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Thanksgiving Ponderings

Marion Charatan

Posted on October 14, 2021 13:00

1 user

The Thanksgiving festivities are coming up again next month. Will your holiday be in-person or virtual this year?

Thanksgiving will be here soon. The family-oriented celebration goes back a long way. It is associated with large familial and friends' gatherings plus plenty of homecooked food- most notably, a big savory stuffed turkey. I got into the mood to research the origin of Thanksgiving. Was it the same as the version I learned in school as a young immigrant from the UK?

I remember learning that the Pilgrims, who settled at Plymouth, MA, got together with the Wampanoag tribe in 1621 for a feast that stretched over 3 days. My first grade class in NYC was taught that the British showed native tribes how to grow crops to try to be friendly with them. During the Thanksgiving meal, the English dined at tables but the native Americans sat on the ground to eat. Even if that was the Indians' custom, it seemed uncivilized to me that the Brits didn't invite them to their table.

Relationships took a turn for the worse when the original Native peace broker Massasoit died in 1661. After his son stepped into the leadership role, he also passed on within a year--and the death was suspicious. After that, tensions exploded between the groups and it was estimated that 600 Indians were massacred in the Great Swamp Fight. 

As a result of this ill-fated history, since 1970, Native Americans have met at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth for a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving Day.

So, the sanitized version of what I learned in elementary school was not accurate. I believe kids should always be taught the facts of history. If they are not, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, to paraphrase philosopher George Santanaya.

In an ideal world, we should use Thanksgiving as a teaching tool to honor everyone, whatever their heritage is, and reinforce the conviction that violence should never be a way to solve problems. Thanksgiving, in spirit, is meant to celebrate the gift of our family and friends and even people we don't know. And that is undeniably a good thing.

2021 has been another divisive and challenging year, like 2020. The upcoming Thanksgiving is already inspiring discussions about what is safe for us to do. Even health experts have conflicting views -- because the Delta variant has caused increases in Covid cases. From the reading I've done, what I glean is that if you're with a small familiar group, like your family or friends indoors, it is all right to eat inside, provided you are all vaccinated. However, some health pros advise arranging events outdoors. It's a conundrum. Even Dr. Fauci isn't sure, as many kids are unvaccinated.

If you're going out of town, now is the time to book your flight. An alternative, if affordable, is to secure a rental.

Whatever you decide, in the words of Ernest Hemingway "Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is."

Marion Charatan

Posted on October 14, 2021 13:00

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Source: TechCrunch

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