We argued about Squanto for a while, some of us positing that he had been integral to the first Thanksgiving, others that he wasn’t a real figure to begin with, sounding too much like a bad and somewhat culturally insensitive joke. Squanto, however, as the internet verified a few glasses of wine later, was real. He had been kidnapped as a child and taken to England and taught English. After a journey of intrigue and backstabbing, he traveled back to his native America on John Smith’s ship to discover that most of the new England tribes had been wiped out. It’s a heartwarming story, but not part of the Thanksgiving myth. The debate continued.
There were thirteen countries, twelve of which don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, represented at Thanksgiving this year, so there wasn’t much corroborating the North Americans could do on each other’s version of history. It seems we each had slightly varying versions of the First Thanksgiving. We considered performing dramatic retellings to the assembled guests and letting them vote for the most entertaining, and hence, definitive story. That seems to be how history works, anyway.
In the end, we opted for eating, letting the feasting speak for itself.
Regardless of Thanksgiving’s actual origin, the holiday is a celebration of thankfulness. What a novel concept – to give everything you can without expecting anything in return, and the return being twofold more than you could have expected.
We are so rarely thankful, even though we have so much to be thankful for.
This year, I am thankful for a new apartment, for having friends to break it in, for the funds to feast, and for people who’ll spend the day standing in the kitchen with me, lured by nothing more than the promise of my good company and mimosas.
I’ve found that the most important part of putting together any party is support. Friends who will chop up cranberries or put together a playlist – and who will keep you company when the prep work never seems to end.
They’ll help you lay a picnic blanket on the floor of your furniture-less living room, they’ll help you remember to take the stuffing out of the oven, and they’ll help you to carve the turkey. And when your guests start arriving, they’ll make sure you’re already in high party spirits. And they will always, always agree with your version of the Thanksgiving story.