Few people realize it, but this year marks the 400th anniversary of the First Thanksgiving, which allegedly took place in the fall of 1621 in what is now the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. As would be expected, there are a number of myths surrounding what happened four centuries ago, and the typical contemporary depictions of Godly devoted pilgrims breaking bread with their Native American neighbors are misleading at best or downright false at worst.
In the modern scheme of things, the cultural and practical departures from the original festivities don’t mean a whole lot. Most Americans recognize that Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for the bountiful grace of God -- or at least that’s what they should be doing.
It wasn’t necessarily like that in 1621. From History.com:
“Nearly all of what historians have learned about the first Thanksgiving comes from a single eyewitness report: a letter written in December 1621 by Edward Winslow, one of the 100 or so people who sailed from England aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and founded Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. William Bradford, Plymouth’s governor in 1621, wrote briefly of the event in Of Plymouth Plantation, his history of the colony, but that was more than 20 years after the feast itself.
“According to this account, the historic event didn’t happen on the fourth Thursday in November, as it does today—and it wasn’t known as Thanksgiving. In fact, it took place over three days sometime between late September and mid-November in 1621, and was considered a harvest celebration.
“’Basically it was to celebrate the end of a successful harvest,’ says Tom Begley, the executive liaison for administration, research and special projects at Plimoth Plantation. ‘The three-day celebration included feasting, games and military exercises, and there was definitely an amount of diplomacy between the colonists and the native attendees as well.’”
Today’s American Thanksgiving dinner table certainly features a generous amount of “diplomacy” too, with different political factions trying their darndest to be polite and keep verbal skirmishes from breaking out to ruin the occasion. In that sense, 2021 likely isn’t so different from the first gathering in 1621, is it?
Thanksgiving is as American as it gets.
I’m not certain how the holiday will be handled inside the White House on this 400th anniversary of the original (in actuality, the First Couple will spend Thanksgiving living it up on Nantucket Island while the rest of the serfs deal with Joe Biden’s inflation), but here’s a speculative glimpse at what might be done and said within its walls:
--“Let’s call this meeting to order,” said senile president Joe Biden to his guests seated around a large rectangular dining table placed precisely underneath an elaborate chandelier in the White House dining room. Each place setting included the finest executive mansion China, the flatware polished and shiny and tasteful seasonal table decorations enhancing the mood of happiness and plenty.
“Go ahead and remove your masks.” Biden glanced around and noted that none of his meeting attendees were wearing the face diapers, including himself. He made a mental note (cough, cough) to remind Dr. Fauci to step up his orders to mask-up or stay outside with the animals. Or both. Whatever.
“Um, Joe, this isn’t a meeting, it’s a Thanksgiving dinner celebration,” replied a masked servant in the corner of the room, embarrassed at having to correct the president for the umpteenth time today. The woman was tired of trying to make the man seem sharp and present when it was obvious to everyone that he’d lost all but one of the cylinders in his once powerful cranial engine.
“Oops, sorry,” senile Joe retorted, confused again. Biden wondered why anyone would gather to give thanks for anything this season, seeing as nothing seems to be going right for his fledgling administration. Not even his media friends are friendly towards him any longer, them constantly begging for quotes about vaccine mandates and why his “Build Back (More) Better” agenda had failed to catch fire in Congress.
‘At least this time I didn’t release in my slacks like I did while meeting the Pope’ ol’ senile Joe thought to himself.
One by one the servants entered the room and revealed the evening’s fare, complete with all the fixins’ you’d come to expect from Thanksgiving dinner. Hearing a prompt, Jen Psaki stood up from her seat and took the lead emcee role, introducing each dish and linking it to the first such seasonal celebration, which took place in 1621, exactly four hundred years ago today.
“Hi everyone!” She cackled cheerfully, glad to be away from the press room for a change. As all guests realized -- except maybe for Biden himself -- Psaki had just returned from COVID-19 quarantine. Jen had no symptoms but used the 10-day-plus period to kick up her feet and still draw her considerable federal salary. She closed her eyes and uttered a silent prayer under her breath to thank whomever was responsible for fanning hysteria over the virus.
Psaki went on, “Yeah, um, let’s circle back to the food and talk a little about the first Thanksgiving. To start off, we’ve got this huge delicious-looking turkey here, but the colonists and the native Americans more likely ate seafood at their celebration, not wild fowl. And it wasn’t called ‘Thanksgiving’ at the time, nor did it occur in one single event. It was more like a days’ long party, right? Abraham Lincoln was the one who decided to coin it ‘Thanksgiving’, which could be the only good idea a Republican president ever had.”
The guests chuckled politely at the Psaki-joke, except for vice president Kamala Harris, who vigorously pounded her closed fists on the table in feigned hilarity, giggling until her eyes watered and opened up like a fountain in summertime. Or maybe it was she just couldn’t contain herself, always bursting out in laughter at the strangest times.
After shooting Kamala a nasty look for the unwanted interruption, Psaki continued. “The first Thanksgiving probably didn’t have many women present, since most of the ones who’d survived the trip from the old country had died by the time the men called ‘Chow time’. And who says men can’t cook anyway? Sheesh, Joe told me he’d served ‘Wild Turkey’ to any number of guests at his beach house over the years, though for some reason it came from a bottle.”
“That’s right, Jen m’ girl.” Biden chimed in. “I don’t drink the stuff myself but it sure had an effect on people who did imbibe. Who would’ve thought that a little liquid Turkey could make Teddy Kennedy stumble around like he was on a Martha’s Vineyard bender circa 1969? You know, sometimes he forgot about stuff, like a woman being trapped in a car overnight at the bottom of a creek. I think maybe his memory lapses had something to do with his drinking habits.”
The dinner attendees couldn’t follow-up on senile Joe’s impeccable long-term memory, though no one present could determine if he was telling the truth or not. They never could.
Then, for no apparent reason, senile Joe became agitated. “Speaking of turkey… say, isn’t this the turkey I pardoned last week? You mean to tell me we’re eating that poor bird now? I thought it was safe.” A masked staff member whispered something in Biden’s ear, he grimaced a bit, then took another big bite off of one of the victim’s meaty legs.
Conversation lagged for a moment or two, then Joe suspended the silence as everyone munched on turkey and fixins’ to share his thought of the moment.
“Those ignorant savages…” Joe’s words trailed off as he heard the clearly audible gasps from those present. Wondering if the guests were about to engage in an “Animal House” style food fight, Biden covered his rear end. “I meant the Pilgrims, gosh darnit! They were all white, weren’t they? Shouldn’t they have stopped off in Canada or something and picked up some pigmented people before they landed at Plymouth Rock? It just shows how backwards those religious would-be Trump supporters were. That’s what we should be doing today, people, giving thanks to those illiterate peasants for showing us the importance and need for Critical Race Theory today.
“Frankly, I think we should give all of lower Massachusetts -- including the offshore islands -- back to descendants of those Native American folks. That’s a legacy we can be proud of, and it only took us 400 years to figure it out. What do you think, Barack ol’ buddy?”
Knowing that his former veep was just crazy enough to do such a thing, Obama stared at Joe, the type of piercing glare he saved for wife Michelle when she deprived him of cigarettes for more than a day.
“Joe, as you can probably guess, I’m not wild about the idea,” Obama said calmly. “At the outset, the first Thanksgiving couldn’t possibly have been in 1621 because there weren’t any African-Americans present. I read the complete 1619 Project and it said that the entirety of America’s history is tied to slavery, and the first Africans didn’t arrive on American soil until 1619.”
The Big O went on, “And they were in Virginia at Jamestown down there off the Chesapeake Bay. They couldn’t possibly have walked that far through a God forsaken, unimproved wilderness in those two short years, so therefore, anyplace there isn’t systemic racism on this continent doesn’t count. And I’ll be gosh-darned before I’m going to give up me n’ Michelle’s sweet seaside estate to some Indian tribe who hasn’t been allowed back on the island for hundreds of years. They wouldn’t even know how to throw a good party, right?”
“Right you are, chum!” Biden replied enthusiastically. “I’d forgotten about the 1619 thing. That was no doubt the beginning of the racial jungle in big cities, too. Say, by the way, you’re the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Not quite knowing how to counter Joe’s latest insult, Barack simply smiled and reached over and squeezed Michelle’s leg underneath the table, causing her to noticeably flinch. Obama couldn’t decide whether to laugh or lash out -- or just grin and bear it, so he opted for the latter course.
“Okay, I’m bored already, so let’s do something that I used to do when we were gathered at our place in Delaware when the fiesta lagged,” Biden suggested sleepily after yawning loudly and stretching out his arms like a newborn baby. “Let’s go around the table and talk about what we’re most thankful for.”
The guests all glanced at each other and nodded in agreement, relieved that the president hadn’t suggested standing on top of the table and playing charades -- or another game of Twister in the White House library -- like he usually did when Dr. Jill didn’t monitor his carbohydrate intake. “Let’s do it!” someone said gleefully.
Since there were too many people at hand to hear from everyone in sequence, Biden decided to call on those from an approved list that Psaki had handed him after he came out of the lavatory during a break.
Joe Biden was the first name at the top of the note paper. “Oh, it says here I have to go first” the president mumbled. “What am I thankful for? Uh… ooh… well… I’d say infrastructure,” the president growled in a hoarse voice which exposed his real contempt for the concept. “That bipartisan infrastructure thing is gonna save my presidency. I’m thankful for those nineteen Republican suckers in the senate and the thirteen GOP morons in the House that saved my butt from the disobedient leftist radicals in the lower chamber.
“I’m a big fan of infrastructure. You see that?” Joe pointed to the small metal rack that held up what was left of the enormous picked apart turkey carcass. “That’s infrastructure. Some Chinese company dreamed up a little wire thingy that supports something huge, like the bird we’re all ripping to shreds and consuming like lions on a zebra kill. I bet it only cost a trillion or something. We have all those racial set-asides in the bill, too. I’m really thankful for that!
“Government spending is like the stuffing in that bird. You can’t see it but you know it’s there. And tastes damn good, too.”
“Okayyyyy… who’s next. Let’s hear from Liz Warren, who’s representing Native Americans on this 400th anniversary Thanksgiving.”
Having not been properly recognized prior to this moment, the Massachusetts senator was fuming by now. “Indians are people too, Joe. I’ve been sitting here waiting to add my in-the-know ethnic two cents about Thanksgiving and how my people haven’t been properly given credit for it. Those dang Pilgrims would’ve starved but for the indigenous people they encountered. We owe them big time, don’t we? Nobody in my circle gives a rat’s patootie about infrastructure. Let’s talk reparations!”
Her mouth stuffed with pumpkin pie, rolls and cranberry sauce, Kamala Harris could only pound the table with her fists again, nodding feverishly and giving a thumbs up to Warren’s notion.
“Great thinking, Liz! Let’s get Nancy Pelosi working on it for us. To make up for four hundred years of racism and white supremacy, we’ll give checks to blacks, Mexicans, Asians, Chicanos, Cubans, Indians actually from India like Pramila Jayapal and my homey Kamala over there, Iranians and South Africans, too -- but not the white ones,” Biden added.
“Next up on the ‘permission to call’ list is m’ baby boy Hunter!”
Pulling a small notepad from his shirt pocket, Hunter impatiently flipped a few pages and finally verbalized, “Oh goody, thanks daddy-o. What am I thankful for? That’s an easy one, but it might take a while to list. I’m thankful for having lived the high life -- literally -- and for all those babes that saw me as worthwhile for a little attention because of my last name. I’m glad that teenaged girls weren’t braver about reporting stuff because I’m famous. I’m thankful for strippers who birthed me a kid and remained relatively quiet about it. I like widows, too. I’m sure as heck grateful for a media that didn’t do its job in writing about most of this sleaze. I got a pass because they were compassionate to drug addicts, correct?”
The presidential son paused to gulp down the last half of his wine glass, then continued, “I’m glad that the Chinese communists saw in me a chance to gain influence within the highest reaches of the federal government. They don’t care about money, only having a good time! Ditto the Ukrainians! Heck, I only learned a few cuss words of their impossible language but they always printed out the right letters on those checks! I’m very thankful that the FBI is staffed with a bunch of deep staters who ignore evidence right in front of their faces -- that laptop that I forgot about -- and then make up some lie like ‘Russian disinformation’ when it was turned over to Rudy Giuliani!”
Kamala Harris interrupted the otherwise low-volume soliloquy with another round of “Hoot! Hoot! Hoot!” while pounding her fists on the table again and laughing maniacally like a Batman villain of old.
Hunter patiently waited for the vice president to finish and then went on. “I’m grateful for being able to sit around all day and do paintings and crap that don’t look like anything, yet somehow are worth millions according to art dealer friends who keep asking about meeting with my dad. And lastly -- I’d better stop now, I see me papa is about to get up and wander away -- I’m thankful that I’m not in prison. I heard the food sucks there.
“Oh yeah, one more thing. I’m thankful that the Indians didn’t behave toward the Pilgrims like the Taliban treats our allies left behind in Afghanistan. Pulling out of there before we were ready… it’s like moving out of a deal before you grab all the loot.”
Grinning ear to ear, president Joe couldn’t help but feel pride at his son’s ventures and willingness to speak his mind in the presence of such accomplished liberal politicians. It takes guts to disregard what people are whispering behind your back, and Hunter’s shown a real talent for drawing quizzical looks and dumbfounded stares. ‘He’s the smartest person I know,’ Joe thought again, mumbling under his breath so no one could hear. ‘Only a genius could be so crooked and not worry about getting framed for it.’
At that, senile Joe said, “Alright, the next item on the list is… Chris Dodd.
“Huh? Nah, we don’t need to hear from him. What’s he got to say about Thanksgiving? How about my trusty veep, the table pounding, French accent perfecting, space exploring wunderkind of a great chick, Kamala Harris.”
Obviously flattered at being called at her boss’s dinner table, Harris giggled and smiled and tilted her head as though addressing her pop idol at a boy band concert.
“First off, I’d just like to say I’m thankful for anesthesia, which made me president for 85 minutes last Friday,” the insanely grinning vice president dribbled. “I got a taste of power that I never enjoyed before, not even when I was coupled with Willy Brown and Montel Williams all those years ago. There’s nothing quite like knowing you can push a button and launch all those warheads if you felt like it. I don’t even need to ask anyone, not even General Milley!”
Kamala continued, “It was great fun. It’s hard to think about anything else… Okay, I got one. I’m grateful that our party is so focused on skin color and gender because if it weren’t for me being a dark toned person identifying as female, I wouldn’t be here right now. I could’ve only gone so far with my limited intellect and public relations skills that I possess. I probably would’ve ended up working the counter at a diner for the rest of my life if it weren’t for Joe over there. And my staff hates me. I lost my communications director last week.
“But Thanksgiving is a happy time. We can return to backbiting and sniping tomorrow. For now, let’s smile a ton, laugh a lot and be grateful for fraudulent vote counts in six states a year ago!”
Biden liked the way Harris concluded her input, so he opted to ignore the rest of the folks on his list and end the dinner right then and there. “Don’t forget to pick up your souvenir infrastructure signing pen on the way out,” he recommended to the rapidly fleeing guests.
“Dang, it’s hard to hold anyone’s attention any longer.”
--Unlike last year’s COVID and bad election news dominated Thanksgiving, 2021’s holiday offers reasons to be thankful. Living in the United States is a privilege and there are still many, many, things to be grateful for. Here’s hoping you and yours enjoy the happiest of 400th anniversaries and ready yourself for more contentious days to come in Joe Biden’s America.
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