Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who was Roger Williams?

If you were raised Baptist, I'll bet you know that Roger Williams was a separatist minister banished from Plymouth colony in 1636 for his radical views that each person had a right to worship without interference from the state. He established the first Baptist church in America in Providence. So if you want some choices in religion, this is the state for you. First Jewish synogogue, first Catholic Church...Roger welcomed them all.

The Rhodys continued to be a free thinking group after Roger was gone. They declared independence from England two months before the rest of the colonies and were the first state to outlaw slavery.

Little Rhode Island is 48 miles wide with 400 miles of coastline. With a jagged profile around Narragansett Bay, there's plenty of lighthouses and their stories. What seafarer's wife waited for the return of her man? What lightkeepers lived and raised families there?  Who perished, like the lighthouse keeper who died on Whale Rock in the hurricane of 1938?

And with water comes bridges. What is it about a bridge that fascinates? Starting over the bridge, there's anticipation, the jitters before takeoff.  Then from the top, I can see for miles, and I am flying. Add in the architecture, the graceful cables, buttresses, metal lacework. Finish with the mystery of the other side, still to be discovered. One minute, five minutes....the journey is short for me; but for early inhabitants, before the bridge, what waits on the other side was worth a day's journey.

(Texas fact:  Harris county is 50% larger than Rhode Island)

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