Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Off Course

Yesterday I did something extremely out of character for me.  I went shopping.  As most of my regular readers know, I HATE...can't emphasize that enough...see the capital letters...HATE shopping.  That is a
The original version of "Are we there yet?"
double dose of hate when I am required to clothes shop. But, with my upcoming trip to Europe which is going to be even colder than Kansas, I am gearing myself up with some extra warm clothing.  Since I so rarely take myself into an actual brick and mortar store, it was a bit of an odd sensation being so firmly entrenched in Christmas.  Yes, the Christmas music is playing, the signs display red and green with holly and bows, and entire sections of stores are ho-ho-hoed and decked the halls with trees and such.

Thought Number One:  Aren't We Forgetting About Thanksgiving?

When you consider how precarious and fortuitous it was that the Mayflower ever actually made it over here, you would think we would be a little more gracious about honoring their efforts.  Let's just look at the historical events that didn't work out exactly as planned.  Just about every version of the Thanksgiving story neglects to tell us some of the major screw ups. 

If you go back to around 1608 a congregation of disgruntled English Protestants left Scrooby, Nottinghmshire and moved to Holland.  These people were Separatists who didn't want to be affiliated with the Church of England. This group of Separatist, called themselves the "Saints".  They did find some religious freedom in Holland but the Dutch craft guilds were making it very difficult to work except in very low paying jobs.  The group decided to move somewhere where there was more freedom from government.

So the Saints moved back to London to organize themselves for taking a trip over to the "new land".  They worked with a prominent merchant that worked out a plan for them to colonize an area in the general vicinity between Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of the Hudson River.  The King of England granted them leave of the Church of England provided they "carry themselves peaceably".

So in August of 1620 a group of Saints joined up with another group of secular colonists whom they referred to as the "Strangers" loaded up their belongings onto two ships: the Mayflower and the Speedwell. Early in the voyage the Speedwell sprung a leak and the two ships turned around and went back to England.  There they loaded the passengers off the Speedwell and onto the Mayflower with what supplies they could squeeze on.  Now the single ship had 102 people heading for Virginia and needed to have enough food, wine and beer to make it over to the new world.

Oh...you didn't know about the wine and beer.  Yes, during the time of the Mayflower people had not figured out that water filled with raw sewage was  impure and tended to make people sick.  They hadn't quite figured out about purification processes but they had figured out that fermented beverages did not make them sick.With that in mind there needed to be enough fermented beverages to drink on long voyages.

Anyway..back to the story...by the time they got out of town it was nearly winter.  Not the best time for an overcrowded ship to be sailing to Virginia but that is what they did.  After about 64 miserable days at sea, the hardy group of Saints and Strangers arrived in Cape Cod around November 9th  (by today's calculations they think it was around November 19th).

Wait??? Where is Virginia??  Seems that just as everything else was working against them, they missed their mark on where to land.  The patent they held from the Virginia Company of London authorized them to build a plantation in Virginia. Unfortunately, winter was upon them and they were running out of beer. So what is a Pilgrim to do?  They wrote the Mayflower Compact and picked out a site to establish a colony.  The sight they picked was probably in the area of Plymouth Bay where the Native American farmers had cleared the land.  Conveniently the Native Americans died thanks to the Colonist bringing with them European-borne pestilence, freeing up the land for them.

Long story short,....In their first winter in America, more than half of the Plymouth colonists died from malnutrition, disease and exposure to the harsh New England weather. In fact, without the help of the area’s native people, it is likely that none of the colonists would have survived. An English-speaking Pawtuxet named Samoset helped the colonists form an alliance with the local Wampanoags, who taught them how to hunt local animals, gather shellfish and grow corn, beans and squash. At the end of the  next summer, the Plymouth colonists celebrated their first successful harvest with a three-day festival of thanksgiving. We still commemorate this feast today.

Thought Two:  This Year Thanksgiving is Being Replaced 
While Christmas is usually taking over Thanksgiving...there's a new interloper this year.

 This year, thanks to an extremely rare convergence, Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) falls during the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights. Some are calling it “Hanu-giving.” Others prefer “Thanksgivukkah.”

From a purely numerical standpoint it’s a pretty big deal. Math geeks say the last time it happened — at least since President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday — was 1888. And by one calculation it won’t happen again for another 79,000 years.

Seventy-nine-thousand, forty-three years, to be exact. But who’s counting?

While I am not entirely certain of my facts here as I am not Jewish and can only go by what I hear and/or read, (By all means, correct me in the comments if I am misunderstanding this)  Hanukkah starts on the same day every year on the Hebrew calendar. But since the months of that calendar have only 29 or 30 days, the Jewish year falls roughly 11 days short of the 365-day Gregorian calendar. To keep everything in sync an extra “leap month” is added seven times every 19 years. That made Hanukkah unusually early this year. Combine that with an extremely late Thanksgiving, and boom! Thanksgivukkah! It falls on the second night of Hanukkah.

But seriously Thanksgivukkah poses several real-life conundrums. What kind of food do you serve? How do you decorate when the browns and reds of Thanksgiving clash with Hanukkah’s blue motif? And after using up two feasts in one night, then what are you supposed to eat?

Guess you can give tribute to the original colonists...drink the beer and wine.

Join Top Sites Tuesday and be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage
Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!
Make sure to visit all the other participants and leave comments


babs (beetle) said...

I'm kind of glad we don't celebrate Thanksgiving or the Jewish Festival of Lights. This kind of confusion I can do without :)

Chubby Chatterbox said...

A fabulous post. Historical and hysterical. Nicely done.

Jayne said...

What great story telling! And yeah, every year, Christmas extends its stretch and I hate that. Pretty soon trick-or-treaters will be dressed as Santa and the elves. I refuse to set foot in a store that has Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.

oldereyes said...

Traditional Thanksgivukkah feast (as traditional as anything that won't happen for another 79,000 years):

Turkey with matzo and Kishka* stuffing
Green bean kugel**
Mashed potato latkes***
Pumpkin Rugelach****
Mince Sufganiyot*****

* a kind of sausage
** a pudding usually made with noodles
*** pancakes
**** a kind of small pastry
***** jelly donuts

Life, Laughter and Paris said...

Going shopping sure inspires you! Great post. I'm glad someone realized drinking raw sewage wasn't the best and they switched to wine and beer. Hope you had success in buying clothes for your trip - bet you can hardly wait!

Katherine Murray said...

Thanksgiving? What is Thanksgiving? I thought that was cancelled this year, considering how everything is CHRISTMAS ALREADY!! I am already fussing about seeing trees up decorated... about someone saying happy holidays already... AHHHH! I am SO HAPPY you wrote this!!!

Cheryl P. said...

AND there is a lot of chaos that goes with most holidays. You have some we don't have though so maybe it all equals out. Thanksgiving is a pretty easy holiday....it's all about eating. No gifts, nothing really to do other than eat and watch football.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Chatterbox. I love how history is viewed in hindsight. Just think...100 years from now people will be laughing at what is happening in our time.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Latkes with cranberry sauce!

Cheryl P. said...

Here some stores like Hobby Lobby were set for Christmas in August. I figure by next year, the Christmas ornaments will shove the 4th of July fireworks off the shelves.

Cheryl P. said...

You are right about the scents of Christmas filtered into the stores. I guess that is supposed to get us in the mood to spend money. No more than I like (loathe) shopping it would take more than whiffing a pine scented candle.

Cheryl P. said...

Surprisingly, one of the articles I read said only one young man died at sea. The captain described him as "profane". Wonder if someone pushed him overboard. That had to be a disappointment...running out of beer and freezing their asses off in New England in November.

Cheryl P. said...

I love that menu conversion, Bud. I wish I knew what any of that really tasted like. I did find it interesting that Hanukkah was falling into November. I have always associated it around the middle of December. If a person was wanting to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, they had better do it now. 79,000 years seems like quite a lapse before the next one.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Susan. There are times that I think living in a different time would of been fun, right up to the time, someone talks about things like running water, indoor plumbing, refrigeration and sewers. Then I realize, I am spoiled rotten and a entirely too squeamish.
As for my shopping...I am just screwed. I wear a 4 petite and no one carries them anymore. I went several stores and found 2 pieces. One being a pair of slacks that will need altered. I hate women's clothes selection in the stores. Maybe it isn't like that in other parts of the country.

Yes, I am eager to go on my trip. My husband is in Paris this week. I doubt that I will get to your beloved city but I may. I am wanting to get to some of Germany's Christmas markets and I have a hotel booked for a few days in the Netherlands.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree that if someone wants to see any evidence of Thanksgiving's existence, they would be hard pressed to see much unless they were at the Hallmark store our the freezer case in the grocery store.

All the stores are entirely decked out with Christmas merchandise. By the time Christmas is here, usually I am pretty burned out.

Cheryl P. said...

Wouldn't potato pancakes taste good topped with just about anything? We are talking about potato pancakes. I am on a low-carb restricted diet so I would eat a potato in any form given the chance.

As I was reading some of the articles about Thanksgivakkah, there were a number of recipes that sound pretty yummy.

Wendy said...

My statutory holiday creators in Canada seemingly foresaw this pesky problem of Thanksgiving, likely by observing the issues our American neighbours had. So, to prevent interfering with an early spending prompt for Christmas- we created the celebration Thanksgiving to be held in October! Undoubtedly our celebrations have less wine, beer and historical heritage, but, gosh, we don't have any Jewish holiday conflicts either. Loved the story, and Crabby Pants oh so modestly dressed as a pilgrim.

Jo-Anne said...

I also find it annoying to see so much Christmas stuff in the stores from as early as September in some cases it is just wrong. I think it is even more wrong when the country has Thanksgiving but it is the way it is now days stores jump from one event to another in order to get the most money out of us.................

Cheryl P. said...

Oh, my dear friend, Wendy...if American's wanted to avoid the conflict of keeping Thanksgiving from being over shadowed by Christmas, we need to move it to June. The stores start setting up Christmas now in late July (although they call it Christmas in July and it's not full fledged with the trees decorated yet). Still Christmas here has become a 6 month holiday. Typically we don't have a problem with Jewish holidays co-celebrating with Thanksgiving but the merchandising folks are lapping up the opportunity to take advantage of a once in 79,000 years event. Some of the Thanksgivaukka cards are pretty cute. Too bad that if any are left over they would be useful again for 79,043 years.

That Crabby Pants is pretty agreeable with the frequent costume changes. But, of course, she doesn't really get much of a say in the matter.

Cheryl P. said...

That's a really interesting point, Jo-Anne. It used to be that Thanksgiving was a day to spend time with your family and reflect on your blessings. Now it is like the first day to get out there and fight the crowds for Christmas shopping. I am not a fan of stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. (but then I don't enjoy shopping on non-holidays either...so I might not be objective)

Riot Kitty said...

I have an ex-friend (note the ex) who commemorated every Thanksgiving with a history lesson email about how bad the white people were to the Native Americans. I'm descendant from both, and also know a bit of the history (duh!), so it was rather annoying. But not as annoying as hearing holiday music so early. They haven't started in on it yet here, but probably only because we're Portland, so we must be different and wait until, say, Tuesday.

Jayne said...

Shit like that is the real "War on Christmas." Why isn't Bill O'Reilly and his Fox pals bitching about that?

Cheryl P. said...

Now there was a friend that really knew how to really suck the joy out of a holiday. (I totally get the X part)
Yes, I think you are living on borrowed time as far as avoiding the Christmas Musak being piped in to your local stores. With only 41 days, 8 hours, 52 minutes and 8 seconds left for you to be "Christmatized" into buying all their stuff.,..those stores better get haulin' ass.

Life, Laughter and Paris said...

Christmas markets! Heaven. Your trip sounds wonderful. I know what you mean about shopping. It's impossible for me to find anything that fits too. I confess I often use safety pins to keep my pants up because I'm too lazy to have them altered.

Agent 54 said...

My head is swollen.

Nicky said...

Our Thanksgiving is in October so you can imagine how long we've been looking at red, green and gold decorations! There were a ton of stores that had Christmas stuff side by side with Halloween costumes and candy. Sigh.

lisleman said...

It's been a couple of days since I went for a blog walk. Going to Europe? Will you be blogging from the EU? Euro blogging again might be punny.
Back to the matter at hand (vs. the matter floating around in my odd brain) - holidays, shopping, and the future of America home of the brave. Oh wait you didn't really get to that last bit. Hmmm maybe you'll be able to offer some euro insight on our future based on your upcoming visit. Honestly I don't give a stuffed turkey for all the holiday hoopla. Family time is mostly great but all the prep work like trying to remember who is who can be stressful.

Cheryl P. said...

Yeah, as far as either you or I seeing the next Thanksgivaukkah, it can be off by a thousand years or so and we still won't be there. I am assuming that no one is figuring out how to make us immortal in the time we have left.
MMMM...sweet potato latkes. That sounds like something I would like to try.

Cheryl P. said...

That doesn't sound good at all. Hope the swelling goes down and you are OK.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, here as well. I was in Hobby Lobby (craft and decor store...are they in Canada??) before Halloween and they were moving the Halloweem stuff to make room for the Christmas department.
I guess as long as people buy Christmas stuff early the stores will continue to push up the date. Bah humbug.

Cheryl P. said...

I am going to Europe for a couple of weeks later in the month and haven't decided if I am going to blog while I am there or not. I might wait until I get home as I don't know if I want to take the time out of my travel days. I have made reservations in several places in Germany and the Netherlands and am toying with the idea of going to Paris.
I agree with you that holidays often turn into an additional stress. I am lucky in a way that our family is fairly small....less people to work into some type of get together. The problem is that while there aren't many of us we are fairly spread out. No matter how many can congregate we do have a big tradional meal. I don't mind the cooking at all.

Agent 54 said...

No, I can't even read your post. I'm going to bed.

Cheryl P. said...

Rest and feel better!!!

meleahrebeccah said...

Wow. YOU went shopping? In a real store? For clothes?


I always get annoyed when stores put on the Christmas Music and decorations too early. Like, we ALL KNOW WHEN CHRISTMAS IS COMING - CALM DOWN AND LET US ENJOY THE OTHER HOLIDAYS TOO!!

Also - I am TOTALLY stealing “Thanksgivukkah" this year! lolz

"But seriously Thanksgivukkah poses several real-life conundrums. What kind of food do you serve? How do you decorate when the browns and reds of Thanksgiving clash with Hanukkah’s blue motif? And after using up two feasts in one night, then what are you supposed to eat?"

HA! Well - we will be having the traditional Thanksgiving dinner - but probably with a side of potato latkes! And of course beer & wine!

Cheryl P. said...

Once in a blue-moon, I am forced to go into a store to buy new clothes. If I was a normal size or if manufacturers weren't screwing with us as to how they size and cut women's clothes, I would order things on line. I hate shopping though. After about 3 stores, I went home. I will hit about 3 more stores on another day.
The beer and wine is the most traditional part of the feast it would seem. Yay, pilgrams!!!

meleahrebeccah said...

Yeah ­ I cannot shop for clothes online either. I have to TRY ON everything.
And yay for alcohol!

L.C. Griffith said...

I left a rather lengthy, and if I must say, clever, comment up here yesterday but I guess it got lost at sea. I had to tell you that you're a genius with your invention of Thanksgivukkah, and even though I'm not Jewish I intend to celebrate it this year;)

Cheryl P. said...

Now I am disappointed that it vanished. Damn, technology when it doesn't work like it is supposed to work.

Sadly, Thanksgivukkah was coined by two people in Boston, I think. It was brilliant that they were smart enough to copyright the word. Now all those Hallmark cards and novelty items bearing Thanksgivukkah had to pay for it. Some advertisers got around it by making up their own words like Challahdays and Gobble tov. Where there's a way to make a buck, people can get pretty creative.