Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'm Thankful I Wasn't A Pilgrim!!
The Rogue Speaks:
It took the Mayflower 66 days to sail from Plymouth, England to the tip of Cape Cod. The 102 passengers were not on a Disney Cruise!! The trip was treacherous, to say the least, and the ship ended up far north of the Hudson River, which was supposed to be their destination. They hung around Cape Cod for about a month before crossing Massachusetts Bay, to the rock they named Plymouth.
The first winter was a woolly booger!! Most of the people never left the ship! It was brutally cold, and the poor Pilgrims suffered from scurvy, frost-bite, and a few contagious diseases, and many of them died without setting foot on American soil.
When spring finally came only around fifty Pilgrims were still alive. They went on shore in March, and were stunned when they were greeted by an English-speaking Abenaki Indian. He visited again and brought his friend, Squanto, a Pawtuxet. Squanto had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and became a slave. He escaped London and came back to America with an expedition.
The Pilgrims were pretty weak and malnourished after the long winter. Squanto taught them how to plant corn, catch fish, and get sap from maple trees. He also taught them to stay away from poison ivy, and other poisonous plants.
Governor Bradford decided to have a celebration in November of 1621, because the Pilgrims' corn harvest was so successful. He invited the Indians who had helped the Pilgrims, and they showed up with five deer. I guess they cooked them on a homemade spit, because the Pilgrims had no ovens. There wasn't enough sugar left on board the Mayflower for cakes and pies, so I guess they ate venison and corn, and whatever else the Indians showed them how to grow. So that celebration, which lasted for three days, was actually the first Thanksgiving, even though the Pilgrims didn't call it that.
In 1817, New York became the first state to celebrate Thanksgiving. Other states soon followed suit. In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale (who wrote "Mary Had A Little Lamb" among other things) campaigned to have Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It wasn't until 1863 that Abe Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a legal holiday, to be held on the last Thursday in November. In 1939, FDR moved the date up a week in an attempt to increase retail sales during the Depression. That angered a lot of people, so he was forced to change it to the fourth Thursday.
The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924, with mostly bands and floats. They didn't have big balloons, but they did have live animals. The first animal balloons appeared in the 1927 parade. The first Micky Mouse balloon appeared in the parade of 1934. It is a tradition that New Yorkers gather the day before Thanksgiving to watch the filling of the giant helium balloons.
Beginning around the mid-20th century, the U.S. presidents started giving reprieves to one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year. I believe Mr. Tom T. Urkee was one of those who was pardoned. I know you all remember him fondly.
It has become sort of a tradition for folks to express their thanks for various things during Thanksgiving, so I'll go first: I am thankful for JennieO turkeys because they were only 29 cents a pound at the grocery, and because if I had to go out and shoot one and clean it, my family would starve for sure. I am thankful for only having to bring two dishes to Allison's, the turkey and my squash casserole. I am thankful that Rod cleans up after dinner. Of course he does that every night, but I am still thankful.
I am thankful that I don't have to wear socks to bed this winter because Lizzy and Mulligan will keep my feet warm. Rod is thankful that I won't be wearing socks to bed, too, because he thinks I look goofy with socks on.
I am thankful that my children are all gainfully employed, and have given me such beautiful, smart, and talented grandchildren.
Finally, I am thankful to be living in America, despite the current unemployment dilemma, the deplorable outsourcing by companies to whom we gave bailout money, and the mean-spirited, divisive nature and uncompromising attitudes of certain politicians these days. This is still my home, and I'm gonna love it, come rain or come shine.
I am also thankful that God invented the Internet, and then gave me such nice blogger friends to hang out with every day.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!