My way of celebrating the resurrection of the Christ figure, is breakfast. Well really its just breakfast, I will throw in a little retro symbolism as I go along. First to get in the mood I watched about half an hour of the History Channel’s Bible. It was the episode when Jesus meets John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate meets Agrippa Herod’s grandson and Jesus splits for the desert for forty days while John takes the heat and looses his head. No Salome in this version. I turned it off when this dreamboat of a Jesus goes out on the Sea of Galilee with Peter and tells him to catch fish. There is the great line “I will make you a fisher of men” with some non Biblical small talk in between. It was pretty lame and fey. I thought they were going to make out on the boat. Apparently these were supposed to be redbelly tilapia, a fish known locally as “St. Peter’s fish” according to the Wikipedia article I looked up. But in the TV show the fish looked too small to be tilapia. I am not much of a tilapia fan myself, I prefer salmon, red snapper and mahi mahi.
Reading about Bible related stuff gives me a warm comfy feeling, reminds me of when I was eight or nine and really into being Catholic. I was over it by the time I was twelve. This incident happened sometime around Easter in the early 1960’s. I had some kind of an epiphany on one Saturday morning walking home from religious school at St. Pius Church or maybe at the Osborne Hill School where the nuns ruled Saturday mornings. Some kids and I were walking by the Mill River in my hometown of Fairfield, CT. The boys I was with saw some fish swimming though the shallows and decided to throw rocks at them and try and kill them, not for food, but for sport, just out of sheer male exuberance and a sense that it was a naughty pleasure. Well I didn’t go along, in fact I felt sorry for the fish, and I told the others to stop and let the fish go. Nobody paid attention to me. I was kind of embarrassed at my girlish sensitivity, but then I felt a surge of righteousness, like god wanted me to have pity on the fish. Jesus sure didn’t, hell he used fish like cannon fodder in his miracles. Perhaps it was the Krishna in me, or maybe I was just being overly sensitive, whatever. I didn’t think it was sporting to attack fish when they were in the shallows.
I am sure that is exactly where native Americans, perhaps the Mohicans, Siwanoy or Sasqua, a band of the Wappinger Confederacy would have taken advantage of the shallows, if they existed back in the seventeenth century. The river wasn’t dammed back then. This place I was walking, at the edge of the Greenfield Hill neighborhood was below the Samp Mortar dam and was probably artificially lowered. Up river a bit, on Samp Mortar Rock there were signs of Native American sites.
This is an interesting excerpt from a website detailing some of the regions native inhabitants.
“Samp Mortar Rock is a seventy foot cliff…Samp Mortar itself was the name the colonists gave to a sticky porridge made by the Indians from corn ground in the natural bowls at the top of the cliff…about two miles from the village of Fairfield… It is called “Samp Mortar Rock” from circumstances of its having on its top, “an excavation in the form of a mortar, and of sufficient dimension to contain upward of a half bushel of corn or other grain. The tradition is that it was used by the native Indians for the purpose of pounding their corn.”
The land around Samp Mortar Lake was inhabited by the Sasqua Indians to the west of the Mill River, and by the Pequonnock Indians to the east. The area below Samp Mortar Rock was home to a small tribe of Mohicans.” - Lake Hills: Indian Heritage
My home town of Fairfield was colonized in 1639, only a year after the Great Swamp Fight in which the native power in the region was destroyed. Initially disease ravaged the tribes of the North East in the first part of the seventeenth century, then European expansion did the rest in wiping out the native powers and reducing the survivors to pathetic remnants. The tale of the Pequots, the premier group in the region is indicative.
The Pequots sought refuge with the Sasqua villagers in what is now the Southport section of Fairfield and were attacked by English colonists from the Hartford region led by Captain Israel Stoughton with Roger Ludlow and Captain John Mason,with Narragansett and Mohegan allies. The Pequots, once the strongest tribe in the region had just been crushed in the Mystic Massacre, where an entire village of Pequot elders, women and children were attacked by another force of English with their Native allies killing some six to seven hundred while the warriors were away raiding Hartford. Led by their sachem Sassacus, the surviving Pequots broke out of the surrounding English at the swamp fight and escaped to the Mohawks near New Amsterdam, the Dutch run territory. The Mohawks promptly killed Sassacus and sent either his head or scalp to the English in Hartford, looking for good trade terms, thus ended the reign of the Pequots in Connecticut, by 1638 a destroyed tribe. The remaining survivors were parceled off as slaves among the victorious English and their tribal allies.
As “Lion Gardiner, a soldier involved in the Pequot War, in his 1660 Relation of the Pequot Wars, expressed a different perspective:
“”And now I am old, I would fain die a natural death or like a soldier in the field with honor and not to have a sharp stake set in the ground and thrust into my fundament and to have my skin flayed off by piecemeal and cut in pieces and bits and my flesh roasted and thrust down my throat as these people have done and I know will be done to the chieftest in the Country by hundreds if god should deliver us into their hands as Justly he may for our sins.”" -Wikipedia from Pequot War
The implication being that the methods of warfare used by the colonists were extreme and induced extreme reactions among the natives. In this excerpt from the Wikipedia article about the massacre in Mystic:
“Mason insisted that any Pequot attempting to escape the flames should be killed. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Pequot resident at Mystic that day, only seven survived to be taken prisoner, while another seven escaped to the woods.
The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with Mason and Underhill’s colonial militia were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight… because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett left the warfare and returned home.” - Wikipedia Pequot War.
In the spirit of Biblical justification for almost anything we have this quote from the period. It seems that the consequences of the Israelites smiting their way across the land of Canaan has reverberated through history.
“The colonists attributed the success of end of the murderous aggression of the Pequot tribe to an act of God:
“”Let the whole Earth be filled with his Glory! Thus the LORD was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their Land for an Inheritance.”" - Wikipedia Pequot War.
This is one of many examples from the Old Testament of Israel slaying and smiting.
“And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.” - Judges 1:17
King James Version.
This was only one of the first of many European led massacres of the Native Americans. Soon there after survivors from Connecticut Wappinger bands who had regrouped in the regions under Dutch hegemony were attacked by the new Dutch governor Kieft, in 1643. After being warned by local colonists who had developed friendly relations with the natives not to proceed, the Governor ignored them and ordered attacks.
“n the initial strike, since called the Pavonia Massacre, 129 Dutch soldiers descended on the camps and killed 120 Native Americans, including women and children. Having opposed the attack, de Vries described the events in his journal:
“”Infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…”" - from Wikipedia Kieft’s War.
“And so it goes” as Kurt Vonnegut was want to say. But onto the reason I wrote this in the first place my Sunday omlet.
First I chop up a quarter of bell pepper, a slice of onion, a piece of garlic, four or five small bella mushrooms and four dried apricots and place on the cast iron pan, heated to medium, greased with olive oil and bacon fat. I then spice with some chile powder, oregano, and rosemary. I then lower the temperature a little, throw in a little textured vegetable protein and chop up half a Roma tomato and add them and some fresh basil chopped up. I whip up two eggs with some water, place in the pan, add some cream cheese bits and then chop, not grate some parmesan cheese and place them in the pan, fold the omlet, and then after a few more minutes take the finished omlet out, place on the plate with a lemon wedge, some fresh cilantro and then sprinkle black pepper and habanero pepper hot sauce and you have a delicious nutty tasting omlet. Two eggs for one, three or four eggs for two or three persons.
For my holiday treat I made coffee with some Zagreb fine grind coffee I got at the Alpine Market, about a quarter of a bar of white chocolate I got at Whole Foods, and a good dash of cinnamon. This was my spiritual contribution, a multicolor tasty treat. All the best of this world slathered together in one breakfast communion. I dipped an Italian Lady Finger into this mix, from Food 4 Less for Heaven’s sake.
Afterwards my hemorrhoids were terrible (sugar and anal protrusions don’t mix well), but that is another story.
So there you have it, Christianity, a personal memoir, Christan colonizing guilty history, and an omlet. Happy Easter. May the bunny bring you many Chocolate Eggs. The origins of that tradition is a whole ‘nother story.