On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. ~William Jennings Bryan
Today is Thanksgiving, and as you sit down with friends and family, consider the first Thanksgiving celebration...
The Pilgrims didn’t have it easy! When they landed at Plymouth Rock they discovered intolerable weather, a strange landscape and an even stranger culture of people. They spent their first winter on board their ship, and greeted spring with less than half their original party, most of whom suffered from scurvy, exposure and disease. Seems as if their Native American neighbors felt compassion for them, as they taught the pilgrims how to fish, obtain syrup from trees, identify both poison and medicinal plants and other life-saving skills.
After their first successful corn harvest, the settlers heaved a sigh of relief and invited their new friends to dinner. They had a three day festival and enjoyed a feast of deer (provided by their generous guests), other assorted animals and very simple dishes cooked in the Native American tradition. They didn’t have sugar so the table wasn’t groaning under the weight of pies, pastries and other desserts. They didn’t even have an oven, so forget the potatoes au gratin.
When the Pilgrims managed to survive another year after a long drought, they celebrated again but this time after a religious fast, something we’ve forgotten to observe in recent years. We can certainly see why these early Americans (although not quite as early as the Native Americans) felt grateful. Now we have an opportunity to gather together with those we depend upon, eat rich, abundant foods easily acquired at grocery stores, and be present to our great blessings–the relative ease in our lives–before we nod off for the traditional, post-Thanksgiving feast nap.
Enjoy your loved ones today, relish your traditions and the wonderful dishes, delight in all your abundance! Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
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