Little-Known Thanksgiving History 

By Mark D. Crantz, Special to the Independent

Another perfect day in Paradise, but then there’s Thanksgiving. This year I’m celebrating Thanksgiving Up! Anybody who has read “Pet Peeves” cannot be surprised that I’m a turkey in general and specifically inept at feelings, as well as, family get-togethers.  Not that I haven’t tried in the past. This year, however, I’m looking forward to celebrating my first Thanksgiving Up. Imagine a holiday with no relatives. I’ve written to the White House and asked to be the turkey selected for pardon.

Actually, I get along with most of my relatives. It is just one or two that make family events impossible. Don’t bother tweeting or emailing me, I know you have these troublemakers, too. How do I know? Because many of us can trace our roots back to merry old England. The history books assert that the pilgrims fled England because of religious persecution. That fact is inconsistent and contrary to the fine print findings in the Mayflower Compact of 1620. I found the compact at the bottom of my wife’s purse while looking for a breath mint. Okay, okay. I took some money, but that’s beside the point that my wife has been carrying around a 392 year-old document of immeasurable value. And just what is the correct amount of time before you clean out a purse? Never mind.

In the fine print of the Mayflower Compact, I learned that the Queen Mum and the House of Common Whigs & Hats conspired to send all prisoners to Australia (a well-known fact) and all bad relatives (a unknown fact) to America.  So right from the get go, there was no way that holidays would be smooth sailing. In fact, the first relatives sailed right into Plymouth Rock. In keeping to bad relative behavior, the pilgrims blamed the celestial stars and Indians for putting the rock in the way and damaging their ships. For said damage, the Indians would remunerate the bad relatives with Manhattan and provide the pilgrims with an annual feast, henceforth known as Thanksgiving, The first bad relative pilgrim was a guy named Miles Standish. Standing 4 feet and 10 inches tall, Miles had trouble measuring up and would consequently be placed at the kids’ table by their Indian hosts. This infuriated Miles and secretly delighted the Indians, who called him behind his vertically challenged back ‘Can’t Standish’.  Miles, who yearned to sit at the big people’s table, retaliated by wearing huge buckles on his shoes, hats, shirts, and trousers to draw attention. Unfortunately he clanked so loudly that the hosts had ample time to avoid him by moving away as quietly as an Indian, a quality that came as naturally to them as Miles’ bad-relative behavior came to him. For 20 years Miles clanged his hopes to sit at the big peoples’ table.

Badseed.com, a totally made-up and less popular website than Ancestery.com, shows that Miles descendants are still up to the same behavior. Snooki, the Kardashians, and Lindsay Lohan may be some well-known behaviorally challenged relatives.  But every family has them. Take a suggestion from me. Call for pizza with turkey and cranberry toppings.  No delivery. Be sure to pick up.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving to all (good & naughty alike). Let’s count our blessings and try to get along.  Pass me a slice.

Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased border collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.




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