Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gee, Thanks (Part II)

"Bad news?  He didn't let me in.  
Good news?  He built me a nice toasty fire.  
Worst news?  This is only part two of three.  
Yeah, kinda sucks to be you."
NOTE:  This was clearly taken during the summer.
But, hey, sometimes comedy is not pretty. Or accurate.
The appearance of bare legs courtesy of my brother and nephew.
     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.
Knuckles, please."
    And nobody fighting over the remote.

    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?"
    And, wouldn’t you know it, those smarty-pants Canadians with their hockey and wool hats decided to have their own harvest celebration on Columbus Day weekend.  This, despite a fierce ad campaign by the “Sons of the Santa Maria” fraternal organization.   

    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’).
When the kids piss and moan about the turnips and squash, remind them...
 it could be worse.

To be concluded...

Next:  We give thanks.  Mostly, that this post is almost over.


  1. Just so you know, they aired Saints and Strangers on NatGeo channel so know we know everything that ever happened on Thanksgiving.
    LOL. I didn't know that girl from Pitch Perfect was so old though!

    1. I saw that they did. I like my fantasies.

  2. Blah to the main course being spam. The cats would enjoy the squirrel though i bet.

    1. As long as the cat doesn't touch the squirrel's nuts.

  3. very funny. I do still like the Charlie Brown version that includes popcorn

  4. I'm in shock - what a flippin' post. Love it. It's so "US".

  5. You certainly have a thing with eel. Think I'll avoid Thanksgiving in the East.

  6. Your version is much better than what they taught at my penguin academy.

  7. If I'm the grammar snob, then no, I'm not happy. I suppose the women did all the work. Some things never change.


    1. But, would it have killed them to be topless?

    2. I don't know. It was probably pretty chilly, so that means perky nipples but exposure to the cold. I walk around my house in my undies when it's warm.

  8. And while they don't get to celebrate with us, those Brits gave us Yorkshire pudding. Damn, that stuff is good.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Al. You're one of the best.

  9. I'm still laughing at Mohawks on Ice.

  10. EEL! I knew I forgot to cook something. Dang it. And I used the eel bowl for cranberries.

    In spite of my idiocy, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. God bless!

  11. Squirrels and spam is a winning combination! Congratulations on your new book, Al! "Now with page numbers and no pictures of the author," is a sure sign I'm going to love it! Happy Thanksgiving, Al!


  12. I like eel. Yes I have had eel but not in a pie...that is just gross. Oh, of course the eel was smoked, I'm not a total heathen

    1. My father used to drag us to the swamp to fish for eels. This is why I have a psychological condition when it comes to fishing. The story is in "Shag Carpet Toilet" in the chapter "A Day at the Crick." SCT IS a work of fiction, but that chapter is heavily influenced by real events.