A Happy Real American Thanksgiving
Forget the crack-brained and ne'er-do-well Pilgrims and Puritans, who, because they could not get along with anyone, came to America, where they hoped to enjoy the freedom to persecute and kill anyone who disagreed with their miserable way of life. Forget, too, the race-traitor Squanto, who betrayed his people and culture to welcome aliens into his country. Forget the bogus national holiday reinvented to celebrate the Ein Reich, ein Vereinigung, ein Führer principles of Lincoln and the Roosevelts. You can hear all about their tedious self-serving myths on National Public Radio or in National Public Schools.
A story worth telling, however, is how, once upon a time, some footloose Englishmen came to the New World seeking easy gold, free land, and the right to spit tobacco when and where they wanted. As good Anglicans, these adventurers, roughnecks, and proto-cavaliers were too busy minding their business to worry to much about minding yours. The few who who survived the initial attempts to settle various spots in Virginia, beginning with Jamestown, were reminded of their own weakness and from time to time their leaders decided it was time to give thanks to the Almighty for letting them survive in this savage land. So, with one accord, the men brought what game they could shoot, along with their jugs of corn-squeezings and stashes of tobacco, whipped out their fiddles, and had themselves a great time.
On these festive occasions, one or another would lead the assembly in prayer, thanking their Creator that he had not seen fit to make them Puritans who despised all the good things He had given them. Being decent Englishmen, they also thanked Him for making them English and for permitting them to persist in their English language, English laws and customs, and English culture. Some renegade from Switzerland, who piped up and said something about America being a city on a hill, recommended they get a royal charter to make everyone celebrate a national holiday in November. The good old boys of Virginia, all with one accord, drove him out of the settlement. Some say, he settled with the Indians, who celebrated their own style of Thanksgiving by feasting off the meat they had carved off his carcass after having had several days of fun with dull knives.
Yes, this is my own exercise in myth-making, but there is more truth than in the National Public ideology of both parties.
Being Anglicans--with a sprinkling, perhaps, of good old god-fearing Lutherans and (here I'm trying to be generous) recovering Presbyterians, they kept their prayers short and to the point, and knowing that better men than themselves had given expression to their sentiments, they said together this prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we shew forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end.