explained they put together various events to raise funds for their annual toy drive. With three women’s shelters in the St. Johns area, they have been able to bring smiles to families in need during the holiday season for six years now. They are also very proud of working closely with Dreams Come True and other local charities. With a Florida breeze blowing and twilight approaching, speaking with the various pirates was a great way to kick off our night. We grabbed some popcorn and batten down the hatches for some moonlight entrainment. Upon discovering that it wasn’t quite dark enough, we were entertained by youngsters with a few of their favorite Pirate jokes like “Why does it take a Pirate so long to finish the alphabet...because they spend years at seas (C)” and “Why are Pirates called Pirates…because they are (ARRRRRR)”. Finally, the dusk skies were upon us, my heart was filled with joy as my son could finally see this great flick on the “BIG” screen as the G-baby engaged us with intrigue. It was a fantastic night for a family memory.
So now I am more captivated by the Pirate culture from eye patches, peg legs, parrots and hoisting the Jolly Roger, I begin to set sail across the vast sea of playground memories in search of buried treasure and a wealth of knowledge. From Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, being a Pirate has a history of swashbuckling, pillaging, and a few other fascinating particulars. Such as:
Long before woman started wearing earrings as a fashion accessory, Pirates pierced their ears believing it improved their eyesight. And yes, Pirates did wear eyepatches, as well, to adjust to night vision.
Most Pirates only hoisted a black flag, while other preferred to create their own to instill fear for those who see it. The Jolly Roger, being the most popular because of the Skull & Crossbones. Each ship also had their own guidelines but the one rule they had in common was no fighting onboard. If they had a dispute they would have to wait till they got to land and fight it out.
It was believed amongst Pirates that is was bad luck to have a woman aboard a ship. But there were many famous female Pirates who preferred to carry daggers like Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Mary Read, Charlotte de Barry and one the most successful Pirates of men & woman, Ching Shih.
So if you feel inspired by Capt. Jack Sparrow, One Eyed Willie, Blackbeard, Grace O’Malley or even our local St. Augustine Swashbucklers, you can begin your adventure on September 19 for it’s Talk Like A Pirate Day. Get the kids involved by sharing some common Pirate dialog like Aaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhh!, Shiver Me Timbers, and Ahoy, Matey. I’ve also included some links to help you on this voyage of family fun!
Yo Ho Ho,