Wednesday, November 22, 2017


"WHERE HAVE THE PILGRIMS GONE?"  Before Thanksgiving, my wife brought up that question.

At a marvelous Thanksgiving Day meal on Thursday , 11/23/2017, we enjoyed a contemporary version of the original idea from the pilgrims. I, in the role of the most senior oldie present, began by announcing:
  • "Hey everybody. toward end the feast I'll ask each person to tell the rest of us the best thing that happened to you this year and the worst thing that happened."
I was building this sharing-time on the spirit of original Thanksgiving. I was also spring off a daily event at my daughter's table when she says,  "Okay, what is the best and the worst thing that happened to you today?" We were sharing about the previous year instead of the previous day.

So, each person, young and old, explained sort of where they were at in work, school, or life. Two big advantages to this exercise: 1, it was fun for all and 2, an easy way to catch up with each other. I think we'll do it again next year.

An idea: maybe you will experiment with the idea for Thanksgiving 2018. 

Thanks to home-made name tags, everybody found their place! Ready, set, go!

Consider another fun table thing.   Noni (my wife) asked the the two teenagers from the Portland family to make name tags for all nine of us. Results below. The artists wrote out the name and sketched something characteristic of the person. Very clever!

The name-tag for "Noni," the grandmother-gardener

For Papa, the grandfather-scholar, who's a-readin' all the time

All 9  name tags. Each tag very cleverly done.

So, a discovery: two ways to update original Thanksgiving ideas. 1, sharing about the past year and 2, name tags with art and personal symbols.

Now: back to the original question: "what about the Pilgrims themselves?? 1621 to 2071. 450 years! We will need them?   

According to Wikipedia, the original feast in 1621 lasted three days. In a way, our celebration did too: Thursday, Friday and Saturday: three days of family visiting.

Who should be present at your table?  The pilgrims invited their own families, of course, but consider this: Native Americans attended, and only 53 Pilgrims. Following the original Thanksgiving spirit, what would today's version of guests be like? Maybe inviting  immigrants to the family table. We didn't think of that for 2017, but for 2018 it sounds like bringing the original spirit forward four centuries.

John Howland was at the original feast. John had something powerful to share and be thankful for when it was his turn. In a storm at sea--a very violent storm--he'd been swept overboard. Luckily, he was rescued thanks to a rapid response by crewmen. That was a near-horrible event.

Today our Thanksgiving concerns are different than his and his fellow pilgrims. The enemies aren’t those of the cold winter, gardening in rocky ground and keeping vegetables through the winter. Not the need to tend the fire through the night. We definitely live in a changed world.

And perhaps that’s why the pilgrims have largely disappeared from our public consciousness at Thanksgiving. They've become irrelevant to our issues and needs in the connected world.

Useful Discovery: we still can copy the Pilgrims' spirit

. . .the spirit of exploration, the quest to preserve their own way of life, friendships with each other and their Narragansett Indian neighbors.

Young women and men 14-16 years,
and older readers too,
will enjoy Plymouth Poppet
by a dear friend, Margaret Tubbs Barton. Check
at your library for a loan.

Today, our needs have changed. But the willingness to adventure, the thankfulness for blessings,  their grit and adaptability—those are Pilgrim values we can adapt to our time for people everywhere, not just in the U.S. 

Thinking ahead to your Thanksgiving table, 2018, use a simple historical quiz  like this one or another you devise:

Q. Where did the Pilgrims settle when they hit American shores?
             A. Plymouth, Mass.
             Reply: Right! Here's another cranberry for you!

Q. How many Pilgrims were in that first group?
             A. About 120.       
             Reply: Right again! Ice cream for you this time!

Q. What's the name of the passenger on the Mayflower who was swept overboard in a storm? 
             A. John Howland.           
             Reply: Right! How on earth did you know that? 

Gravestone  of John Howland, pilgrim.
Public domain

Ask about the Pilgrim values. Which of their values do you share? 

So, yes, we still need the pilgrims. They are part of the reservoir of values that can make America, and the whole world, great.

Thanks for reading! Come back weekly. Next post, December 2:

What would Bible prophets advise Congress re. tax reform??

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