The ‘First’ Thanksgiving

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

This coming Thursday our American friends, assuming we still have some, will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a day set aside by George Washington to thank the Lord for allowing them to carry guns and shoot their next-door neighbour.  

Americans have far more to be thankful for than we, their poor northern cousins. For one thing they can be thankful Congress had the brains to hold their Thanksgiving on a Thursday giving them a four-day weekend. We are stuck with a Monday and even the grocery stores are open. The only thing closed as I recall was the beer and liquor store, what kind of half-assed celebration is that? 

The Americans invented Thanksgiving Day (and apparently everything else, just ask them) to celebrate the harvest in the fall of 1641, and to give the Pilgrims an excuse to goof off for a day and watch the NFL games on TV.  In the spirit of Christian fellowship, they also invited a few of the local Native Americans over to join them for a Thanksgiving feast. I just happened to be going through some stuff in the basement and found a tape of that first dinner. It was held at the home of Deacon Smith.

John Smith – Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to Plymouth Rock. I’m John Smith, thee can call me Jack. This is the little woman, Felicity, and here are the kids, Obadiah, Joshua, Silas, Ezekiel, Sara, Purity, Patience, Prudence, and the twins, Heckle and Jeckle. “Obadiah, get thy hand out of there.” 

To my right, is Elder Merriweather and his homely wife, Chastity. They have no children. To my left, Elder Goodbody and his astonishingly fertile missus, Charity, they have several. The rest of the Pilgrims will be by in a few minutes.

Running Deer – To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed. When you asked us to come over, I thought we were just going to play cards and watch the game. The wife could have whipped up some pemmican. Oh I’m sorry, I’m Running Deer and this is the bride, Sparkling Waters.

Sparkling Waters – I wish you had let us know about the dinner, Felicity, and that all those other folks were coming. I could have at least brought a salad or something, maybe a zucchini casserole. It was a great year for zucchinis I’ve got them coming out my…

Running Deer – I’m sure you have, my love. Oh Jack, I brought along 24 skins of fermented moose milk. I thought we can sip away at it while we watch the game. I see Elder Merriweather is dipping into it already, I should have fermented another moose.

John Smith – Bless thee, neighbour. We pilgrims are teetotalers usually – unless someone else is buying. Just a moment, Merriweather, don’t use thy cupped hands, I’ll get thee a pewter mug.

Sparkling Waters – So what’s for dinner, Felicity? Something light, I hope. We had a buffalo for lunch.

Felicity – Turnip.

Sparkling Waters – Turnip. Turnip and what?

Felicity – Just turnip. That’s the only thing we planted that came up. 

Sparkling Waters – Turnips aren’t food, Felicity. Turnips are for lawn bowling or throwing at Iroquois. Don’t you have any meat?

Felicity – John went out to shoot something but he’s not very good at it. All he managed to do was wing Elder Cromwell.

Sparkling Waters – Well, don’t fret, dear. We can come up with something. Run, be a dear and shoot us a few turkeys, and maybe a partridge or something as a side dish. Oh, there are some blueberries in the freezer – under the bear steaks. Bring the bag marked ‘July 1640’.

Running Deer – Can it wait, Sparky, the Washington Redskins are on the 10-yard line. Somehow, I have the feeling that this will be the last time us natives will win anything around here for a long time.

John Smith – Whilst thee are up, Running Deer, could thee bring back some of those roasted chestnuts thy people make and some popcorn. That would be nice. We planted a box last spring, but it didn’t come up; just some things that look like rows and rows of yellow teeth.

Elder Merriweather – Oh, and we’re getting a little low on the moose milk there, Cochise. Better bring a few more jugs. Do thee have any of those tobacco leaves thee gave to Wally Raleigh? I’ve been thinking of rolling them up in old newspapers and selling them to those dumb Canadians as a health food.

Running Deer – Let’s see, I better write all this down – a few turkeys, some partridge, blueberries, more booze, and some tobacco. Is that all?

Elder Goodbody – That’s all for now. If we think of anything we’ll let thee know.

Sparkling Waters – Hold on Run, I’ll come with you to help you carry it all.

          A few minutes later

Elder Merriweather – Nice folks. 

John Smith – They certainly are. Maybe we should wait until after dinner before we tell them we’re taking their land to build a shopping mall. 

(Image Supplied)

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