In the United States, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday of this week. Like all other things in the United States, Thanksgiving, too, has become subject to politicization and myth-making.
According to Britannica:
Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people … Plymouth’s Thanksgiving began with a few colonists going out “fowling,” possibly for turkeys but more probably for the easier prey of geese and ducks … Next, 90 or so Wampanoag made a surprise appearance at the settlement’s gate, doubtlessly unnerving the 50 or so colonists. Nevertheless, over the next few days, the two groups socialized without incident.
The Pilgrims, of course, were British colonialists, who happened to drop by Plymouth to murder indigenous people. Then, out of his innate sense of commercial opportunism, one of the Pilgrims, Larry Macy, decided to hold a parade on that day, which he later moved from Plymouth to New York City.
After the feast, one of the Wampanoag tribesmen used the skin of one of the pigs from the feast to make an oddly oval-shaped ball, which the celebrants of the first Thanksgiving used to play the first game of football. (The Wampanoags beat the Pilgrims 20 to 17 with a field goal in overtime.) Starting with the second Thanksgiving, the National Football League appropriated the ball and the game, which is why is the Buffalo Bills will play the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants will play the Dallas Cowboys, and the New England Patriots will play the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Put It Down
I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care what myths you make or subscribe to. Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day. If you’re in the United States, whatever you’re doing, stop. Even if you don’t celebrate with a big meal, a parade, or a football game, take a moment to count your blessings. If you can do that in the company of family and friends, all the better.
We’ll be entertaining Anne’s cousins, whom we lovingly call the Crazy Italians, as well as my two brothers and assorted other family members and friends. I’m going to put a Gripe Bucket outside the front door and ask everyone, as they arrive, to put all their complaints in there before they enter. Then, at Anne’s suggestion, we’re all going to hold hands in the living room and watch this on the big screen:
With our thanks given, we’ll sit down to celebrate the rest of the day in grateful serenity (except for the Crazy Italians, who’ll talk and laugh and lift the spirits of everyone in the house, as they always do.)
I wouldn’t have it any other way.