It’s interesting to me, that the first Thanksgiving occurred in a rare moment of peace between the Pilgrims and the Massasoit’s in Plymouth in the early 1600’s. An Indian named Tisquantum had been devoted to helping the colonization of the Pilgrims; his motives to carve out the destiny of his people. You know, share the corn and furs so to speak. The evening of the first Thanksgiving marked a truce; the Governer of Cape Cod agreed to pay back losses caused by the colonist’s early grave robbing. The Pilgrim’s situation felt secure enough to have a large feast. However, some 90 Massasoit’s showed up and the Pilgrims marched around firing their guns as an early warning to ill intent. This brought about a couple hours of peace to feast and give thanks. Soon after though, the Massasoit’s wanted to execute Tisquantum but the Pilgrims wouldn’t release him. Then everything fell apart again, as you can imagine.
So, I had six of the coolest people in the world over at my house for Turkey Day Din Din. Now, while I didn’t need Pilgrims in military regalia marching around my living room to warn off any ill intent. I did need loads and loads of alcohol to calm my nerves as my first Thanksgiving baked, boiled and simmered (in one case when I somehow turned off the oven in the middle of cooking the bird; oy vey!). I tried to bake the homemade bread the day before. I shared this with one of the colorful guests coming to dinner. He said, “I like kneading bread.” I said, “That’s because all of our DNA is in the yeast, we like to feel ourselves up.” He answered, “Does that make the Pillsbury Doughboy a kind of Porn Star?” This made me laugh so hard, I got distracted feeling so good and went outside for awhile, and then into the studio to paint. I completely missed the yeast rising part. It rose and then fell and so that batch was blown. The next morning I did it again. And this time, YUM.
So, okay now back to the actual day and where Indians and mean Cape Cod Politians come in. So, there was no brave Indian working towards the security of his people amongst us, however, there were a couple of brave rabbits that got pet til they went numb and couldn’t take it anymore. And, while I didn’t make pie crust from corn husks (as I imagine those hard working Pilgrims did), I did use spelt flour which made the crust somewhat flavorless and grimy. I also used a graphic artist roll tool to roll out the crust (with syran wrap on it). My friends were polite and didn’t say too much about the crust except how ambitious it was to take on pie crust from scratch. “But it only took 10 min…oh duh, I get it.”
And we were thankful enough for our lives, and wishful for our lives next year, and reminiscent of off-beat memories like Lesbian Mormon’s who needed support in their transition, and prank phone calls from conservatives. These memories were gone through as quickly as possible given that I had enough to be possibly embarrassed by with all that cooking going on—a Turkey Virgin so to speak. But while the mandolin and harmonica were being pulled out, a discussion of large centipedes that eat bats in South America ensued as someone else talked about recent spiritual insights. I was sorry to have missed that one!
And, although we didn’t have the thanks of a large cultural justice to share, like monies given back for food sources stolen from colonies we had plenty of thanks to share. The thanks for creativity, for a warm home to share a feast in, for all the things she didn’t get that she thought she wanted (one of my personal favorites), for growth, for good friends. And when my mom called, they all yelled ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ really loud. And I was thankful for that.
So all in all, and excellent Thanksgiving! Next year, I’ll get a bird thermometer, and I’ll put more sugar in the cranberry apricot sauce, I’ll take extra long on the crust and double the recipe on the filler. I’ll keep the stuffing the same…I’ll keep the friends the same. I’ll say no to men in military uniforms who want my Indian, who give back conditionally, who invite themselves to my dinner. I mean, really, those Pilgrims are tolerant people–about as tolerant as my little rabbits were of all of us. It was awesome. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!