Oh, what a day it must have been!
The brightly colored leaves swirling madly amongst the trees, a chill autumn wind blowing briskly over freshly-harvested fields, and the forest animals bustling crazily about in preparation for winter.
|"Very descriptive, Penwasser, very descriptive. |
But, no mention of Jesus.
So it was in 1621 that Governor Bradford of Plimouth (that’s how they spelled it back then, smart guy) Colony thought it was high time to celebrate a day of thanksgiving.
Frantically scurrying to find a suitable venue at which to hold their celebration, the Pilgrim fathers were disappointed to learn they were too late; all the good days in October and early November had been reserved months earlier for the Pequot/Schwartz wedding reception, the Jamestown “We Were First” Commemoration, and the last of the Mohican family reunions.
|"Yeah, up yours, eh?"|
Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some rogue Hurons stole their loincloths. So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast held at the local Moose lodge picnic pavilion (with real moose. Or, would that be ‘mooses?’ Or ‘meese?’ Sheesh. Frikkin' English).
A grateful people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet. After all, the tribe was essential to their gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets.
|"Squanto tell white devil bury fish with corn. |
Yeah. No shit."
Imagine what would have happened had Squanto not taught the Pilgrims to plant dead fish with their corn (“Behold, I bring you the gift of maize! As long as you don’t mind the smell of dead fish”).
Prior to that, they just stuck them in their trousers.
Plus, the tribe brought the eel pies.
|"Really, Runs With Scissors, eel pies? |
Couldn't bring a green bean
casserole like a normal person?"
Many customs today hearken back to this coming together of disparate peoples. The feast, the fellowship, two-hand touch game of lacrosse after supper, and everyone falling asleep in front of the fire while the women cleaned up all laid the foundation of that which identifies us as a nation.
NOTE: By us, I mean the United States. Canada, you have your own Thanksgiving. England, you coulda had a piece of this, but noooooooooo.
Luckily, some aspects of that first thanksgiving have not survived. For instance, few people realize that, while turkey was indeed one of the dishes, the main course consisted primarily of venison, cod, squirrels, and SPAM.
And, as much fun as scalping captive fur trappers from New France was, I don’t think it would go over that big today. Then again, they were French.
Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured throughout peace, war, and the Obama Administration. No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day: putting relatives on the spot to state what they’re thankful for (or ‘that for which they are thankful.’ Happy now, grammar snobs?). If they didn’t come clean, they wouldn’t be allowed to eat food they wouldn’t normally eat any other time of year (think ‘eels’).
To be concluded...
Next: We give thanks. Mostly, that this post is almost over.