Thanksgiving is just a few days away. We should all look back with reverence and respect for the Pilgrims who left Europe to escape the oppression of bagpipe music. They sailed to America on a ship called The Mayflower. It should have been just a three-hour tour, but ended up taking much longer because Gilligan broke the GPS system, and they had to wander in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights in pouring down rain until someone got swallowed by a whale. And even though they had to stop frequently at convenience stores to use the restrooms, not once did the men ask for directions despite the constant nagging of their wives.
When they finally reached the New World their hearts swelled with joy. They dropped anchor in a harbor by a natural rock formation we now call The Statue of Liberty. Before leaving the ship, they wrote The Mayflower Compact which starts out: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, but women are more equal, so the men have to put down the toilet seats, take out the garbage, kill the spiders and do all the other yucky stuff. The women signed the document first, because they had all bought grande Mocha Frappuccinos at the last convenience store, and they’d been doing the Pee Pee Dance for the last three hours–they would have signed away their first-born children in order to get off the ship and find a bathroom.
The first winter was hard on the Pilgrims. There wasn’t any electricity, and the extension cord they’d run from Europe had somehow gotten unplugged, so they couldn’t use their space heaters or microwave ovens, making their frozen TV dinners useless. As the winter grew longer, they exhausted their wood supply and started accusing each other of being witches just so they could burn someone at the stake to get warm and make s’mores.
When spring finally arrived, the Pilgrims met a young Indian named Squanto, who spoke English. Meeting the Pilgrims thrilled him, because all the people in his tribe spoke an Indian language, and he was glad to finally have someone to talk with. Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims, even though he thought their hats were silly. He showed the Pilgrims how to grow corn, catch fish and play pinochle.
The following fall, because of Squanto, the Pilgrims had plenty of food to get them through the winter—although just eating corn and fish got a little old. They invited Squanto’s tribe over for a feast of thanksgiving. The Indians brought local food and wild game. Everyone ate until they were stuffed—the Pilgrims especially liked a native bird called turkey which went well with cranberry sauce that they had invented centuries before, but nobody ever knew what to do with it. Afterward they watched the Redskins play the Patriots at pinochle, starting the tradition of watching games with a stomach that feels like it’s going to explode.
And that’s the true story of the first Thanksgiving, despite what anyone else might tell you. So enjoy your Thanksgiving and be thankful for what you have, because we are lucky to live in a country that has so much. Eat a bunch of turkey and play some pinochle; Squanto would have wanted it that way.
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