According to my pocket Mayan doomsday calendar (for today’s modern Mayan on the go), this is the month where we give thanks for all the glorious food we’re about to ingest (in the sticky airport food court or the soiled bus station vending machine) before we even arrive at our final gluttonous gastronomical destination. But do any of you gorged and clogged readers know the true story behind the first Thanksgiving gathering and that it almost didn’t happen at all? Come gather ’round your Uncle’s unsteady lap (pay careful heed not to aggravate my corns) and I’ll tell you all about the Indians, the Pilgrims and a very special ghost who brought them all together…
You see, it was nearly four hundred some odd years ago when a small upstart motorcycle gang in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall called The Pilgrims decided to make a name for themselves by invading the turf of The Kings, a rival bike gang from Crackington Haven. The Kings had cornered the market in the local corner shop, not to mention always hogging the foosball table and never allowing the Pilgrims to dance with any of the comely wenches of the surrounding villages. Myles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims pack and owner of the tallest hat, refused to be treated like a third class citizen (with a fourth grade education!) and decided to do something drastic.
“Since we can’t join them OR possibly beat them, let us go far away from this very dumb country and never return (sniff, snoff)!” said all the dejected Englishmen, nearly in unison. So they got on their motorbikes and rode across the sea to Holland, in search of some really boss clogs and legalized snuff (the heavy kind). For reasons entirely unknown, it was at this time that they started building an army of robot Quakers to do their bidding and to fight their future battles. The Pilgrims remained quite happy in Holland and found plenty of low-milage girlfriends in Amsterdam, but this carefree opulent lifestyle soon lead to poverty and strife. When their children began to grow up, they were not like English children at all, but spoke Double Dutch and a few had hidden super powers (such as leaping tall windmills in a single bound and the uncanny ability to psychically will others to fall off one’s bicycle). Still the ungrateful Pilgrims grew restless and longed for a home they could eventually call their own.
“This stinks!” cried the Pilgrim fathers and their old ladies. And after much whining, bellyaching and gnashing of the teeth, they made up their minds to invade America, much like the Rutles had done several years earlier. So with the highly charismatic and handsome mechanic Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli and the exceptionally unstable chief engineer “Howling Mad” Murdock at the helm, the Pilgrims converted all their old motorcycles and robot slaves into three giant battleships; the Nina, the Pinata and the Mayflower Madam. Mercilessly attacked by rival players with vicious cries of “G-4” and “H-10,” their first two battleships sank almost immediately! The survivors were then rescued by the Mayflower Madam and a passing tugboat named Tuggy (which later also sank). Crowded like rats on a corncob in July, the remaining Pilgrims set sail once again across the great ocean.
There were exactly one hundred people on board (give or take a few dozen) – mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and a mysterious stowaway named Carlisle. The journey was cold, damp and uncomfortable; the sea was rough and pitched the Mayflower Madam about like a cheap date, and they were two months sailing. The children cried constantly, causing some of the elder Pilgrims to become quite cranky and they too began to cry. Soon everyone was crying except for Carlisle, the lovable ghost. He would perform funny, acrobatic tricks to appease the children and would harpoon mermaids to the delight of the elderly. Everyone on the Mayflower Madam grew to love Carlisle’s amusing antics, all except for Captain Myles Standish who never much cared for dead children.
At last the Mayflower Madam came in sight of land; but it was not the Disneyland or even Knott’s Berry Farmland (as it was known back then) that the Pilgrim children had been promised. The young ones quickly grew cross and stamped their feet until the main deck gave way, crushing to death many of the older sleeping Pilgrims in the hold. This is why we continue to honor those brave and lazy souls each and every year with canned cranberry sauce as a symbolic gesture of guts and good taste.
Growing tired of their female companions, some of the rowdier Pilgrim thugs, along with the boisterous Captain Myles Standish at their head, went on shore to see if they could track down any young and willing white women to party with. Unfortunately for them, the island appeared to be heavily populated with wild Indians running around like a bunch of wild Indians and they quickly decided to head back to the ship before any of them got scalped. “Man! What’re THEY doin’ here?!? I thought you booked our campground in advance, man!” whined Myles. “How’re we supposed to score with the chicks, with such crazy lookin’ natives crashin’ our scene? I swear one of ’em swung an axe at Dennis!”
The Pilgrims were right to be scared. The Indians dressed in deerskins (others, Danskin) and some of them had the furry coat of a wild cat or a domestic terrier hanging on their arms. Their long black hair fell loose on their broad bronze shoulders and it was trimmed with feathers and roach clips. They had their faces painted in all kinds of strange and frightening ways; some with colorful stripes as broad as an infant’s fist, and others were painted to resemble fearsome demons and comic book villains. But whatever they wore, it was their very best and they never paid more than wholesale.
“Keep cool, daddy,” cooed Plymouth “Knute” Rocky, the most “with it” of all the Pilgrims by a new country mile. “Did you get a load of all that wild war paint and their outta sight threads, man?” As he removed a colorful beaded necklace from around his neck, Rocky said “I’ve got JUST the thing to turn those savages into kittens, baby.” Plymouth Rocky then began to fill the rest of the plotting Pilgrims in on his scheme of how he planned to dupe the Indians out of their land and everything along with it.
Myles Standish, Plymouth Rocky and the rest of the Pilgrims (or shills) decided to once again depart the Mayflower Madam and greet their new hosts (or marks), but this time they had a plan. They carefully explained to the Indians that they were “just passing by” and were in need of a few provisions for their annual spring break trip to Cancun. Puzzled, the Indians informed the Pilgrims that it was the dead of winter and that MTV was not yet part of their basic cable package. “Well then,” the brutish Myles Standish blurted, “why don’t we just set up camp here in the meantime? No use in letting a perfectly good beach go to waste! Say Chief, be a sweetheart and fetch me some hot-buttered maize and a barbequed leg of bison. I’m famished! Oh, and don’t be stingy with the rotgut, neither. We know how you people love your firewater!”
Stunned by his guests rude behavior, Chief Massasoit decided to cautiously comply since the white man’s bad reputation and bad breath proceeded him. He had to be careful, as he’d heard tales of their robotic Quakers and knew they carried a ghost in their handbag (but would they use it?). So before serving the Captain and his men, the clever Indian Chief instructed Squanto to secretly spit in the Pilgrim’s food and drop Mickey’s into their grog. Here we can thank our Indian brothers for yet another long-observed holiday tradition; which is to feel both sick and sleepy after a colossal Thanksgiving feast.
At first, just a few Pilgrims reported feelings of mild discomfort and nausea, but soon the entire gang was laid out in bed, vomiting themselves both inside and out. The incapacitated Myles Standish and the other incapable and useless Pilgrims tried in vain to nurse themselves back to health, but before spring finally arrived, half the Pilgrims had died and had gone at last to “the great big rumble in the sky.” The remaining survivors passed the time with anatomically correct sock puppets and rude Italian hand gestures.
But by and by the sun shone more brightly, the snow and puke melted, the leaves began to grow and spring break was just a fat, drunken frat boy away.
Feeling bad about poisoning the Pilgrims, the Chief instructed Squanto to show the white man how to plant corn, grow wheat and barley and where the hot slot machines were located in their brand new 26 acre casino and luxury spa resort. You see, while Myles Standish and his men were in sick bay for months, the cunning Plymouth Rocky was going into business with the natives. At first they simply traded beads and blankets for food and medicine, but soon Rocky and Chief Massasoit opened up a string of very successful trading posts (and massage parlors), which stretched from sea to shining sea and every rest stop along the Lewis and Clark trail. Chief Massasoit rewarded Rocky’s friendship by offering up the hand of his beautiful daughter, Princess LaQuonda Shauntae (Rocky had to Indian leg wrestle an alligator to get the rest of her).
When the summer came and days were long and bright, the Pilgrim children were happy and they enjoyed playing with their new Indian friends. The Indians would entertain them for hours with tales about the various gods of the sky, sea and forest and how the Earth was created; and the Pilgrim children would laugh, knowing full well that because of their pagan beliefs, they were all going to Hell. When it was autumn, the fathers gathered barley and wheat and the tobacco they had planted, and found that it had grown so well that they would have more than enough Camel Bucks to finally purchase that excellent bomber jacket that they had long wished for.
“Let us thank God for it all” they said with a sarcastic snicker, for they knew that God was more of a Kings fan. Still, they were appreciative and didn’t know what else to say, for they were simple people. So they thanked God in their mobile homes and in their little church; the fathers and the mothers and the children (all except for Carlisle) thanked Him. “Then,” said the Pilgrim mothers (for the men didn’t possess much of a vocabulary), “let us have a grand Thanksgiving party, and invite those lousy Indians and get back at them for the Great Emetic Banquet of 1620!” The men were all in agreement, primarily because they rarely listened to or understood what their women said. Carlisle himself seemed the most pleased, because Indian law did now allow for the spirits of recently deceased English children to fraternize with anyone on sacred Indian land. Say what you will about Carlisle, but a bigot he was not!
So they had their first Thanksgiving party and what a splendiferous shindig it was! Four drunken men went out shooting one whole day and brought back so many dead bodies that it took the rest of the Pilgrims almost a week to bury the evidence. Seeing their incompetence (and fearing for their safety), several Wampanoag scouts hopped in a Jeep Cherokee and headed to the local Piggly Wiggly in search of food. This being Thanksgiving, all they could find were a few cans of pumpkin filling, an expired jar of pickled beets, several semi-frozen pot pies (of various brands and flavors), a half-smashed Big Grab bag of Funyuns, a case of diet fudge soda, a couple of teriyaki Slim Jims and a handful of scratch off lottery tickets, all featuring a festive turkey design.
When the scouts finally returned to camp, they showed their heavenly bounty to wise Chief Massasoit, who immediately suggested an emergency pow wow regarding the paltry party fixin’s. The Chief calculated over ninety guests at the soiree, naturally not counting Carlisle. “Oh mighty Kwatee, I pray to you for guidance! Please show us the way to provide adequate sustenance for our honored guests and family members on this most auspicious day!” Just then, the young and lovable ghost of dead baby Carlisle appeared high above the Chief’s two-story teepee, with a pizza under each arm and a coconut pecan bundt cake on his head.
“Come! Do not be afraid,” beckoned Carlisle. “For I do not want to send anyone away hungry.”
“But where could we get enough food to feed such a ravenous crowd and at this time of year? Everything’s closed!” cried the overwrought Chief.
“Quickly. Show me what you have, my good-natured Indian friends. I’m a real wiz when it comes to spreading things thin. After all, I’m practically transparent myself!”
At this, they all had a hearty laugh at the dead child’s expense, which eased the mood considerably. Carlisle then took the Indian’s groceries, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the Indians and they in turn distributed them amongst the drunk and disorderly Pilgrims. They all ate and were satisfied. There was enough food and festivities to last for three whole days; during which they sang and dance, ran races, played all kinds of games of skill, several fights broke out, 11 arrests were made and a baby otter was born.
The Pilgrim mothers and fathers had been sick and sad many times since they landed on this God-forsaken rock; filled with disease, famine and an extremely unreliable internet connection. They had worked very hard at appearing to work very hard, and they were often mournful indeed when their friends died or borrowed power tools without any intention of ever returning them. But now they tried to forget all this, and think only of how good it was that they wouldn’t be alive to see such cinematic abominations such as “Battlefield Earth” or “Lawrence of Arabia.” And for once, they were all happy together at the first Thanksgiving party.
All this happened nearly four hundred years ago and ever since that time, Thanksgiving has been an air traffic controller’s nightmare in our country. Every year our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have “rejoiced together” much like the Pilgrims; drinking beer and watching the big game while their old ladies do all the work.
Every year some father has told the story of the brave Pilgrims to his little sons and daughters, and every year he’s gotten it dreadfully wrong. The true story of the first Thanksgiving has been all but lost over the years, along with the spirit of Carlisle and the significance of his miraculous multiplying meal. Let this tale of absolute selflessness, bona fide brotherly bonding and a complete and utter disregard for the facts be the beacon to light your flimsy holiday centerpiece this year. Never forget what great difficulties the Pilgrims went through in order to celebrate the first Thanksgiving and how hard those poor Indians had to work to provide it for them. And last of all, please remember Carlisle. For if it wasn’t for his benevolent sacrifice, none of us would even be here today. Amen.
S.britt’s Jukebox: Euros Childs Son of Euro Child, Rupert Hine Unfinished Picture, The Nice The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, Van Der Graaf Generator H to He Who Am the Only One, Blood, Sweat & Tears Child is Father to the Man. The perfect playlist for this or any Thanksgiving gathering is anything that makes your guests leave before they’ve even taken off their coats.
Recommended Viewing: Rome and John Adams. I think it goes without saying that I don’t know a lick about making good art, but I DO know good art when see someone else making it! Both of these series will make you glad you live in the present and don’t have to deal with getting stabbed or taxation without representation on a daily basis. And besides, they all dress kinda funny too (tee hee!). Do yourselves a favor and rent or purchase these fantastic dramas today, but don’t tell ’em I sent ya! Blockbuster’s hired goons have been on my trail ever since I failed to return Howard the Duck 8 years ago!