Bob Mitchell: A pilgrim spoof

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What would have happened in the New World, and subsequently Thanksgiving, if the Native Americans that the newcomers found on our shores, had not been friendly?

Under the circumstances and hardships, those seeking a new life free of oppression would have been in more trouble than they encountered that first winter.

Their menu would have been short of the items the Indians provided, in what actually was the first potluck supper that many of us have become familiar with over the years. A lot of those church basement gatherings that were so enjoyable as a youngsters might never have been known to past generations of Americans.

Fertilizing crops could have been never known to the "white eyes" had the natives on shore not been willing to share the knowledge of putting a fish in each hill of corn or whatever planted as was the practice of the Indians.

The game those invited to the first Thanksgiving brought with them had most likely not of been on the table in bountiful amounts had the Indians not thought to provide it. It's doubtful the pilgrims had honed many skills in the woods during the short time since they came ashore.

Entertainment for the occasion could have been short if it were not for the Indians providing some of their ceremonies and dances that day in 1621.

There have been other days to observe Thanksgiving over the years, sometimes changed to satisfy a political purpose or to provide another holiday on the whim of a union or other organizations.

Tribes moved

Eventually the "white eyes" became the dominant race on the east coast and started to move the Native Americans off the lands they had enjoyed for generations of their existence. In so doing, the white man thought he was getting the best deal of the lands he acquired in the actions, but little did he know what was coming in the modern world.

First, there were the oil lands that resulted in further moves of the tribes. Some of the reservations that remained in the hand of Indians left them in much better situations than they were supposed to receive.

Then there came the time that those lands retained by the Indians were prime locations of smoke shops and casinos that the red man had learned was a good way to put the "white eyes" with their hands in their wallets to some compensation for what had been taken from the Tribes over decades and generations.

Working well

While probably not providing the latitude of income enjoyed by the oil-rich companies of today, Indian casino operations on their lands and nations are about as untouchable as anything can be in these days. They seem to be learning the lesson well, looking at some of their facilities and operations.

Quite surely, their standing compared to an existence 393 years ago would be considered quite an achievement under any measuring device.

Several years ago, while traveling through western states, our first visit to Wall, S.D., and the well-advertised Wall Drug, where there were picture displays of the military back in western states, and their handling of the Native Americans, that provoked an opinion of the time, which had really come, and the days have dawned that the current status of those who assisted in a friendly nature at the very first Thanksgiving was well deserved.

Today's challenge

Being thankful this Thanksgiving can mean different things to different folks.

Here are a few things to think about:

* The opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family in a country where freedom makes us the most privileged nation in the world, even when we might not be going through the best of times.

* That genius who was the first to look at a pumpkin and wonder what kind of a pie it might make.

* The impatience that might seem to exist with a child, or an adult for that matter, while the Thanksgiving blessing is being offered at the dinner table.

* Then there are the opportunities to sneak a bite or two during the preparation part of the dinner during Thanksgiving morning. A word of warning -- don't try to overdue this process.

* There is always the hope that a loved one or family long absent from this special day will make the next one in line.

* Last, but definitely not least, with each of us to add our own favorite thanks and a prayer for those hungry in the world to be fed, and for troubled times between nations to be resolved.

As always, from the Mitchell families in Florida, Washington, D. C., Kansas, Colorado and Missouri, it is our hope this Thanksgiving 2014 will be the very best ever in each and every home reached by this edition of the Cassville Democrat.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.