November 20, 2012
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. They ate turkey and cranberry sauce straight from the can. It was the first time anyone left the cranberries on the table STILL in the shape of the can.
After dinner they settled down for a game of football between Washington and New England. It was a much different game in those days. For example, the Indians were allowed to use smoke signals from the sidelines and the Pilgrims wanted more calls reviewed “upstairs”. Also, they ran a lot of Hail Marys.
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. This made things very difficult since marching bands had to perform at multiple parades. The snare drummers got such sore shoulders that they couldn’t hold their sticks and the piccolo players tripped on them and damaged their teeth. This is the actual start of the whole “British Teeth” urban legend since most piccolo players were English.
It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. He chose November to appear neutral about months as the North owned the first five months of the year and the South owned the second five. Since December was all tied up with Christmas that left President Lincoln with only November to make the whole nation happy. It was kind of a moot point anyway since the South had no turkeys…unless you counted Jeff Davis. It was those stupid ascots! Who wore ascots?! It was 1863! Hello!
Anyway, after Lincoln moved from his Gettysburg address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue he needed something for Tad and Willie to do to keep them out of trouble, and with the creation of Thanksgiving they had loads of wood to cut. After all the White House has 46 fireplaces! Needless to say the boys built up quite an appetite so they got the biggest turkey they could find…other than Simon Cameron.
The next big change to Thanksgiving was the traditional Lions loss. For much of the 70’s and even the Pre-Sanders 80’s the Lions ruined many a Thanksgiving dinner in the region. Then along came Jim Schwartz who threatens to ruin a perfectly bad evening with a few victories here and there. (Some guys just don’t get it.) But we can all be thankful we don’t hail from Cleveland! Ugh! Those Browns.
This Thanksgiving History Lesson has been brought to you by THE Ohio State University. Go green! Go blue!
Warmest wishes to all.
The Groovy Guru