Varieties of Thanksgiving Day
But [Robyn] Gioia, 53, has written a children's book, and just the title is enough to peeve any Pilgrim: America's REAL First Thanksgiving.
"It was the publisher who put real in capital letters," she says, "but I think it's great."
What does REAL mean? Well, she's not talking turkey and cranberry sauce. She's talking a Spanish explorer who landed here on Sept. 8, 1565, and celebrated a feast of thanksgiving with Timucua Indians. They dined on bean soup.
Couple of problems with that. While the Pilgrims occupy much more mythic space than their numbers justify (do you ever hear about the parallel Anglican colonies and their celebrations?,), the Spanish soldiers and missionaries in Florida occupy none, outside of Florida, where I suppose that they inspire the names of subdivisions. They came, they massacred some French Protestants, and eventually they gave up the territory.
We read about Ms. Gioia's efforts on the train coming home. On T'giving morning, M. called me to breakfast.
"Is it a Calvinist breakfast or a Papist breakfast?"
"Oatmeal and burned biscuits -- what do you think?" she replied.
"Only the Elect will be saved," I said.
And then we had bean soup at supper. As for the people who think that Thanksgiving should be a "day of atonement" or "day of mourning," let them eat cold tofu in the dark. I see too many people trying to make it back to the family home on this one day--a day that is more about social bonds than about history or religion. I, for one, cannot condemn them.
Labels: American religion