While you are deciding between the 20-pound turkey, the 9-pound ham or both, be thankful.
The universe has made it possible for us to enjoy fine food and family with so much abundance.
I often wonder, would I know any better if I was living in a third world country and struggling for every meal, would it make a difference?
Would there be an appreciation for the food, warmth and clothing regardless of the quantity? Or does the struggle and attainment make us more appreciative, the same or not at all?
It is difficult to imagine living in an environment without convenient accommodations of running water, electric power, multiple choices of edibles and ready access to friends and family.
When the Pilgrims began Thanksgiving in 1621, we have been told it was a time of sharing with Native Americans of the Wampanoag Tribe, who had helped them thrive and survive through the harvest period. They showed their appreciation by giving together what they had.
Items served in that historic dinner included waterfowl, ham, lobster, clams, fruit and berries along with what has become a tradition, squash and pumpkin. No mention of turkey and that probably became an easier replacement for venison through the years.
Now, the above is what history books have taught us. In reality it has been shellacked with a coat of Hollywood paint.
When the Thanksgiving story is told by Indian descendants, we get a different picture.
There was no mutual celebration. The Puritans had a great harvest and they were celebrating by shooting off their guns and cannons. The Wampanoag Indians thought they were being invaded and sent 90 of their warriors over to see what was going on. It turns out there were only a couple of dozen Puritans who had survived the Mayflower boat ride and they were celebrating a very good harvest.
The Indians were told through an interpreter what was happening. However, the Indians weren’t so sure. So, they decided to stick around a few days and keep an eye on the Puritans.
Somewhere in those few days the Indians were camped out there, the Puritans did bring food over to the Indians as a gift.
It wasn’t until over 200 years later; President Abraham Lincoln began the “story” of the first Thanksgiving. It was a time when the Civil War was a serious engagement and families were divided. He instituted the idea of families coming together, forgetting differences and sharing food together as did the “Pilgrims and the Indians.”
So, history, folklore and politics have played a most important role in one of our most important holiday celebrations.
Historically the first Thanksgiving did happen. Add a little folklore by inviting the Indians over for dinner while including the importance of politically good relations and you have a recipe for celebrating.
While the facts may be a bit skewed, the essence of Thanksgiving continues to unite and make people smile. Especially the turkey and pig growers of America.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.