Thanksgiving—The True Story

Who would have ever thought that when the President of the United States decided to pardon a Big Bird from becoming a dinner on a platter, that we’d get the greatest holiday of all? And isn’t it amazing that that Big Bird would grow up and go on to become the star of Sesame Street on (PBS), the Public Broadcasting Service.

Thanksgiving indeed, especially for Big Bird!

It takes me back to when I was a boy. Let’s face it, coming from a family of twelve, and being told that the President of the United States was going to let a Big Bird go free at Thanksgiving time, would probably give any family that size cause for concern.

So thank god I didn’t come from a family of twelve!

Anyway, where else but in school can someone learn the true story behind the holidays? Certainly not on the E network, like “The E True Hollywood Story of Thanksgiving.” I think you’ll agree, learning about the holidays in school—and here—is likely to be a lot more fun.

I remember the first time I learned about Thanksgiving. There we were, me and my kindergarten classmates, being given a big sheet of paper to draw on. Our teacher was going to show us all, how our hands were really turkeys in disguise?

All we had to do was trace around our fingers—those were the feathers—and then around our thumb which would later become the head.

And viola…instant turkey!

I’ll never forget when we were given the paints for painting the turkey. Oh boy, no crayons! Not only did we paint the turkey, we proceeded to paint all our desk and tables too. Then we got down to sprinkling glitter on practically everything, but mostly the carpets.

That’s because glitter always makes every classroom look so magical. Ah…and I can still smell the glue.

Anyway, after that little malay we were told to eat our graham crackers and drink our warm milk—which had been sitting on the radiator for hours. Then our teacher instructed us to lay down for our nap.

I suspect she felt this would prevent her from pulling her hair out. After all, she did have a class of 20 five year old’s. So we had to whisper, and that’s when we all learned about the true story of Thanksgiving.

My friend, Billy, told us Thanksgiving really took off as a holiday when a family, known as the Pilgrim’s, moved over here from England by way of a Mayflower Moving Van—he said that they even got to buy a new Plymouth to drive. And they paid for it with beads! I wonder if that still works today?

Smith Miller, Toy Truck, Mayflower Moving Van

Smith Miller, Toy Truck, Mayflower Moving Van

He then went on to tell us how his grandfather used to have a Plymouth, and therefore must have been a member of the Pilgrim family too. His grandfather had mentioned once, something about how his Plymouth was a brand from the Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth dealers from way back when.

Now, we were all a little skeptical that Billy’s grandfather could have ever been an original member of the Pilgrim family, since Billy’s last name wasn’t even Pilgrim. His true last name was Jones. Plus, we’d all seen Billy’s grandfather many times before, and not once had he ever worn all black clothes, even his hat and shoes were devoid of buckles.

But, when my friend, Sally, told us how she’d heard somewhere that the Pilgrim family was actually greeted by a tribe of Indian Givers when they arrived here in America, and that these Indian Givers were known to give turkeys out to every person who would buy a car from them, we figured Billy had to be telling us the truth.

Hey, everyone knows that only car dealers do stuff like that!

So, if any of what I have just told you about the origins of, Thanksgiving in America, is not true…may WordPress not let me write another word on this particular post!







58 comments on “Thanksgiving—The True Story

  1. haha! You’re insane, but in a good way. I’m thankful for you on this almost Thanksgiving day. I will celebrate you in the same way the Indians celebrated being kicked out of their land, I’ma eat some whipped cream with a tiny piece of pumpkin pie hidden under it.

  2. I haven’t traced a turkey with my hand in…awhile. I forgot I even took part in such activities as a youngster. I wish I still had my Gobbler hands to frame as they probably were the closest I ever became to becoming an artist. I do recall after one Thanksgiving we youngsters were charged with making a gift for our family so I asked for and was given a glass jar, pasta macaronis, some glue and a bunch of gold paint. A jack-of-all-trades pencil, pen and whatever else holder was created and presented to mom. That was fifty years ago. My mother still had it on her desk when she passed away a year ago. The point is your post reminded me of arts and crafts as a kid…and how parents sometimes treasure those gifts the most.

  3. I read the title of this post, saw your name and started laughing. That must be some sort of Thanksgiving record. Oh yeah, I also rolled my eyes, but you probably knew that already..:) Happy Thanksgiving, Paul.😊

  4. Oh Paul – only you could take Thanksgiving in this many crazy directions! LOVE IT! Did you fail nap time in Kindergaten like me? Too busy chit-chatting with everyone instead of “sleeping!” SHEESH! Really!!!??? Happy Thanksgiving buddy!

  5. Finally, the real story has been revealed! I always suspected that there was more to Thanksgiving thanthey ever told us. I tip my pilgrim hat at you for having the courage to set the record straight.

    • It wasn’t easy as you know. But, we bird brains have an obligation to tell the true Canadian story of American history, as relayed to us by our native South American friends from Japan. How else could Spain write about it in our French textbooks? 😀

  6. How happy I am with this post…as a Dutch immigrant I have so much to learn: now I know the true origin of Thanksgiving and my family back home, who I informed right away listened with open mouth, totally fascinated by those Awesome Americans. And I never knew Big Bird was a turkey either!! Please, keep on writing about all these insights on American Culture so I can behave like a Proper American. I cannot wait to show of my knowledge at the TG dinner with our American friends tomorrow!!! Hugs from Ohio, and Happy Thanksgiving, Johanna

  7. It’s good to found out more about the history of Thanksgiving. I’ve read alternative explanations elsewhere (e.g. Wikipedia), but everything you’ve said has the authentic ring of truth.

    I have to add by the way, that your teacher was right. The colored-in outline of a hand does look exactly like its mother was a turkey. (Its father was a flashy-dressing porcupine).

    Incidentally, we appear to be from surprisingly similar family backgrounds given the amazing coincidence that I also did not come from a family of twelve. What are the chances of that?

  8. Love the post, love the comments here – equally insane and enjoyable. Thx guys! No Thanksgiving celebration here in NL but we r heading towards ‘Sinterklaas’, two family birthdays (mine and my daughter’s = birth week in our book) plus of course, the crowning glory of (whoop whoop) Christmas! Happy days!

    • Sounds like you girls are going to be up to you ears in celebrations this coming month.And when it comes to my followers (poor misguided souls), I’m so fortunate to have a great group. They happen to have a gifted sense of humor that exceeds my own—which isn’t hard.But they do make me look good, don’t they? 😀

    • Oh you know it. And I have it on good authority (TMZ) that the government has been sitting on hidden documents— not to be released until the next boatload of Pilgrims arrive—that there is more truth in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” than we’d care to think about! 😀

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