By John McDonnell
“I love Thanksgiving,” Edna said. “It’s important to be grateful for what we have. I mean, what would we do without game shows, talk radio, organza ball gowns and White Elephant sales?”
There was no answer to that, of course, so the rest of the people around Dolores’ dinner table went on with their Thanksgiving dinner.
“Horst says this is a stupid holiday,” Willow said, holding up her fork for emphasis. “He says the Indians were stupid to give the Pilgrims their food, because the Pilgrims were only here to take their land. It was a setup.”
Horst nodded his head while attempting to stuff a whole turkey leg in his mouth.
“I had a rooster as a pet when I was a girl,” Edna said. “Father bought it for me. I called him Herbert. Father let me keep him in my bedroom, although he caused a tremendous racket every morning with his crowing.”
Dolores was going to ask Murphy to comment on Willow’s statement but it was obvious from the way Murphy was gulping his food that he wanted to get the dinner finished so he could go watch a football game on TV.
“Larry,” she said instead, “what do you think of Thanksgiving?” Larry was in the form of a Ming Dynasty Chinese guardian lion, and he smiled toothily and said, “Actually, Thanksgiving as we know it was the invention of a 19th century writer named Sarah Hale, who did a lot of embroidery of the facts to make up the whole Pilgrims and Indians myth. We don’t know much about the first Thanksgiving.”
“Huh,” Horst said, through a mouthful of food. “Myth or no myth, the Indians got the wrong end of that deal. They should have wasted those dudes, instead of giving them corn.”
“Well, we could verify that,” Larry said. The air shimmered and all of a sudden there was a Native American chief sitting next to Larry at the table. He was naked from the waist up, and wearing a bead necklace, feathers in his hair, and white paint on his face.
He blinked, looked around at the table, and said, “I knew I shouldn’t have taken that last round of the pipe. That was a definite mistake.”
“Not to worry,” Larry said. “We’re all friends here. We just wanted your opinion of the American custom known as Thanksgiving. Is it true you started this custom when you offered the starving Pilgrims some corn and other food?”
The chief laughed. “I get it, this is a dream. Okay, I’ll play along. Thanksgiving? You mean that dinner we gave to that pitiable lot of Englishmen who tried to make it through a New England winter without basic skills in woodcraft, animal husbandry, and agriculture?”
He laughed again. “They were so inept, we felt sorry for them. I still feel sorry for them.”
“Dude, you’re so wrong,” Horst said. “Those losers took your land, slaughtered your families, and herded you all onto reservations. Seems you don’t have much to be thankful for.”
The chief smiled. “Two words -- Black Friday. Oh, and how about shopper rewards cards? Or those stacks of catalogs that come in the mail? The return line at Macy’s? December layoffs? Mince pie?”
“I think he’s made his point,” Larry said.
“But I like mince pie,” Edna said. “My mother made the most delicious mince pie. Do you know the secret is to soak it in brandy and then keep it in a tin for a year? It will make your hair curl when you eat it.”
The whole table looked at her in silence.
“I’d like to wake up now,” the chief said.
“Certainly,” Larry said. The air shimmered and the chief disappeared.
“Well, I for one am thankful for organdy,” Edna said. “Such a lovely texture it has! I’m also thankful for olives, champagne, handsome doctors, and, oh, all of you lovely people, even if I don’t know all your names. I’m glad the Indians gave the Pilgrims corn, because, my goodness, if they hadn’t -- well, I don’t know where we’d be.”
“Amen to that,” Dolores said.