The first Thanksgiving: plenty of eel – no pumpkin pie
So, what do you know about the first Thanksgiving? It might be wrong.
For starters, the "first" Thanksgiving of 1621 was not the first celebration of "giving thanks" in America. There's evidence celebrations of those types, involving new settlers, happened in Florida in 1564, in Texas in 1598 and in Jamestown, Virginia in 1609.
The pilgrims were just happy to be alive at the Thanksgiving of 1621. About half the people who boarded the Mayflower in England - didn't make it to America. And the ones who 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 it was the Wamponoag tribe who taught the pilgrims how to grow crops. After they parked the combines, (just checking to see if you're paying attention) they gave thanks for that first good harvest, by having a three day party. And that's what became the first "Thanksgiving".
Plymouth Rock? Yeah, nobody really knows if that's where the pilgrims really landed or not, but in 1774, the town of Plymouth, MA decided to move the rock into the town square, and while trying to move it, they broke it in half. Nice. And then, people started chipping off pieces for souvenirs. And THIS is why we can't have nice things..
At that first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims ate wild fowl like geese and ducks, but there was NO mention, in writing, of turkey being eaten, 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 native to 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, since they were living right on the coast, they also ate seafood like oysters and clams. And eels. You wanna have an authentic Thanksgiving? Get yourself a three-foot eel, and put that in your brother-in-law's fryer.
And if there was beer, there were only a couple of gallons for everybody. Your brother-in-law (see above) drinks more beer on Thanksgiving than all the pilgrims, COMBINED.
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 big "BYOB and Eels Party" to give thanks. Hopefully, they had more beer by then.
Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.
Noted zythologist and all-around fun guy Banana Don can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.
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