On this Thanksgiving Day 2007, it is natural to think back to Thanksgiving Days past and reminisce over fond memories. In the Dunnevant Family, we have seen our table grow over the years. When we think of the sheer volume of food consumed around this table since 1950, it is staggering. The scores of turkeys, pigs and chickens who have given the ultimate sacrifice to feed this family gives one pause. Nevertheless, it is a special day in the history of our family. However, it can also be somewhat . . . chaotic. I wonder . . .
I wonder what it would have been like if the Dunnevant Family had been in charge back on that first Thanksgiving Day in Jamestown . . . hmmm . . .
Mom: Emmett!! I beseech thee . . . come hither with that turkey! It is nigh the seventh hour and that bird hath not yet been cleaned? HALF THE DAY hath perished!!
Dad: Calmeth thy spirit, Betty. The sun hath been up a mere two hours. Wherefore doth thou reason that half the day hath perished?
Mom: There thou goest making mirth at my expense! Thou shalt singeth a different tune when this house shall be filled with savages demanding to be fed!
Dad: Be still, my wife. This meal shall come together in the course of time like all others before it.
Mom: I know of no divine incantation that can speaketh this meal onto the table! Bring hither our children to help. I cannot doeth it all!
Dad: I shall fetch them from their idleness.
Mom: Make haste and get thee to preparing the maize pudding and berry casserole.
Linda: Why doth thou always employ me as thy slave while Douglas is allowed to scurry about this house with his exceedingly ill temper, vowing to SMITE US ALL IN THE MOUTH?
Mom: Leaveth Douglas alone! He is but an innocent child. Cease with thy vexing, and get thee busy with the maize pudding.
Linda: Why must we have maize pudding? Is it not enough that we have maize cereal for breakfast, maize cakes for lunch . . .?
Mom: Complaineth thou about the abundant maize crop these past many years? I should think that a thankful heart is in order.
Linda: You are right, Mother. Still, I grow weary of so repetitive a diet. Might’nt we barter a sack of maize for one of Sir Ukrop’s sheet cakes?
Donnie: What is that heavenly aroma wafting through the air?
Linda: Predictable! Only the smell of food can implore you to drop your fife and fiddle and desist with your annoying music-making!
Mom: Linda! Retire thy caustic tongue and apologize to your brother! His music-making bringeth joy to this house and, with increasing frequency, causeth my heart to flutter within me!
Dad: I have received disturbing news, dear family. I must leave at once to visit the home of William McClandish. He is sorely vexed with his wife and contemplates putting her away privately. As God’s servant in this colony, I must provide counsel.
Paula: William McClandish is vexed with his wife??? That is indeed rich! That brute beast of a man is lucky to even have a wife. I find him offensive in every way and entirely lacking in any social grace. And now this vile creature hath caused, once again, our Father to be torn from hearth and home in the most untimely manner.
Dad: Let not this trouble your heart, Paula. I shall return in time for the meal.
Donnie: Father, Paula speaketh the truth. How long hath thou been the parson of this contemptible village? Verily, I say that it is 1621 and past time for thou to be given an assistant parson.
Mom: Well, I’ll be-eth John Brown! An assistant parson? Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills . . . Perhaps such a thing is possible?
[knock on the door]
Mom: Getteth the door, Donnie. Who could be troubling us at this hour? Might it be someone in need of a few coins from my Giveth-Away Fund?
Donnie: Mother, it is Squanto!
Mom: Squanto! Blesseth your heart, noble savage. I am so grateful for all of your help this past year with the maize crop.
Linda: Indeed! The bountiful maize crop warmeth my heart!
Squanto: Mrs. D is fine woman, and Squanto lucky to be invited to big dinner when sun is tall in sky.
Mom: Mentioneth it not! What bringest thou here 5 hours early, pray tell?
Squanto: Hereth is the thing . . . I knoweth that Mrs. D invite Squanto to big meal, but Squanto hath many guests and relatives from many tribes beyond the great River James who hath descended on Squanto’s teepee unannounced. Squanto wonders if Mrs. D hath room for a few more?
Mom: Mrs. D is forever in your debt. All of Squanto’s guests are always welcomed at our table. The Lord shall provide out of his bounty. Me-thinks this should be a tradition that we honor every year.
Linda: Shall I now be cursed with an annual Maize Day? Perish the contemptible thought!
Mom: No! It shall be a day to give thanks for the manifold blessings of life. A day to bow before God in humility around the table of plenty.
Donnie: It has come to me! It shall be called “Thanksgiving Day.” I shall compose a song post-haste . . . [singing] “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing . . . “ A fine start! Linda, fetch me my fiddle and quill and some parchment!
Paula: THIS shall NEVER catch on. It needs . . . GIFTS!