Banana Don’s Slice of Americana – The Pilgrims. A Full Report.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’ve done some research into the actual first Thanksgiving in 1621. After reading this, I’m counting on you to lead the discussion at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
The Thanksgiving of 1621 was not the first celebration of “giving thanks” in America. There’s evidence one happened in Florida in 1564, in Texas in 1598 and in Jamestown, Virginia in 1609.
The Pilgrims were just happy to be alive at that first “Thanksgiving”. About half of the people who got on the Mayflower in England – didn’t make it to America. And the ones that did make it over alive had been sick and starving since landing at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620. Thankfully, they met the Wamponoag tribe, and a guy named Squanto who spoke perfect English. And they taught the Pilgrims how to grow crops. So, they had a three day party and were giving thanks after their first good harvest.
Plymouth Rock? Yeah, nobody really knows if that’s where they really landed or not, but in 1774, the town of Plymouth, MA decided to move the rock into the town square, and when they tried to move it, they broke it in half. Nice. And then, people started chipping off pieces for souvenirs. So, some things never change.
At the “first’ Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims ate wild fowl like geese and ducks, but there was no mention of turkey even though they had plenty of wild turkeys in the area , and did eat them. Their friends from the Wampanoag tribe brought them five deer so they could eat venison. White potatoes were from South America and not part of the Native American or English diet yet. They ate corn and pumpkins but didn’t have the sugar required for pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. And they ate seafood since they were right on the coast, like oysters and clams. And eels. Yeah, you wanna have an authentic Thanksgiving? Get yourself a three foot long eel, and put that in your brother-in-law’s fryer.
And if there was beer, there was only a couple of gallons for everybody for a three day party. And this is why we have Sam’s Club.
At the first Thanksgiving the recreation was games for the kid and shooting guns for the men. So you may be able to re-create that part if you live out far enough.
The SECOND Thanksgiving was held in July of 1623. The Pilgrims had planted their crops and then it didn’t rain. For three months. Finally one day in July it started raining, and it rained softly for two weeks. The corn was saved and started growing again. So they had another party to give thanks. Hopefully, they had more beer by now. I guess the late fall Thanksgiving stuck though, because if it hadn’t, we’d be watching the Tigers on Thanksgiving, not the Lions.
That’s my report. To close, here is a drawing of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower party cruise. The men are discussing where the big whitetail bucks will be when they get to America. The ladies are discussing their Pinterest sites.
I know – I’m sorry. They’re signing the Mayflower Compact. It was a pretty big deal. Look it up.
Oh yeah, by the way – just to blow your mind, we’re eating Chinese takeout food tomorrow at my house. Have a good one. Talk to you Monday morning.