Thanksgiving has always been one of your more popular national holidays, probably because of all the gluttony associated with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
That’s understandable. It’s hard to beat a good meal. But Thanksgiving really has very little else going for it.
For one thing, unless you are a employee or a child, odds are you have to work the next morning. For another, the whole basis of the holiday is a bit troubling.
From what Wikipedia says — and if Wikipedia says it, you better believe it — the Pilgrims threw a Thanksgiving party in 1621 to celebrate a good harvest, and that is the event we Americans are recognizing every fourth Thursday in November. The Canadians, by the way, have their own Thanksgiving in October. God only knows what they have to be thankful about. But give credit where credit’s due, at least the Canadians were smart enough to put their fake Thanksgiving on a Monday so they can turn the holiday into a three-day weekend, just like Columbus did when he discovered America.
But back to the Pilgrims. They didn’t exactly pull off the Good Harvest of 1621 without a little assistance.
“While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish,” says Wikipedia.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to fish and pretty soon he’s got all your land and they’re shipping you off to Oklahoma, or someplace equally bad.
But it’s not as if the Wampanoag are completely blameless here. When religious fanatics show up at my door wanting money or my soul or whatever, I don’t invite them in and teach them to fish. The Wampanoag probably should have known better.
So if we’re going to celebrate anything this Thanksgiving, it’s just that. We know better. And we’re not Canadian.