I’m grateful for the first Thanksgiving. The harvest feast prepared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621 is a testimony to our ability to set aside differences. Surviving documents that reference the meal speak of wildfowl, corn for bread or porridge, venison, wild turkeys, eels, lobster and other dried or smoked fish. And vegetables! Turnips, carrots, onions, squash, and pumpkins for any early vegetarians. Working together, they plucked chestnuts, walnuts, and beechnuts from the forest.
I’m convinced the key to the holiday’s longevity is gratitude. It shines through our hearts in a moment of unity. We sit down and enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Grandma’s green bean recipe, Mom’s candied sweet potatoes, and Aunt Nancy’s gravy from a can that fools us all with its deliciousness. Whatever traditions, including small deceptions, stories, and family photo albums that appear on this unique celebration call us together. Not every day, not every hour but for a while, we dwell in love, harmony, and safety.
We’re all pilgrims, really, searching for a sacred place of joy, on a metaphorical journey of moral and spiritual significance. We don’t always exemplify the miracle of fellowship found at the First Thanksgiving, but neither have we forgotten it.