Monday, December 01, 2008

An integrated Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving myth
Last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I partook of the usual feasting and giving of thanks. The myth surrounding this day, as it was taught to us in school, was that Native Americans in the early 16th century, took pity on the strange, frail, and colorless people that were slowly starving to death on their shores, and brought them food, helping the latter to survive through the North American winter.

It's anyone's guess as to what really happened, I suppose. But, regardless of the truth behind the myth, it is the lesson that one might derive from it that is important, no? Just as, for example, the Christian creation myth should not perhaps be interpreted literally, but as moral allegory, so too for our Thanksgiving myth.

I like the idea that compassion and sympathy motivated people to overcome their natural fear of a strange and alien people; that they were moved by their better angels to offer their hands in friendship. So that is the interpretation that I choose to put on Thanksgiving. It is a day to express gratitude for the blessings with which we have been bestowed, and to remember our common humanity.

Thanksgiving reality

My Thanksgiving celebration was at the home of our dear friends, Stewart and Kadijou King. I sat at table with Christians, Muslims, Africans, Americans, blacks, whites, and "bi-racials." And it did occur to me, as I was wolfing down copious amounts of turkey, yams, cranberry relish, potatoes, and (of course) pumpkin pie, that I was a part of an event that was very much in the spirit of Thanksgiving. At least, by my lights.

1 comment:

Ridwan said...

In my many many years in the US I never quite got into the notion and history of Thanksgiving.

Still, I can relate to your story and I like very much the inclusive happiness.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank you here for your kind words at my spot.

I appreciate your consistent support and friendship. It makes me happy to know you and Maty are out there.

When I make it to PDX I will look you up for sure.

I will also continue to look in here as regular as always.

Thank you Dade for your kind words and friendship.