Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

First I need to update you on the weekend's festivities. Andrew's birthday went smoothly w/o any kinks that I can recall. Lots of friends, lots of drinking but no breaking of items, no peeing on anything (just in toilets), the house guests decided to par-tay hard at The Jupiter Hotel instead of our place so it ended up being all good in the end. Besides Andrew's shoulder still causing him a lot of discomfort, the weekend went well.

Tomorrow is that wonderful day of gorging, Thanksgiving. I'm not big on Thanksgiving. I'm not against it; I think the origins have been lost over the years.

(History lesson time!)
The Pilgrims left England in September 1620 on a 65 day trip to The New World. This trip was funded by a group of English investors who made a contract w/the Pilgrims; hey if we pay for your trip, once you reach the new world you can practice any religion you want, you just have to perform back-breaking work for us for the next, oh seven years.

After the two month plus trip, enduring shortage of food and sickness, they arrive in Plymouth, MA. They learned not to fear the natives, they were a peaceful bunch. But the first winter was devastating. The 110 that survived the voyage to America, 60 died from cold and sickness. With the first spring, things started getting better. The settlement was completely constructed, the sickies from the winter were getting better and the Native American that had nearly everything to do w/the Pilgrims survival entered their lives. Samoset taught the Pilgrims how to farm; how to harvest corn, what plants were poisonous, which plants had medicinal purposes, to tap the Maple trees and so much more.

That October the Pilgrims had a very successful crop. They had strong homes, plenty of food - things were good. Pilgrim Governor, William Bradford declared a day of Thanks and invited the Native Americans that helped them beat all odds. For three days these neighbors celebrated their good fortune w/food, games and bonding.

What an excellent story. I'll celebrate that each year. But that is only part of how Thanksgiving became an American holiday.

Keep in mind the Pilgrims did not have success every year. The very next fall/winter things weren't so great for our lovable Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were still learning how to store their crops and did not do so properly and had a food shortage. Come spring/summer and it was very hot and the dry spell damaged most of their fields. The Pilgrim Governor ordered a day of fasting and prayer. The story goes that soon after that day the rains returned and they had an awesome harvest and then Governor Bradford declared that an annual day of thanks, Thanksgiving, was to be a custom.

An annual day of thanks after the harvest was practiced through the years. It was during the American Revolution (late 1770s), Continental Congress suggested a National Day of thanks. In 1817 New York adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual holiday but no official date was set for the nation. In 1863 President Lincoln set Thanksgiving holiday as the 4th Thursday in November.

So there's a very brief history lesson. And with that I will be spending Thanksgiving dinner around a table at Gustov's, a German restaurant w/Andrew's mother, step father, brother and Grand mother.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Celebrate good times w/the ones you love.

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