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Happy Thanksgiving…

November 26, 2009

I do like Thanksgiving and wish all the readers a happy one. I like it for a number of reasons. There isn’t much flag waving or bible thumping – either of which ruins the best of times. Then there is the good food (in this house it is truly wonderful and healthy to boot), drink (there will be a fair amount as soon as I get off this machine). And family. And mine brings me alot of joy. Of course there is all the shopping nonsense tomorrow and this evening a football game which somewhat ruins the mood, but then I won’t be heading to the mall at 6 am nor turn on the tv this evening.

It does help not to be reminded – as I am now doing – that this day does mark the beginning of a genocide against North American native peoples by some protestant fanatics, otherwise called our `founding fathers’ (the founding mothers were soon condemned as `witches’) who, prior to making the great journey across the Atlantic, first tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the British government because it wasn’t protestant enough for them. Had they not included the sons and daughters of those in power in Britain, the lot of them would have been hung, beheaded or whatever cruel way people were disposed of in those days. But being sons and daughters of the privileged, they were instead, expelled to Amsterdam where they were given a place to live and worship, but no power to speak of – which is what they were really after. This left them unsatisfied and consequentally they decided to head `across the pond’ to Massachusetts. Most of the native peoples in the area that they met were already dead from small pox, probably contracted by some wayward European sailors whose ship had wrecked off the coast a year so before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The first pilgrim harvest wasn’t a harvest at all, or at least not their harvest. Instead the founding fathers – simply gathered to corn and pumpkins from fields outside of native villages where entire populations lay dead from the pox. No real achievement to speak of, was it? One of the better descriptions of all this is an essay called the First Thanksgiving in James Loewen’s `Lies My Teacher Told Me’ – one of the more fun books undermining some of the myths by which we live.

But as I said, I won’t get into all that and ruin the spirit of the day. During the recent presidential campaign my daughters did not permit me to criticize Obama too much, nor now to make cynical and unkind (if accurate) remarks about holidays that they love. So, in the spirit of familial harmony, I will let others do that. I did find a wonderful website by two 84 year old women, Margaret and Helen, whose views on the day parallel my own (although I am not into Texas football) which I encourage you to read and enjoy. My brother-in-law, David Fey, introduced me to these fine women. (For the link click here) And at that site read `Thanksgiving Letter To the Family’ – a jewel.

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