Everyone is familiar with the first Thanksgiving. We’ve been taught to envision a quaint village full of happy, gentle pilgrims and their cute Native American friends. Smiles abound and friendship flows freely. They share delicious food, to include pies and cakes, and pass around a giant cornucopia. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that this cornucopia is filled not with food, but with lies. It is true that the early settlers held a large festival to give thanks for their survival, but it was nothing like what we’ve been conditioned to imagine.
For starters, the settlers had run out of sugar long before the date of their celebration. There would have been no pumpkin pie, no tarts, no marshmallows on the yams–no fun, essentially. Not to mention the reason for celebration itself–survival. These people were not having a nice pre-Christmas pep rally, they were giving thanks for being able to eat…at all. Couple that with the fact that deer was served in the place of turkey and you’ve got yourself a dismal situation. But, then again, maybe I’m just viewing things through the lens of modern cynicism.
To further compound this brimming bucket of blah, we’ll fast forward a couple hundred years to 1863. The United States Civil War is raging and the country seems anything but stable. It’s at this tumultuous time in history that the United States claimed its second first Thanksgiving. That is to say, the president declared Thanksgiving an official holiday, to be held every year on last Thursday of November. (I knew Lincoln was a stand-up guy in more ways than one!) I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine enjoying a table filled with animal carnage reminiscent of that on the battle field just yards from my home. But, as I’ve said before, perhaps I just can’t get over this 21st century attitude.
After all, perhaps these past Thanksgivings weren’t entirely bad. Perhaps they were more exemplary than one might imagine. Perhaps they were what Thanksgiving should be–a conscious decision to not give a flying fadoodle about the negativity surrounding life. Perhaps these dates were the true representation of resiliency and optimism for which we’ve all been searching.
In either case, here’s a cute video of a porcupine eating pumpkin pie–bye!