In Part 1 of the book "Sarah and The Goat", the reader is brought back to the late 1700's when the Islands of the Bahamas were first settled by Loyalists and relives a way of life that may even be similar to our present day.
In Part 2 of the book, "Older Houses of Hope Town", the dreams of building a new life are connected with the building of houses that created a community appropriately named Hope Town.
The "Reality of a Dream" has been realized by many in search of a new life in Hope Town from the time it was originally settled until the present.
"The tropical setting of swaying palm trees and inspiring blue green waters is like living on the untouched edge of the world."
Richard L. Seaberg
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Hope TownReality of a Dream
By Richard L. Seaberg
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Richard L. Seaberg
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLighten the Load
"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney
The goat was amazed at how he was treated. He knew that he deserved better treatment than to be tossed into the ocean with all the other animals. In his mind, he knew that he was resilient and could swim to the nearby shore ahead. What was seemingly a simple ocean journey to a new home became a fight for survival. His heart was beating fast and his legs were beginning to feel tired. He saw the cow to his right go under. A little behind the cow, a group of chickens was having a tough time staying afloat. There were no others in front of him, so he assumed that he was the leader.
Why, he thought, did they toss all of the animals into the water? It did not make any sense. Perhaps the ship was too full and they needed to lighten the load. He also thought that perhaps there was a sickness spreading amongst the animals. Whatever the reason, here he was afloat and heading for that island ahead. This was truly an adventure he had not expected.
Aboard the sailing ship, a young girl was crying. She screamed at the captain.
"Why did you throw my goat overboard? He was my favorite!"
After the goat, the crew started pushing a cow over the side. The cow weighed a lot and was not cooperating. One of the crewmen fell down on the deck and was bleeding badly from his head. Another of the crewmen went over the side with the cow.
Now the girl was sobbing uncontrollably.
"My angel, my pet goat!" she screamed again.
The captain said, "Sarah, shut up or I'll throw ya over."
The three-masted whaling ship, named the Savannah, was en route from East Florida to the Bahamas.
The year was 1785.
Chapter TwoThe Storm
"Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, and dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."
Edgar Allen Poe
The goat finally made it to the shore. It was kind of rocky and it hurt his hoofs a lot. He started to think that the water was a better choice, but then he decided to press onward to the greenery that awaited him. This goat was not ordinary. He was very interesting and thought a lot about everything. His name was Elmoson and he got that name in a very unusual way.
While on the ship, he was treated like a god after he saved the ship from disaster. That was the main reason he could not understand why he had been thrown overboard!
It all happened one night during a storm that arose from the northeast. The stars were out and shining brightly. The wind picked up slowly from the west, then increased as the moon moved from just above the horizon to overhead in the sky. By that time, the wind was howling from the northeast and the skies were gray. The ship was pitching as it rolled from one wave to the next. The captain, Bradford Rogers, knew that his position was just east of the most northerly Bahamian Island chain. He also knew that there were considerable shoals of coral that could rip the ship apart.
Just then, the ships wheel spun around as the first mate could not hold it any longer. The ship turned ninety degrees and headed toward the west. The mizzen boom swung around and came unhooked from the mast. The boom hit the compass and knocked it into the sea. Then, the ship turned again to the east. Most of the crewmen fell down, and a couple of them were washed overboard to their fate.
While the drama played out on the deck above, the passengers clung to whatever was within reach in the cabins below. The animals, including the goat, were in the hold below the steerage area and being thrown from one side to the other. The goat decided to climb up the steps of the ladder that led to the deck so he could see for himself what was happening. Once on the water-soaked deck, he crawled on his belly so he would not slide over the side.
A disaster was unfolding before his eyes!
Everyone was in harm's way, and no one seemed to know which way to steer the ship. Captain Rogers was lying on the deck holding onto a line. The first mate had tied himself to the wheel. Others were just holding onto anything that was stable.
The wind was getting worse and the waves were very tall. As far as the goat could see, this was the end for them all if he did not take action.
Elmoson remembered a story that Sarah's mother read to her as she prepared for bed. They did not know he was listening. The story was a Christmas tale about a special goat. The story stuck in his mind because he, too, was a goat, and he thought of himself as special. Perhaps he could now help with the ship's approaching disaster.
As he peered out into the night, he could see one star way off to the south; after all, his vision was much better than that of humans. He crawled up to the bowsprit and stood with his legs wedged between the rails and his head bent forward. Now and then, the full moon showed itself from the west through the dark sky. It shone directly on him as he directed the ship's helmsman back to a southerly course by turning his head in that direction. The goat had an instinctive sense of direction.
Without a compass to guide him and without being able to see the stars above, the helmsman was at a loss as to which way to turn. He was so startled to even see the goat up on the deck, let alone on the bowsprit, that he just followed his senses and swung the wheel as the goat directed.
The sailing ship Savannah made it through the ravaging storm safely.
Thus it was written in history how the goat got his name: the crew of the ship realized that the goat must have been sent by St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors, to help them in their time of need.
They concluded that he was St. Elmo's son; hence, Elmoson.
In the years to come, Elmoson would go down in historical lore as the story of the Savannah's journey to a new land was passed down from generation to generation. As with most lore, as the story was passed on from one person to another, it was slightly embellished.
But now, here he was on this strange island. It had been many days since the storm, perhaps even a few weeks. He still could not understand how, after they had heralded him for saving the ship, they actually could have thrown him overboard. This still made no sense at all!
It was then and there that Elmoson quickly decided to forget the whole incident and move on with his life. It was a decision that he would make many times again throughout his travels.
Chapter ThreeInstinct and a Dream
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was late afternoon, and the sun was low in the sky for the third day in a row. Elmoson had been eating leaves and berries that whole time and was getting quite full. He decided that at first light he would venture further into the heart of the island. Perhaps he would climb up that rise to the west and take a look around. He settled in for a good night's sleep in a bed of undergrowth just under a small palm tree.
The vegetation on the island was low and gnarled from the constant wind that blew from the east. There were not too many trees that were above fifteen feet in height, and even those were bent over again from the wind. All of the growth was brownish from the salt spray. The island seemed deserted and perhaps, he thought, it would always be so. It was not as beautiful, he would eventually find out, as some of the other islands in this part of the Bahamas.
The next day was sunny and warm just like the day before. When the Savannah left Charleston, it was late in the month of May. The air was warming every day, and soon the heat would be intense! The goat noticed that the sun was getting higher in the sky and the days seemed longer. He had not noticed this at the plantation. He seemed to have more time to think to himself without the other animals to distract him. He liked that. Elmoson thought peace and quiet also made the days longer.
As he started to make his way through the thicket, he reflected on the few days he spent just eating. Even though the food was salty, he enjoyed it better than the grass in the fields around the barn back home. There was more about this being alone that might be right for him.
As he ate his way through the brush and made a path, he thought about the chickens and the cow and the pig. Did they drown, or were they just slower than him in reaching the shore? Perhaps they did not have a directional sense and, after he was out of sight (as he was clearly the leader), they lost their direction. That would mean that they were no longer here on earth, or they could have landed somewhere else. He wondered if he was also alone in that sense.
He put that thought in the back of his mind and continued onward.
About halfway up the incline, he noticed the sky turning darker and the wind changing direction. It was like that night of the storm on the ship. It appeared to him that this was a repeat of that time. That information was stored in his mind for future use. He was learning lessons about life and survival that he would never have encountered on the plantation.
He calculated the length of time it would take to reach the top of the rise by figuring how long it had taken him to travel from his starting point to his present location and then the distance to his destination. Those distances seemed to be equal. The time he estimated was from when the sun rose to where it was now, which was halfway to its full height in the sky. He knew that he could reach the top before the rain started because of his experience with the storm on the ship. But he must not dally; he must move ahead with great speed in order to make it before the storm arrived.
During the next hour, some birds flew by, apparently evacuating the land as they felt the oncoming storm. The wind direction changed and was swinging clockwise to the south. The noise of the island, mostly from the waves beating against the coral rock, decreased and it was very quiet and calming. For at least an hour before he finally reached the summit, there seemed to be complete silence.
He felt very alone and very vulnerable.
Then the rains came. Rounds and rounds of rain driving in from the west with gusto!
Elmoson could not see anything. So he closed his eyes and leaned into the westerly wind. He stayed in that position for a long time, not moving an inch. He was oblivious to his surroundings. He was calm and safe in his own being. This was natural to him. This was something that was given to him since his beginning on earth. He often wondered why the other animals could not be this calm. The animals got all worried and, when there was danger, they became frightened and talked amongst themselves; making strange sounds that he did not understand. They ran and fell down. Some even got hurt. Of course there were others that were herded into the barn by the humans until the danger passed. He was always directed to go into the barn with the other animals; however, he knew that his chances were better if he was alone. He knew this because of his special gift of being able to put what was happening around him completely out of his mind.
His eyes closed. Before he went into a state of unconsciousness, he wondered what the view would be like when the rain stopped and the clouds cleared. He wondered what he would see off in the distance in all directions. He envisioned a beautiful sight of blue-green waters all around and palm trees swaying gentle. He envisioned that he could see forever in every direction, and that there were many other islands close enough for him to visit. He dreamed that one day he would see Sarah again, and perhaps she would recognize him. He did not want to go back to that life of the past because he liked the feelings that were now inside of him. But he also liked his past existence and just wanted to know that everyone was living a happy life. Finally, he stopped thinking and dreaming and went to sleep for a long while.
It was actually four days later when he awoke. He knew it was time to wake up, as his senses alerted his mind. The rain had stopped, the wind had changed, and the air felt fresh and clean. A renewed feeling engulfed him because the environment around his still body had changed for the better.
As his eyed opened, he first saw the view in back of him; as he had a panoramic field of vision. The waves of the ocean were breaking gently on the coral rocks. The sun was just rising and its young rays shone across the tops of the gentle waves, creating a calming, glistening effect. The scene, Elmoson thought, was truly spiritual!
As he looked from behind himself to the sides, he saw the same scene turn into a still calmer sea with islands off in the distance. When his view of sight came to straight ahead, he saw the absolutely awe-inspiring calm, blue-green waters of a large bay area. Then, off in the distance and within the same visual sight, he saw another beautiful island framed by a light blue sky with wispy white clouds that seemed suspended in animation along with the spectacular crystal clear, blue-green protected waters. In the foreground and just below him at the water's edge, he was happy to see a lush carpet of brilliant green undergrowth and tall palm trees. The whole panoramic view resembled the most beautiful painting ever created.
It was just as he had envisioned it to be in his dream: a paradise!
Chapter FourThe Arrival
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you have imagined."
Henry David Thoreau
Sarah pulled the sheets over her head. The sea was rolling in continuous long swells from the north, so for the first time since they had left port, she felt sick to her stomach.
Her captain called to her: "Sarah, get up here on deck and you will not feel so sick."
She climbed up the ladder and poked her head out of the hatch and into the brisk wind. When her eyes met the horizon where the sea met the land of the island ahead, she felt a little better.
With her mother and sisters occupying the forecabin, Sarah was happy that she had the luxury of sleeping in the captain's quarters and did not have to hear her mother's orders at every turn. The captain did not order her around quite as much.
Since leaving East Florida, the captain had taken a strong liking to Sarah and her to him. Sleeping in the captain's quarters was certainly more pleasurable than sleeping alongside one of her sisters while cramped in those tight quarters at the bow of the ship. She liked it in the aft cabin and would always make the captain happy so she could continue to be there.
Sarah called back to the captain: "You are so right, my dear captain. What was I thinking?"
The Savannah entered the bay through some reefs where an island came precariously close to her starboard side. It was a narrow inlet that the captain had been through before. He was well aware of the dangers, and he knew the course to follow.
To the east, there were a few small cays with shallow waters around them. Way off in the distance, there was a larger crop of land that appeared across the bay. The crew dropped and set the anchor close to a smaller cay that was just southwest of the larger island, which the crew referred to as "Man O' War."
As it was quite late in the day, the Captain decided that they should wait until morning to explore the other islands that surrounded the ship in this protected inlet. There seemed to be some jubilance amongst the crewmen as to what they would find in the next few days. After all, they had been through some tough weather since leaving the colonies just a few weeks prior.
The full moonlit night went by slowly, and then finally, there was the dawn of a new day.
The heavy chop of the bay waters had diminished to a slight ripple as the wind was now coming from the southeast. The crew lowered three longboats into the deep, dark blue waters of the inlet.
Sarah, her sisters, and their mother got into the first boat with the captain and two oarsmen. In the second boat were the five slaves that had accompanied the family on the overland trek from their plantation in Charleston to Florida, and then across the sea on the Savannah to these islands of the Bahamas. In the third boat were more crewmen and some provisions for the day's events.
They rowed across the protected bay over the clearest waters any of them had ever seen. One of the crewmen put a long oar over the side to see the depth of the water, as it appeared to be only a few feet. The ten-foot oar did not touch the bottom. However, they could clearly see the sandy bottom dotted with crawfish, starfish, and sea urchins. An abundance of tropical fish swam in circles around their boats. As they looked ahead, they could see the land; it seemed to float above the blue-green water. Sarah thought that the water perfectly matched the color of one of the gems on her mother's necklace.
Sarah, even with all these wonderful creations of nature around her, was in a foul mood. Granted, she still was not feeling herself given her seasickness the day earlier, but there was more on her mind. While the others continued to admire the beauty around them, she just sat there with a frown on her face. She was still upset with her mother for bringing her along on this ridiculous journey to nowhere. After all, she was old enough to stay in Charleston by herself.
She decided sometime before they left Charleston to stay there and live with her Aunt Helen, but her mother reminded her of the promise that they all made to her father on his deathbed. He told them that they must go to the Bahamas and stay together. Sarah would be true to her father's wish.
Now she was there in the Bahamas, and they were all together. She had now completed her father's wish!
By the time the boat reached the narrow inlet that approached Great Harbour, she had made up her mind. She would not stay here but would return to Charleston. She had talked previously with her captain on this subject, and he indicated that he would take her back to East Florida since he would be returning there for more passengers. That was good enough for Sarah.
When the three boats coasted to a stop on the sandy beach inside the harbor, they all got out and walked ashore. All except for Sarah. She sat there in the boat for several hours refusing to go ashore, while the others explored the beautiful island. She never saw the natural beauty of the land.
Excerpted from Hope Town by Richard L. Seaberg Copyright © 2012 by Richard L. Seaberg. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPrologue Hope Town: A Paradise....................xi
Part 1 Sarah And The Goat: A Fictitious Tale....................xvii
Chapter 1 Lighten the Load....................1
Chapter 2 The Storm....................3
Chapter 3 Instinct and a Dream....................7
Chapter 4 The Arrival....................11
Chapter 5 Sailing the Ocean Blue....................15
Chapter 6 Shanghaied....................19
Chapter 7 A New Life....................23
Chapter 8 A Time to Heal....................27
Chapter 9 Sarah's House....................29
Chapter 10 Freedom....................33
Chapter 11 The Reunion....................37
Chapter 12 The Last Straw....................41
Chapter 13 Return to Paradise!....................45
Interlude Transition of Thoughts....................51
Part 2 Older Houses of Hope Town: Drawings and History....................53
Older Houses of Hope Town: Listing of Houses....................67
Building Areas in Hope Town....................127
Current House Groupings....................134
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book creatively travels through history, to fictional sequences, to architectural relevance! It captures the reader with a slightly historical driven fictional tale and then brings significance to the architecture of the older houses of a Bahamian Island. A new style of writing that weaves life's dreams with the reality of existence through many centuries!